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Shaqah
A Publication of
Living Springs Institute
Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men. After the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
Colossians 2:8
Issue #30 www.livingspringsinstitute.org May & June 2007

Step into the Springs!

Some very disturbing news came out of the UK recently. A government backed study shows that schools are electing to drop the Holocaust from their history lessons because they fear it will offend Muslim students who have been taught Holocaust denial, by their parents and/or religious instructors. When it comes to the Holocaust, one of the main cries is that we will never forget so that we may never repeat the atrocities of those dark days. However, that lesson has obviously not been learned well, if at all, and the evidence of this sad fact is clearly seen in this report!

The report shows teachers are afraid of the anti-Semitism that may result in the classroom if they teach the Holocaust. Teachers and schools fear the reprisal of Holocaust denying students and their families. Thus, they feel the best thing to do is simply stop teaching the Holocaust altogether. What they do not seem to understand is this kind of fear is exactly why the Holocaust was able to happen in the first place! People in Germany, and eventually a large part of Europe, were also afraid to stand up against those who were willing and desirous to carry out the Holocaust. In those days, people were afraid the government would do the same to them as they were doing to the Jews, and many refused to do even those things in their power to do. So, instead of standing with the Jews, many chose to take giant steps backward from them. In doing this, people not only left the Jews to face the fight alone but they exposed the Jews! When the government told people to stop buying from Jewish merchants, the people said, ďWe donít want any troubleĒ and they stopped. When the government wished to separate Jews from the everyday man, the everyday man was more than willing to point out who was a Jew, so there would not be non-Jews mistaken for Jews. Thus, slowly and then not so slowly, Jewish neighbors and friends were taken right from their homes and detained, while a large non-Jewish population simply stood by and watched, just hoping the cruelty would not reach out and effect them!

People accepted step after step in escalation of these events because they believed trying to ďkeep the peaceĒ was more important than standing up against the wrong. Eventually, trains were packed so tight with Jews, even in the heat of summer, that many of them died of suffocation and dehydration long before they ever made it to the death camps. Community after community was afraid to say anything because they failed to understand that evil is not stopped by attempts to appease it. Evil is a consuming force; and when you try to simply appease, it takes advantage after advantage.

You see, the lesson of the Holocaust is not one which tells us to sit back and do whatever keeps the peace. True peace is not the absence of conflict, but the presence of justice. The lesson of the Holocaust is that we must be proactive in our communities and in our world. When a teacher stands up in a classroom, they have one of the best and greatest opportunities, especially when there are students who have been taught lies! When teachers have students sitting in their classroom who have been taught to deny the Holocaust, itís not the time to stop teaching the truth. Instead, we should recognized itís more important than ever that teachers take the opportunity to teach the Holocaust. We need to appreciate the fact the classroom may be the only place those students will ever get the chance to hear it!

When will we understand that children are not best served by denying them historical truth, but by confronting them with it? People should be free to believe what they want and have whatever feelings they want about the Holocaust, but those feelings will never change the historical facts of the event! Thus, our decision to teach those facts should not be affected by individual feelings or reactions. Let them hear the stories of those who suffered through the Holocaust. Let them see the photographs. Let them read the laws penned by the hand of the Nazi regime, and let them choose for themselves if it was all an elaborate hoax. No matter what their conclusion is, it will at least have the chance to be based on the evidence not just the propaganda.

The generation which suffered through the Holocaust is disappearing fast, but many are still with us. They not only tell us the Holocaust is fact, but they bear the scares to prove it. This makes the facts of the Holocaust more solid than ninety percent or more of the events of history we teach on a regular basis. So, if before that generation ever passes, we find ourselves allowing those who hate Jews to, once again, intimidate us into being silent, then what hope is there for future generations? It has been said when we forget the past we are destined to repeat it, but this new report should cause us to wonder if repeating is really the issue. If this generation can be so easily bullied into standing back, one has to wonder if the Holocaust has ever really stopped or if it has simply taken a short reprieve?

Holocaust Remembrance day for 2007 has passed, and many people outside of the Jewish community may have never known it happened. Itís a fact that outside of Israel this event is not widely recognized. This is sad, because while it was mostly Jews who suffered the atrocities of the Holocaust, it was by the world that suffering was afflicted. Thus, the Holocaust holds lessons for us all, every year, all year long. Jesus tried to teach us these lessons as He walked this earth, and the importance of these lessons are shown even more by recent events at Virginia Tech here in the United States!

Recent events have shown us, once again, just how desperate people in this world feel. Many people feel the walls of life are closing in on them, that their backs are against the wall and there is no place to turn and no place to hide. Because of this we should recognize that now, more than ever before, what this world needs to see, is believers in the One True God who have a zeal for the truth that is unquenchable! (Jer. 20:7-11) Not a zeal which makes them violent or obnoxious loud mouths but a zeal which causes them to study to show themselves approved. (II Tim. 2:15) A zeal which makes them able to give an answer to every person who asks them of their faith. (I Peter 3:8-17) A zeal which makes them able to handle with love, the fact men may hate them, revile them, sue them, physically injure or kill them for what they believe. (Matt. 5:1-16)

The best symbol to this world that we have found something real, is not found in the busyness of our activities or in the loudness of our mouth, but in the unwavering steadiness of our trust in God through everything this world throws at us! Thus, I want to encourage every believer to hold on! The fact we have found something worth living for, is shown best in the fact we find it worth suffering or even dying for. When things go wrong, true believers should not respond as the world responds. We should never feel our back is ďagainst the wall.Ē We must understand that with God there is no wall. Only the opportunity to serve and the promise that what lays beyond is better than what we could have in this world, even under the best of circumstances. (Phil. 1:1-21)

"And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway." I Corinthians 9:25-27

We hope you enjoy this issue of Shaqah!



