September 21, 2015, 9:45 AM
The Nature of the Battle, Part IIThe Nature of the Battle
In Part I, we discussed the difference between wisdom and knowledge. We understand that to walk in disobedience is to divest ourselves of God’s wisdom, the two cannot co-exist. This is a foundational truth that will lead us into the blessings of The Father or separate us unto our own frail and faltering understanding. Cain, one of our original family members, found this to be true as he substituted his own way for the Lord’s. We must understand that Cain’s dilemma is our own.
Cain’s experience is detailed for us in the fourth chapter of the book of Genesis. Without having been said, it is understood that Adam and Eve would have instructed their children in the correct sacrificial system. They would have told them what offerings were acceptable to Almighty God and those that were not. However, as so often is the human response, Cain had a better idea. Instead of embracing wisdom he fell under the spell of knowledge. Bringing an acceptable sacrifice before the Lord had to include the shedding of blood for …”without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin.” (Hebrews 9:22). Instead of bringing a lamb, as did Able, Cain brought the fruit of the field. Another problem with Cain ignoring the blood offering was that the fruit of the ground had been cursed by YHWH after the fall of Adam and Eve. (Gen. 3:17) He was bringing an imperfect offering on more than one level. Obeying the Lord’s instructions established wisdom for Able’s generation and foreshadowed the redemption of all mankind through the blood of the Perfect Lamb of God still to be revealed.
The rejection of Cain’s offering may seem harsh, but humankind had to be taught there is only one correct way to come into the presence of Almighty God. All paths do not lead to salvation. We must embrace the Lord’s provision for righteousness and not our own; divine wisdom versus human knowledge. Jesus clearly stated “I am the way, the truth and the life, no man comes unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6). Alternative avenues are only human knowledge that fuels rejection.
Genesis 4:5 states that God had respect for Able’s offering, but not for Cain’s. Cain then became angry and his countenance fell. It is easy to see the progression. Cain disobeyed the Lord, the Lord rejected his offering; Cain became angry, then indignant, sad and depressed. This same emotional spiral exists today, when we feel that we have been rejected, by God or man. The Lord then rebuked Cain with these words: “If you do well [if you obey me, inclining your heart to wisdom] you will be accepted.” (Gen. 4:7). Jesus expressed it this way: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. Why call me Lord, Lord and do not do what I ask you to do?” (Luke 6:46)
Father God spoke directly to Cain’s problem which is also our own problem. “If you do well, [if you obey me, inclining your heart to wisdom] you will be accepted. If you do not do well, sin crouches at the door [the enemy is seeking entrance to your life]. We are all given the gift of free will. We are not puppets. Therefore we can choose to do well or choose not to do well. We can choose to obey or not to obey. We can choose divine wisdom or human knowledge. Acceptance or rejection. Either way the results are up to us. We must understand that obedience brings us the favor of YHWH. Disobedience aligns us with sin, the entity that is crouching at the door of our hearts seeking an inroad into our lives.
Genesis 4:7 reveals the intensity of the conflict: “…his desire (the desire of sin) is for you, but you must master it.” We are not unengaged, rudderless ships adrift on the ocean of circumstance and fate. We are presented with very real choices that have very real consequences. Sadly, Cain did not rally to the battle call. He abdicated his God-given place of dominion over evil and fell into agreement with the enemy’s plan. The one that was crouching at the door was given access and evil accomplished its desire. He killed his brother Able.
There is, however, another One that is also at the door of our hearts. This One is not crouching, but standing and knocking. If we hear his voice and open the door, He will come in and sup with us and we with him. (Rev. 3:20) Even though this verse is often quoted in a salvation context, it was written to the Church of Laodicea. Believers, as well as unbelievers, have the choice to respond to the one that “crouches,” waiting for opportunity to rule or the One who patiently knocks and waits to be invited to come in and fellowship.
Today, more than ever, we need to understand the nature of the battle we are in. Ignoring spiritual realities do not make them go away. Perhaps the children’s cartoon of the whispering angel on the right shoulder and the screaming red-suited, pitch-forked devil on the left shoulder was not so much fray-de-la. Let us consciously draw nigh unto God and He will draw nigh unto us. Let us use the authority the Lord himself has given to us to tread over serpents and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy. The hour is late and we need all able-bodied soldiers of the Lord to arise and keep watch. We need engagement on every level of our lives; choosing righteousness in our thoughts, our words and our deeds. Submitting ourselves therefore unto God, rebuking the devil and beholding the “one that crouches” fleeing from us.
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