Get out your Bible. If you don’t remember (or don’t know) who Cain, Balaam, and Korah are, we’re going to make some re-introductions. When we do, take a look in the mirror to see if these men stare back at you. Woe to us when we do.
Cain. You’ve heard of him. Cain and Abel; the first man born of both man and woman; the first murderer; the first criminal; the guy with the mark. The first child ever born, his actions set the pace for everyone who ever lived after. He could have chosen the path of God; God personally implored him to do so. Instead, he chose murder, and rebellion, and exile. I wonder if he didn’t live the rest of his life in angry sadness. And woe.
Speaking of rebellion, there’s Korah, who rebelled against Moses and Aaron in the desert. It was after God had delivered the Israelites from Egypt, after He had given them His Ten Commandments; after they had left Sinai. Korah thought of himself as better able to lead God’s people than Moses or Aaron, but Korah wasn’t God’s selected servant. He led 250 men to rebel against Moses and the rebellion was crushed when God Himself intervened. Before it was done, over 14,000 selfish and self-righteous rebels were lethally punished by the Lord. More woe.
And there’s Balaam. Balaam was a prophet who interfered with the Israelites moving into the Promised Land. His complicated story (which involves animal abuse and narrowly averting being slain by the Angel of the Lord) began with trying to thwart God’s plan for the Israelites occupation of Canaan, but ends with him reluctantly blessing the Jews instead. He advises his master, Balak, to lure the Israelites into temptation so that they would fail. Instead, God turns Balaam’s scheme upside down.
Do any of these stories sound familiar? Can you identify? Perhaps you haven’t murdered your brother, but I’m betting you’ve been snortin’ mad and some point in your life. Perhaps you haven’t rebelled against God’s chosen deliverer, but I bet you have willfully chosen paths that run against what you know is a better way. Perhaps you never beat a talking donkey, but I’m betting you’ve belittled your fellow man.
I’ve done those things; how about you? What does the person in the mirror say? You know those Ten Commandments? If we break one, we’re actually breaking all ten…and more.
Woe to us. Think about it.
For further reading: Genesis 4:1-17, Numbers 16:1-3 & 31-35, Numbers 22:4-20, Hebrews 11:4, 2 Peter 2:15, 1 John 3:12, Jude 12
Lord Jesus, I’ve broken Your holy laws. I’ve rebelled against You, hated, abused Your love. Forgive me.
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