Living Springs' Questions & Answers

What is your stance on generational curses? Does your church believe that Christians (Holy Spirit
filled, walking with God) can, due to lack of family tree knowledge and/or the devil having found a legal
right to interfere with the person's life, be affected by generational curses e.g.: all women get breast
cancer, all first born suffer from depression, all fathers die from heart attacks before 40 etc. etc.

A question like this would be much easier to answer if English was a more expressive language. The word ďcursesĒ in English can be interpreted as being just about any evil or harm which can befall us, and there are no restrictions or implications in the word itself to let us know we are talking specifically about one kind, as opposed to another. Because this is true, I feel itís necessary to divide the idea of curses into two separate categories. Thus, for our purposes, we will separate curses into ďrealĒ and ďinterpreted.Ē A real curse will refer to those curses which are not just an effect, but those executed intentionally by a power able to do what it determines. Interpreted curses will refer to evil or harm which does not have this kind of specific backing. We will call these interpreted because the things in this category may or may not be considered a curse. It all depends on how people interpret them.

You see, man has always had trouble separating what is a true curse inflicted upon him and what is simply a curse caused by the fact we live in a sin-filled world! This problem is why there are so many theologies around the world, like good and bad luck, good and bad karma, and the many concepts of warding off evil spirits or trying to invite good ones. People are desperate to explain why specific good and bad happens. They want there to be a rhyme and a reason, but the Bible tells us itís all very simple. We live in a world where man is making freewilled choices without Godís guidance. The inevitable result is a multitude of negative things. This is why God put the judgment of death upon us once we passed from innocence to knowledge of good and evil. God was not telling us we couldnít have what He intended for our lives; He was telling us we could not fully have it here in this state of sin. Here there would be much evil created by man and his choices; thus, manís life here must end. (Heb. 9:27-28) This creates a situation where those who care not for God and His righteousness will cease to harm others with their choices, and those who do care for the things of God will be able to re-obtain the life God intended us to have, in a place where there will be no one who desires to destroy it! (Rev. 20:11-15)

The reason so many people desire to believe in mysticism of all sorts, instead of turning to the God who created them, is they just have to find a reason for things going wrong which doesnít point the finger at their imperfections. Humans donít want to accept the facts which the Bible tells us are true. Man is not capable of building a perfect world without God, because, even having the knowledge of good and evil, we still donít make perfect choices. This doesnít mean we never know or understand what the right choice would have been in a given situation, but even if we desire to do right, it only takes a small misstep here and there to mess things up. Our choices affect not only our day by day lives but the long term unfolding of our lives and world, as well. This means, in a way, our imperfect choices could be interpreted as a curse unto ourselves. This is why Paul says, ďFor to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.Ē Phil. 1:21 Here, in this world, itís best for the believers to simply live their lives in service to Godís Word, and leave our personal desires for living life for the life which exists beyond this one.

Our personal choices affect our lives greatly, and the only way to get them right is to have perfect guidance from God. People say hindsight is 20/20, but we donít know that. We have so little way of knowing how things would have unfolded if we had gone in a different direction that we canít know for certain it would have been better than where we are. The only times we can truly look back and know it would have been better to do things differently is when we have rebelled against the instructions of God. God knows what is best for us; but the second fact man doesnít want to face is, even what is best for us is not always what is most comfortable for our flesh. This is a point we must grasp! Life is complicated, and this complication is created, in no small part, by our interaction with others who are also able to make freewilled choices. Other peopleís choices affect us and many others as well. This is why the basis of righteousness is to love God with everything you have, and then do your best to treat your neighbor in the way you would like to be treated. (Matt. 22:36-40) This keeps us doing our best not to harm others, and helps us receive the guidance from God so necessary to cut through the complications of life. However, again, this doesnít mean we will never suffer discomfort ourselves. Bad things can and do happen, no matter how hard we as believers try. This by no means should make us think we donít have to try, or that there is no use in trying! No matter what happens, we must set the higher standard. When bad things happen, we must put our trust in the Word of God.

In Romans 8:28, we are told, ď...all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.Ē So, the best way to feel assured the devil is not simply the one interfering with our lives is to be actively yielding our lives to the will of Christ. As believers, we must focus on walking with God and growing in our understanding of how God wants to use us for His will. When we do this, we are no longer focused on what goes wrong but on how it can be used to further Godís Kingdom! We simply cannot afford the luxury of reacting the same way the world reacts to affliction.

You see, the phenomena that man wants to blame everything on a higher power, is why, many times, we say someone using foul language is ďcursing.Ē Thereís a saying which goes, ďThe man who can smile when things go wrong has probably found someone he can blame it on.Ē The fact so many want to blame God for every bad thing which happens to them is one of the main reasons God told us, in the third commandment, not to use His name in vain. (Ex. 20:7) It should be an obvious offence that we wish evil upon God directly, but many people would ďswearĒ thatís not what theyíre doing. What they donít understand is, when they use the name of God in vain, itís not just the use of a word, it is to blame God for something they didnít like. This is why the Lordís name is, many times, the first thing out of peopleís mouths after being injured! What we need to see is that in blaming we are also cursing. By pointing out in an exclamatory way that you hold God responsible for the unliked item, you are invoking something against God in vengeance for what has happened to you. Even if someone argues that theyíre actually asking for Godís help, it is not being done in the humility due God; thus, itís still using Godís name in vain!

