The Dividing Line Seen Today Part 1

Let’s play a game shall we?  It is called “Have you ever?”  This stands on one simple rule and that is to answer if it applies to you either directly or indirectly.  Easy peasy, right?  Wrong!  This game is geared for you to take a long hard look at yourself, at others, at our behaviors, and then try to find a way to maintain a healthy balance in order to do what is right.  This series of blogs starts the game and hopefully teaches us a few things along the way.  Put on your thinking cap, sit down in a comfy chair, pull out a pad of paper (if needed), and really take the time to think first, jot down notes or questions, and then proceed with the game plan.  It will take some time, a strong commitment, vision (re:  in-depth perception) and a desire to really understand the concept at hand.  You won’t be penalized for the time it takes to reach a conclusion and you will be rewarded for all of your hard work by receiving insight, clarity and prayerfully, a “peace” of mind.  Please leave your attitude at the door (it is not needed or wanted), save your arguments for further discussion (or inquiries) and join me okay?

 

Now stop right there.  Some are already thinking what do you define as right?  Put down the dictionary, really.  I am looking at the terminology of right in the sense of our moral compass.  As a Christian, our moral compass comes directly from God, who determined what is right and what is not; both of which are addressed very clearly (and often) in the Holy Bible.

 

Stop again, and please wait to comment; otherwise rash words may be uttered and then regretted.   Now I know some do not believe in God, but once again, this is a Christian blog and I am not going to start a diatribe on who believes or does not and why they choose to stand behind their statement.  I am writing this for those who already believe and for those looking to find out who God is.  Whew!  I am just beginning and already having the need to clarify my intentions so as not to start an unnecessary division; thus becoming my purpose of this game.

 

In the Bible we learn that God, (Our Creator), has the ultimate authority and He alone decides (using this authority) what is right and what is wrong, so we now have the “ Who” of this definition defined:  The who is God.

 

The “where” of this message starts in the Garden of Eden, then moves from being banished from the garden, to all the nations of the earth; one such being Ur (where Abram dwelled), to Egypt, then a desert, and finally the Promised Land in Canaan.

 

Next, we learn the “what and why” of this message.  First we need to determine what is meant by “right”?  In the beginning of Genesis when God created man and woman, both were sinless; thus perfect.  They had the knowledge of what was right and what to avoid (what is wrong) at this time. Their objective was just to be obedient to God.   God instructed them as to regarding what they can do and what they should avoid (since there was no need for the law at this point because sin had not yet entered).  However, a slithering little serpent reared its ugly head and turmoil began in the form of temptation.  Yes, manipulation came into play and boy, were we played!  Here is the why of our message.  Eve (woman) listened to the “lies” of the serpent, was hooked and took the bait by eating the fruit with Adam (man); thus giving in to temptation and sin now entered the world.  Shame overcame the both of them and they could not face God because they knew they were in the wrong.  God punished man for this sin and sentenced mankind to pay the penalty of sin (in the form of death).  This is when the law began and where it first failed.  Man became disobedient to God.

 

Our last key question is “How” was this going to be implemented”  God, out of a deep love for his creation, re-wrote a new set of laws (detailing what is right, as opposed to, what is wrong) for man to follow since sin was now in the world and man was now predisposed to sin as a result.

 

A quick sidebar note:  Before further laws were established, and upon investigation, we learn in the New Testament about man knowing right from wrong.  Let’s take a look at Romans 2:14-15 to get a better description or more clarity:  “Even Gentiles, who do not have God’s written law, show that they know his law when they instinctively obey it, even without ever having heard it.  They demonstrate that God’s law is written in their hearts, for their own conscience and thoughts either accuse them or tell them they are doing right.”  Therefore we instinctively know what is right, but let’s go even further with this, shall we?

 

Just breathe…and please do not jump to conclusions for you then are apt to risk making wrong calculations and misjudgments.  We all know and have learned through the growing process (growing up and being raised by parents (most of us)), what was considered wrong and what was considered right.  Many of us paid a huge price when we suffered consequences from poor decision-making skills and making the wrong choice.  It took a while for me to be able to sit down so to speak a few times in my past if memory serves me correctly.  It hurt to be wrong, but it taught me lessons at the same time (which it should unless you desire to be a repeat offender).  Your mom and dad probably went through the same learning process and it was most likely passed down from one generation to another.  I made the mistake of sometimes questioning their wisdom, rebelling (to see how far I could go or if they were correct in their decision-making strategies) and fell every time.  Was I a blooming idiot or someone who wanted to be punished?  I don’t think so.  I had to learn to decipher between two very different views and proceed forward.

 

In Genesis we learn the story of two brothers:  Cain and Abel.  Both of whom were told what God expected of them:  (to bring their firstfruits (best portions from their labor) and offer those firstfruits (best portions) as a tithe to God in obedience.  Abel obeyed, but Cain did not offer his best to God, so he was disobedient.  Abel was favored for his obedience and Cain was jealous of his brother.  Cain knew he was wrong and out of anger/jealousy, he killed his brother.  Cain knew instinctively he was wrong.  Adam and Eve learned from their mistake and imparted wisdom to Cain and Abel.  One took mental notes and the other obviously did not.

 

Even though we instinctively know what is right and what is wrong, we still need a guideline to follow so waters do not get muddy and we get “it right”.  Man needed to be obedient and faithful to God, but few were.  He tested man to see how they would respond.  Would they be obedient or not, would they walk on faith or fail? One example is Abraham (Abram), who by being righteous and living out his faith, followed God’s commands.  He was rewarded for this by being named the Father of the Jewish nation and promised a future hope of the Promised Land for the Jews.  As I just mentioned however, he was one of the few who obeyed.  Most sought their own desires and wisdom and disobeyed, so more definitive laws had to be established.  Keep in mind that the Jewish people needed to not only know what the laws were, but had to be shown how to live and what the consequences would be if they failed to follow the law.

 

Throughout the Old Testament we see the laws defined, the laws being held up, the laws being broken and blatantly disregarded.  We see the same mistakes/patterns evolving over and over again (which is repeated when the lessons taught are either ignored or not understood).

 

God, in Exodus 20, begins to establish the law more definitively starting with the Ten Commandments and throughout the whole book, all throughout Leviticus, further instructions in Numbers and in Deuteronomy leading up to when the Jews were to enter the Promised Land in Joshua.  Think about it four books to define the law, to point out what is right and what is wrong in God’s eyes, is not something to just browse over or lightly set aside.  It is calling out for attention, for obedience and for respect; in short it is the very definition that everything is built on in the Old Testament.

 

The New Testament is built upon Jesus and His example is the law to follow since the Old Testament demonstrates that man could not live up to the legalistic law.  Man would be doomed if the old law remained, so God sent His Son to become the law for us to follow by his being the very foundation upon which to build our lives and for salvation to be introduced and offered to us.

 

All of this point to defining what “right” means and why it is important to walk down the right path, but friends this is just the beginning stages of this game.  Our next level is to whittle down and define what division is, how it is sowed and what it reaps for all of us.  It is going to get even better and if you are willing to continue on and play this game, come back for the next installment.

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