Crows and canaries never become eagles. You may say: That certainly is obvious. Was it meant to be profound? It is obvious when you’re talking about eagles. It may not be as obvious when you’re talking about Christians. Yet, it’s equally as true. If you’re going to be a Christian, then being born a Christian is essential. Yet, how is a person born a Christian, and what difference does it really make? You can soar with the eagles or flap around with the turkeys. Which will it be?
Christians can be quick to see the sin of the openly wicked but slow to see the evil of good people, and that kind of evil is actually worse because it often goes unrecognized and even denied. Remember, it was not the prostitutes and drunks who crucified Jesus — it was the good, righteous people. We live in a wicked world, but wickedness is not something on which the world of unbelievers has a monopoly. Often, there is evil also among the believing community. Beware.
Genesis 34 is a chapter in the Bible that reveals such heinous acts by the people of God that it’s difficult to know how to address it in preaching or teaching, much less just reading it and attempting to reconcile it to the remainder of the Bible. Genesis 34 records the rape of Jacob’s daughter, Dinah, and the merciless blood-stained revenge of her brothers on the city of Shechem. It is disgraceful and embarrassing. So, what are we to do with this narrative? Perhaps, ignore it and hope that no one notices or asks us about it. However, we cannot. Are you ready for the fray?
Participating in a loving church can add years to your life, but then what makes a church loving and how is that loving distinctive maintained? Paul lays out a proven procedure that comes forward through the centuries and works beautifully in our day and time.
From the moment God changed Abram’s name to Abraham, the name Abram was never used again. Yet, after God changed Jacob’s name, his old name was employed twice as much as his new name in the remaining chapters of Genesis. Jacob became a changed man as the result of wrestling with God at Peniel. Yet, he also remained unchanged. Apparently, there remained a lot of the old man in the new patriarch, just as there often remains a lot of the old man or woman in us.
It’s stunning that the greedy person is on the same list as the homosexual; that the gossiper is on the same list as the hater of God; that the habitual drunk is on the same list as the murderer. This entire list is like the McDonald’s menu. Mix and match any items you want – and it all ends up costing the same price. So, here’s the question: If everyone is on the list; if everyone can be found somewhere on this list, and the result is the same, then what different does it make – aren’t we all doomed? Find out in part 2 of finding joy in the struggle.