As believers, we should have the clearest view that when bad things happen it is sin in this world, and very rarely something being specifically inflicted on us. Itís important we understand the difference between a real curse and an interpreted curse, because just about anything in life we donít like could be interpreted as a curse. A curse can simply be someone doing something which we feel is negative. Having a neighbor who plays their music very loud when they know or donít care that it bothers you, could be a curse. When a government dumps nuclear waste in your vicinity which makes everyone sick, thatís a curse! The fact curses can be very simple to very complex tells us a curse can be implemented by any force which is capable of affecting us. An animal could implement a curse. As a child, I loved to raise chickens. One night a skunk dug under the fence and proceeded to kill one of my favorite hens. From then on I considered skunks a curse, because if I didnít shut the chickens in at night there was a possibility more chickens would be killed by skunks, or other predators for that matter. We could spend all day talking about examples like this. My grandfather was a farmer, and the weather often destroyed crops. So, weather can be looked at as implementing a curse on your life; but none of this specifically means God, or any external power, is afflicting you!

Now, most of my examples, thus far, are examples of short-term or onetime curses, and what you have asked about are generational curses. So, what we want to look at for the answer to your question are those powers which are capable of carrying out long-term effects. The Bible tells us there only exists two powers, outside of what physically exists as part of our creation, capable of affecting our existence. One is, obviously, God Himself, and the other are those who opposed God in heaven and were cast out. (Rev. 12:7-9) Now, when you talk about generational curses, these are the only two powers capable of carrying out a ďrealĒ generational curse as opposed to an ďinterpretedĒ one. However, long-term, interpreted curses also exist. The anger of a person against you can be carried on by other family members even to future members of your family, but only if those who inflict the grief make a conscience choice to be a part of the scheme themselves. Financial devastation of a family can obviously affect future generations. Presumably, most of the money in a wealthy family would be passed on to their children, and if itís all gone that wonít happen. However, there was never any guarantee the children were going to receive the money. Their parents may simply have chosen to go in any number of directions with their wealth. On the other side of the tracks is the story of those who are already living in poverty. This in no way means the children of poor people will be poor, but there are usually many barriers to poor children being successful that other children may not have to face. Family feuds, poverty and all kinds of things can be looked at as generational curses, because they affect more than one generation. However, it should be obvious these are not real curses, they are, again, the unfolding of life.

Many believers may say they understand this, but we lose track of it sometimes. In these times, we become tempted to, once again, blame the higher power. Nowhere does this happen more often than when the negative effect concerns our health, but even health is often just life unfolding! The fact genetics are passed from parents to children and on down the family line is a simple physical truth! Sickness has such a great effect on our senses, we often think it must be spiritual; but in truth, sickness is one of the most physical realities we face. There can even be scientific facts which explain why certain problems, almost without exception, will pass to the first born or just the females in a family. This shows us, we must be careful not to see every negative anomaly which exists in multiple generations of a family as a, directly afflicted, generational curse.

Choices, once again, play such a major role in how our lives unfold. They affect our health, wealth, and everything else. When we look at families, we must understand itís not just eye color, the shape of our nose, our skin tone, etc., which is passed on. What we find in studying human behavior is that children, many times, grow up to be much like their parents in the choices they make, even if they donít want to. This often results in the same choices being made generation after generation. One of the oddest things which shows how resistant to change our nature can be is, people who divorce and remarry will, many times, marry the same or similar personality as the one they divorced. This on a conscious level would seem to be just the opposite of what one might expect, but there is something inside our decision making process which attracts us to make many of the same choices over and over again, even when we felt the consequences were negative the first time. One of the scariest phenomenons is the fact many people who grow up being abused as children will abuse their children. Boys who grow up watching their father beat their mother may have much animosity toward their father, but that very rarely keeps them from abusing their wives. We have a lot of trouble treating others the way we want to be treated, instead of the way we have been treated. (Matt. 7:12) Far too much, we simply follow the example we have seen. From this standpoint there are definitely generational curses, but they are nothing forced on us by some power. They are fleshly problems we, as sinful men, have trouble overcoming and/or coping with, even generation to generation!

To answer the second part of your question, I can say, yes, I believe Christians can be affected by generational curses like the ones I just talked about. The fact the human mind is immature and needs Godís guidance in everything we do does not change the instant we decide to follow God. The fact we have genetic defects in our flesh certainly does not change the moment we make the choice. However, walking with God, and especially being Spirit filled, will greatly help us with the problems we face. When it comes to wrong actions and choices, the more we hear Godís voice the more unlikely we are to do them. When it comes to affliction and sickness, the closer we are to God the more grace we find to endure them. (Prov. 3:33-35, Rom. 5:20, II Pet. 1:2-4) It may even be Godís will that we be freed from certain afflictions and sicknesses, but understanding that issue in depth is a whole other book. The bottom line is, just because we are walking with God, doesnít mean we will not see affliction from the choices of others, our choices, and even bad things which have befallen our family tree. Such things as cancer, heart problems, etc., can be a part of our genetic makeup, and just because a phenomena exists doesnít mean itís being specifically executed against us.

As to the point of even Christians being inflicted by those things which are actually being executed against them, we have to go back to the truth that there are only two powers able to do such a thing, especially throughout generations. Again, they are God and those angels cast from heaven. Now, when we talk about the devil and those angels which followed him, we must understand they have great limitations. Angels are beings much like us in the fact they are not God, nor are they becoming gods. These fallen angels, which we mostly refer to as demons, are not capable of the same things as God. Demons are not all knowing, they canít see the future, nor do they have as much power to directly affect things as they would like us to think! That is why they can do nothing to free themselves from the simple fact they were cast to earth. They are simply waiting, inside the framework of our time, for that day when they will be judged by God. (Jude 1:6) This is why Paul warns, ďFor we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.Ē Eph. 6:12 He was saying what we have been talking about in this Q&A. The true enemy is not the random unfolding events of this life. God has given us grace to learn and grow through those things. The real enemy is the one who has been lying to us all along, trying to get us to believe in things which take us away from God. Many of these lies are the mysticisms people have come to believe in. These things cast doubt on the Word of God about how life truly works.

The devil wants to control this world and the humans living in it. He fights hard to accomplish this. As true believers, we should be fighting for the will of God, which is: that no one perish but that all come to repentance. (II Peter 3:9) This is why Jesus told his disciples, ďWhatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.Ē Matthew 18:18-20 Itís also why when Jesus was asked to teach the disciples to pray, He gave us a model which in the very opening words you hear, ďThy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.Ē Luke 11:2 Itís every believerís responsibility to pray the will of God be done on this earth. I just keep saying it - Choices! Our choices have the greatest effects, and itís the believerís responsibility to yield their will to the choices God would make. Itís also every believerís responsibility to be a place where Godís Spirit can reside for others to see. This is why Paul asks, ďWhat? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?Ē I Corinthians 6:19 We truly are His hands and feet, but only if we yield our lives and actions to God and His will! (Rom. 12:1-2)

In this fight against spiritual wickedness in high places, the problem is not that humans have a free will, itís that they donít yield their will to God. This is often because they do not see the value in it. The lies and tricks of the devil continue to blind peoplesí eyes to the truth that itís not this life and all it may offer which we should be worried about. To obey God is even better than sacrifice to God. (I Sam. 15:22) This is because God cares about us. He wants to guide us, not just make us scared subjects huddling in a corner. God wants to show us what is truly valuable, not just make this life a breeze. (Luke 6:22-36) So, no matter what people do or say, our goal is to show them the love of God. (Rom. 2:1-11) In attempting to do this, we help others understand who the true enemy is, and where the true value of living resides!

Now, you have asked if lack of knowledge or legal right can play a part in a Christian suffering a generational curse. This takes us back to the subject of demonic limitation. What the devil has is legal rights to operate on this planet. This is where he lives. Not in hell, as the cartoonist like to depict, but here, roaming around like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. (I Peter 5:8-10) The fact he roams around seeking whom he may devour tells us he cannot simply devour anyone and everyone. He can attack in many ways; which means, he can be a great nuisance in our lives, but he is looking for and working for a greater opening. If he is going to be able to pull off some generational curse he is going to need our cooperation. The devil does not have the right to simply take control of any human without their yielding to him. God limits Himself to this rule; He is not going to let the devil simply violate it! If the devil could take over whomever he wanted, he would simply take control over every human and run the world, but he canít do that. So, demons must first attack in ways which they hope will give them a foothold. They do what they can to gain the control they can. The more a person yields to them the more control they can have over that personís life. If a demon can gain it, they will, at times, even possess a person. We clearly see this in the Bible. (Luke 8:27-31) However, one of the factors which greatly impedes the devil and his cohorts continued success on this planet is the fact people die. This means demons must begin again. This is because the devil does not have the right to simply take possession of a child because he had possession of the parent! If he is going to have the child, he is going to have to gain control just as he did with the parent. He has no rights outside of what each individual grants him. So, no, the devil does not have a legal right, but yes, a lack of knowledge can cause us to unwittingly yield to the devil and his desires.

Make no mistake about it, the devil is capable of doing things which can scare many humans into believing he is far more powerful than he really is. He will work hard to make it seem as if people have no choice in the matter; but initially, he can only use scare tactics. What the devil tries to do is use the resources at his disposal to affect your life, and he is a fantastic manipulator. Since most of this world and its systems are at his service, he can hurt you in many external ways. However, his initial tactics, no matter how elaborate, are really no different than those of a thug. If you will buy his protection then he will leave you alone. In the beginning, it really is just that simple, but as you yield to him, he gains more power to affect you directly. This is why it is so important we resist the devil. He needs us to give in. He canít just take what he wants!

All this means, in each generation, demons will need to start with these kinds of tactics and hope they will work to give them a foothold time and time again. If I was going to describe anything as a real generational curse executed by the devil, I would say it is the fact demons can be very clingy. Why are demons clingy? Because it gives them a head start. If demons have great control over the choices and actions of a parent, they can affect the raising of a child which will greatly help in their attempt to gain control over the child. We talked earlier about the phenomenon of children becoming their parents, even in negative ways they themselves hate. Well, demons play off this truth in every way they can! If a parent was willing to yield to them, itís highly likely the same temptations and tricks will work on the child. This is also why the devil creates false religions in general. Many, many, people have never given God a second thought, simply because they are fully content with following the traditions they were raised in, and just a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump. (I Cor. 5:6) So, even people who think they are involved in Christian traditions can, many times, find themselves doing things which give demons an opportunity!

You see, the devil is the ruler of the darkness of this world. When we desire to do good, he will use every tool at his disposal to make things difficult for us; but when people desire to do something beneficial to his cause, he will often prosper them! Understanding this should give us a good perspective on why God confounded manís language at the Tower of Babel. (Gen. 11:1-9) Itís a true saying that as a believer, if the devil stops attacking you, you better reexamine where you are with God! However, if the devil is able to do the same thing to a believer that he has done to other family members (believers or not) it has to do with a continuing lack of knowledge, not a legal right.

Here are the dynamics of it all. Itís our right to turn our lives over to God, and when we come to that moment where we make a commitment to God, many people wrongly refer to it as being ďborn again.Ē This trips people up. In truth, we are not born again in the terminology Jesus was using when talking to Nicodemus. (John 3:1-21) In that story, Jesus was talking about the work He came to accomplish. The work which meant we could afford to die because we can be born again through Christ. (Rom. 6:7-9) However, when we choose to follow God, we do become a ďnew creature in ChristĒ according to II Corinthians 5:17. Because we are not born again, we will still face the temptations of this world and suffer many afflictions. This fact is why we desire to be born again! This corruptible needs to take on incorruptibility, (I Cor. 15:53) but for now, we are still corruptible just like everyone else. To become a ďnew creatureĒ in Christ, means old thinking passes away and we have a new perspective on everything we face.

This new perspective comes for some very simple reasons. First is the understanding that itís OK for this life to pass without going after all the things we can have in this world. The opportunity God has waiting for us is so much greater than anything we can have here that the question becomes, why care for treasures which moth and rust can corrupt and thieves can steal when we can have treasures in a place where these kinds of things just canít happen? (Matt. 6:19-21) What this does for us is alleviate the attacks the devil is capable of leveling on us. The fact he may be allowed to attack our worldly life is no longer relevant. We can stand on the promise of God that all things work together for good to them who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose. This is a perspective which is simply not taught in many churches; and thus, they are not leading people to true salvation! More and more it seems churches are becoming a place where you get the same motivational speeches given to the world, just overlaid with ďChristianĒ themes. This may make people more successful in the world, but it doesnít make them less vulnerable to the attacks of the true enemy. The enemy is the powers of darkness, not poverty or sickness! Jesus said in Matthew 6:31-33 that we should not worry about what we will wear or what we shall eat. These are the things the Gentiles seek. God knows what you need, so seek you first the kingdom of God and His righteousness; all these other things shall be added unto you! Jesus goes on in the thirty-fourth verse to confirm much of what we have been talking about. He says we should not think about tomorrow because the evil we face today is sufficient to our abilities.

If we come to God, we must believe He is God and not just a joke. We must also believe He rewards those who diligently seek Him. (Heb. 11:6) This is the new found perspective a true believer walks in, and it becomes the fundamental perspective from which we live our lives. This is why the first and greatest commandment is to love the Lord our God with everything we have, and the second can be to treat our neighbors as ourselves. We can afford to truly let go of our fears about life and how it unfolds if we will focus on knowing God deeper. In doing this, we put our trust in the protecting hand of God, knowing anything which comes our way is something we can bear, because not having more than we can bear is also a promise of God. (I Cor. 10:12-13) This doesnít mean we will not face trials and tribulations, but that those things will (if we hold on to God) grow our faith, not crush us! (James 1:2-4) We only start to sink when we take our eyes off the one we are walking toward! (Matt. 14:24-33)

Just like Job, God may allow the devil to test us, but again, not further than we are able to handle. This is how a believerís life should work, but there is always our will which can get in the way. Will we take on this perspective, and will we apply it to all areas of our lives? Sadly, the answer is, many times, no. Many times, if we are not walking completely out from under the safety of the right perspective, we are refusing to apply it in certain situations. Again, we return to the like father like son problem. Itís a true saying that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting different results. Far too often we give opportunity in our lives to the devil by taking matters into our own hands instead of looking to God. When we do this, we often make the same mistakes we would have made before we came to God, and we often receive the same results. I say often, because others can be a part of rescuing us. When others are praying for us, we may be spared, at the very least, the long term consequences of our stupid decisions. This is what the Bible is talking about when referring to standing in the gap. (Eze. 22:30) The strong should uphold the weak, and we should get the beam out of our eye so we can see clearly to help our brother get the splinter out of his eye. (Rom. 15:1-2, Luke 6:39-42) This is the gain which can be found in the body of Christ, but only the true body of Christ, not just any church which exists!

The bottom line is, many things we think of as curses being carried out by the devil may not truly be the devil at all. It may be a physical anomaly which is a truth of our physical make up; it may be wrong choices which we are making or have made; and/or it may be choices others are making around us. On that point, we need to understand that one of the things which makes the devil seem powerful is his skill in using these facts. Just as horoscopes often seem true because it gets us to interpret everything in a certain light, the devil will use any fact against us he can when it serves his purpose. The devil does not know the future, but he does know the past. He is well aware of the odds you will have problems in a certain area or another. He uses this to make it seem as if he does know the future or has power to affect it; when in truth, he is doing nothing but shooting off his mouth! Never believe the devil when he threatens your children, whether living or not yet conceived. He can only hope to gain the control he needs to carry out such a threat. If he does not yet have the control, your giving into him will only assist him in gaining it. If he already has the control over your children, then giving into the devil changes nothing. Only your desire for righteousness and prayers for Godís intervention in the childís life will truly help. (James 5:16) Again, it does not matter what the devil can do in this life, only that his lies can keep us from the next. This is why we are told to resist the devil and he will flee from you. (James 4:7) The devil has a lot of tricks up his sleeve. Heís so good at them one might even describe it as ďmagical,Ē but itís mostly just smoke and mirrors. As believers, if we will resist him, he has no choice but to go away, and try the same old tricks another day!

Thus, itís so important we understand the devil has no legal right to any human! The fact we doubt this is why we have so much trouble getting the devil to go away. Donít get me wrong, the devil can cause sickness and trouble of all sorts if he is allowed. Job was afflicted with boils once God gave the devil permission to do anything to Job but kill him. The devil killed Jobís children, destroyed his livestock, and his entire earthy wealth. When given the ability, the devil can accomplish very devastating earthly results; but if we are truly yielded to God, only God can allow the devil to exercise this kind of power in the life of a believer. Remember the conversation at the beginning of Job? The devil told God no one believed anymore. God asked if the devil had considered Job? The devilís reply was that Job only served God because God protected him. Only then was the devil allowed to touch Job. (Job 1:1-12)

There are only two reasons why a true believer will suffer from a curse which is common to a family. One: because God allows it, or two: because the believer allows it. If itís God who allows it, there is a reason for it, and we must put our trust in God that He will bring us through. If it is we who allow it, then itís something we can learn to overcome. The question then becomes, how do we know the difference? Knowing the answer to this question can be very difficult, but one thing is for sure, only God can reveal the answer! This is a point you should never forget. Some will run to and fro looking for the answer. They will go to this evangelist or that preacher asking, but they are not truly seeking God. Many people have sought an answer among men and came away with very harmful responses. Many modern ministers may tell you that having a lack of faith is the only reason to have hardship of any kind in your life. These are probably the most destructive answers. They may serve to make some happy, but for many who are facing a trial, it only causes them to be discouraged about themselves and/or never learn the lesson they were intended to learn.

Job faced this theology when he was going through his trial. Jobís friends insisted Job must have done something wrong to be suffering so, but Job knew he had done nothing wrong. Job was so strong that instead of falling for their false teaching, he simply looked them in the eye and said, ď...miserable comforters are ye all.Ē Job 16:2 Some teachers will still look at the story and say, ďJobís friends were right, Job must have done something wrong!Ē but they just donít get it. In the end, Job was given instructions by God as to what bad attitudes had come to the surface, but it was the trial that brought them to the surface, not that Job had done wrong in the first place. This is a simple example of what Peter was talking about when he said, ďThat the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:. . . Ē In that way, it could be argued that all bad things happen because we are not perfect, but suffering because we have done something specifically wrong and suffering because we are not perfect are two different things. Thatís why, in the end, it was Jobís friends who were the ones reprimanded for coming against Godís servant, and they needed Job to pray for them. (Job 42:7-10)

One of the most interesting points in the story of Job is that we have no record of God giving Job the rundown as to why all this had happened. Job was not witness to the events in heaven which brought about this fiery trial, and Job certainly could not have understood that his witness would be helping generations for millenniums to come. This is why we should not go round and round seeking the answer as to why. There are many times when we may never know the reason why, but thatís OK, because we are serving God. One of the perspectives Job was reprimanded for was that he said it would have been better for him to never have lived than to go through the suffering he was going through. Job may have been right on a personal level, but again, generation after generation would not have his story to draw strength from. It may have been better for Job but not for us! Going through trials is all part of giving your life to God to be used in whatever way is beneficial to the kingdom. We cannot always know or even hope to comprehend some of the reasons!

As to the issue of closing doors of opportunity the devil will use to affect our lives, that is a lifelong process. This means, worrying about what specifically we did wrong to ďdeserveĒ something is foolish. Having faith is about walking with God and learning every day. Yes, many things we will suffer because of the stupid choices we have made, but what we often forget is, as a true believer, God wants to show us how to make right choices. If we are suffering things because we are opening the door to the devil, God will show us if we continue to seek Him. The only reason we even have to seek in these cases is because of the things we have put in the way of seeing the answer. If we walk daily with God, we can rest assured He, through His Holy Spirit, wants to convict our lives of those things which hinder us. This is why we are flat out commanded in I Thessalonians 5:19 to ďQuench not the Spirit.Ē This is another truth many churches refuse to teach. We need to seek the conviction of the Holy Spirit, not try and ignore it! Blessed is the man who will receive instruction. (Prov. 8:10-11, 15:32) We need to seek the Lord in everything we do, and then listen for an answer. Believe me, if the issue is that you are opening a door to the enemy, God is trying to show you!

Not seeing where we are making ourselves vulnerable to the enemy is a lack of wisdom; and God clearly tells us, if we lack wisdom we should ask Him because He gives it freely! (James 1:5) You donít have to seek out a prophet, you need to seek God and let God lead you to one or one to you! Much of the time the answer we seek is literally in black and white on the pages of our Bible, we just arenít reading it. Finally, we must consider the words of Paul in II Corinthians 12:6-10 ďFor though I would desire to glory, I shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth: but now I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth me to be, or that he heareth of me. And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christís sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.Ē Sometimes itís not because of what we are but because of what we might become that we are allowed to suffer affliction. This is serving the God who is working for our ultimate good. The God who created us and truly knows the future, not just a false god who desires nothing but to scare us into serving his selfish purposes!

Even as believers, many things can and will affect our lives; but if we will humble ourselves in the sight of the Lord, He will lift us up. (James 4:8-10) He will carry us through those struggles we would never have made it through on our own. (Ps. 23) If we would truly give our lives to God, He has the strength we lack. The problem is that far too often people run around worried about a multitude of things instead of yielding their lives to God enough to even define what a true curse is. Because God never forces Himself on us, this becomes a significant obstacle on our path to the right perspective. So, just remember, this world will hate you for the sake of your testimony, but thatís OK because this world is not our home! (John 17:6-24) The devil has no authority if we do not allow him footholds in our lives. (Eph. 4:26-27) Thus, we should not fear the devil; he can only take this life from us. Rather let us fear God who can destroy both the soul and spirit in hell; (Matt. 10:27-28) and in fearing God, letís remember that He is working for our good! Closing example of a true curse: God cursed the ground for manís sake. (Gen. 3:17-19) That was bad for the ground but a blessing for man, because it would help man understand that living for this world is foolish, and the greatest curse of all!

Questions submitted to the Institute, answered by Philip Busby.

If you would like to submit a question please visit our Q&A page at
www.livingspringsinstitute.org or write us at Living Springs' Questions &
Answers, P.O. Box 271, Loveland, CO 80539


Following the Biblical Stream:
By Philip Busby

Last time, we had a discussion about marriage and the issue of Lamech taking more than one wife. This brought us to the nineteenth verse of the fourth chapter of Genesis, where we are following the family line of Cain. Now, Lamech was part of only the seventh generation of people to live on this planet. However, itís important to remember that due to manís much longer life span, almost everyone ever born would have still been alive at this point. So, as we go into the twentieth verse of Genesis chapter 4, we are already talking about a sizable population. It may not seem that large in comparison to the kinds of populations we are used to today. Today even what we consider a small town may often have a larger population than the entire world of Lamechís day. However, when you are talking in reference to manís beginnings, long life span means there were far more than two or three generations of people living at the same time. Population numbers could grow very rapidly, because the birthrate had the opportunity to out pace the death rate in a way we simply cannot comprehend.

Why is this important? Itís important because as we go down the line toward the flood of Noahís day, we are only talking about a couple thousand years. To us this seems like ancient history. For example, Jesus was born a little more than two thousand years from where we are today, and the events in the gospel seem like the distant past to many. However, if you lived in a world where people could easily live eight hundred or even nine hundred years, two thousand years ago could simply be the stories of your grandfather! Changes in the way man lived were not rolling fads like they are today. Very little of what was old could be new again in a world where children of different generations would commonly be born with children at the same time. Today, if a couple has a child so late in life that their first children already have children of their own, that is an anomaly; but in the beginning of manís history it was not uncommon for great, great grandchildren to be born at the same time you were having yet another child of your own. Just imagine that!

All this means that as man develops, not only does he have the first two humans to learn from, but endeavors into new ideas might be carried out by Adamís great, great grandchild in collaboration with direct sons of Adam. People had a long time to develop their ideas and to share them with (or force them on) much younger siblings as well as new generations. So, the development of man and certain technologies had a chance to move at a very rapid pace. When the next couple of verses describe for us people in the eighth generation of men and what they are the fathers of, it means it. Itís not just that these men came up with the idea, but they came up with it, practiced it, critiqued it, taught it to others, critiqued it as it related to larger scale practice, and so on!

So, in verse 20 we find that to Lamechís son Jabal is accredited the practice of nomadic cattle herding. He is the father of people who did not live in a city like his forefather Cain had established, but as a traveling group. Verse 21 tells us Jabal had a brother named Jubal. He was the father of those who handle the harp and organ. Verse 22 tells us Lamechís other wife (Zillah) also bore children. She had a son named Tubalcain and a daughter named Maamah. Tubalcainís craft concerned brass and iron. Now, Tubalcain is listed as an ďinstructor,Ē and his half brothers are described as the ďfatherĒ of their perspective activities. I believe this is one of the primary reasons we are told specifically about these men, and itís an example of how important all the words in scripture are.

Itís not just the professions of these men which tell us something but the contrast between Jabal and Jubal being ďfathersĒ and Tubalcain being an ďinstructor.Ē You see, the word ďfatherĒ means a principal or primary person. To be primary or principal is to have authority among a group, and to have authority among a group, you have to have a group. In creation, we only see one group created by God, and that is the family group. God made Adam, said it was not good for him to be alone, and created Eve. Eve is brought to Adam, and Adam takes her as bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh. (Gen 2:18-24) This was the first marriage, and together Adam and Eve gave birth to children whom they were responsible to raise. When we look at the Ten Commandments, numbers five through ten deal with manís interaction with each other. The shorthand is that number ten tells us not to covet, nine tells us not to lie, eight not to steal, seven not to commit adultery, six not to kill, and five tells us to honor our father and mother. The first commandment about how humans interact with each other informs us to respect our parents. Why? Because babies cannot choose for themselves, therefore, their will is automatically yielded to their parents. Thus, parents have a God given responsibility to care for and raise their children, but responsibility does not come with automatic authority. The basis of creating a family came with the understanding that parents would have to raise their children, and as children became more and more capable they would need to respect their parentsí God given responsibility. God chose to speak to the children because of the ďChicken or the egg?Ē question. Adam and Eve came before their children, and they were both created in adult form. However, what really came first was God Himself, and we are all His children. Thus, all humans relate to the perspective that we have all been somebody's child.

If we are ever tempted to doubt the importance of the fifth commandment, we should consider the life of Jesus. Luke 2:41-52 tells us Jesusí parents lost him at Passover in Jerusalem. When they found Jesus, He was in the temple right where they should have looked in the first place. This is why Jesus simply asks, ďWist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?Ē However, Mary and Joseph didnít really understand, and all they wanted to do was go home. So the scripture tells us Jesus went home with them and submitted Himself to them. Now, Jesus was the Messiah of the whole earth; yet in respect to the way God the Father had established human life, Jesus honored His parentsí decision to take Him from the temple and raise Him in a place far away from Jerusalem. Just imagine how different the ministry of Jesus may have been if Mary and Joseph had said on that day, ďYou know, Heís right. We need to stay in Jerusalem so Jesus can be near the temple!Ē Now, if it had been the will of the Father for Jesus to be raised in the temple, God could have instructed it in the same way He spoke to Joseph about going to Egypt. (Matt. 2:7-15) So, we are only speculating about the changes choices make in the world, not saying Mary and Joseph made a mistake. The important lesson for us to see in the life of Jesus was that even He respected the structure God established for us to live in. Godís Son, out of respect for his parentsí responsibility, would not start His ministry until He had reached adulthood!

Now, our parents have done what they have done in the time and place which they did it. You can love or hate the choices your parents made, but that wonít change the past. We can blame parents for the way we turned out, but they can blame their parents and so on up the line. In telling us to honor our parents, God is telling us that we should not try and judge our parents; we should try to understand why they did what they did. In doing this, we find much about ourselves! In some cases, we may find choices which we hated were necessary. In other cases, we may find why our parents made the ďmistakesĒ they did, which can help us not to do the same. Maybe our parents were dead wrong, and maybe they truly did the best they could. Only God can judge what was/is truly in their hearts and minds.

All this shows us just how important the way God created us to live is. Honoring our parents has value not just to the stability and continuance of the cycle of life, but the opportunity to improve the development of human behavior. Itís the opportunity for generation upon generation to learn from mistakes without having to make them personally. This point seems to be lost in our world of sin, so we have trouble understanding the difference between God created authority in human groups and man chosen authority. Jesus would submit to His parents, but when the time came for Him to declare Himself as the Messiah, He would not submit to the calls of the religious leaders of the day to stop. Mary and Josephís authority over Jesus was part of the way God established human life to work. The authority of the Sanhedrin was simply part of manís choices. Jesusí life shows us God may not stop earthly authorities from taking your life, even when they are the ones in the wrong, but their ability to put you to death should not stop you from doing right. (Matt. 10:28) When men make wrong choices the blood is on their hands. What is important to you is that there is none on yours! (Rom. 13)

When it comes to the words in Genesis, we find how man continually expanded the concept of authority beyond the family group God created. Men did this so they could create groups for their own purposes. So, man even began to force authority over the professions of men. This is what it means when it tells us certain men were the ďfatherĒ of a certain occupation. Itís to say these men had a lot of control or authority over the development of their particular practice and those individuals involved in it. Just like a father has authority in a household, the idea of authority over others had been expanded out of the home and into the daily lives of what men did with their lives. People were also being divided into groups which practiced specific occupations. This, much like the city idea, is not wrong as long as itís not forced on others; but I believe what the Bible is telling us by using the word ďfatherĒ is that many were ďcastĒ into these trades whether they liked it our not. Men may have even been abusing family authority to force and obligate their children into the ďFamily Business.Ē The taking of God-given freedom and liberty from one man by another has been exercised for a very long time. There should be no wonder as to why itís such a reoccurring part of our history!

Now, concerning the actual occupations, Jabal was the father of those who lived in tents and herded cattle, and this brings back an interesting point we talked about concerning Abelís sheep herding. Man was not supposed to be eating animals at that time, so why was the keeping of herd animals a thing of value? Again, the answer has to come back to the fact man was finding value in animals which superseded what we find today. The fact we herd animals so much for the sake of eating them has likely blinded us to many other possibilities. This is not to say we should be vegetarian, but it should make us stop and consider the possibilities. We should also consider the fact the fossil record shows us, originally, far more animals shared this planet with us than do today. So, when the Bible says ďcattle,Ē itís hard for us to know just what kind of animal we may be talking about. Itís very possible we are talking about animals who were so large and/or different from what we think, the animals they herded would have had uses we just canít hardly imagine!

Jabalís brother Jubal was the father of those who handled the harp and organ. Now, we are not sure if these words are truly describing the same musical instruments we would call a harp and organ today, but I believe the fact these words describe two very different instruments is telling us something in itself. Jubal developed more than one class of instruments, which is likely pointing to the fact he was the father of developing musical sound through mechanics. This is something we take for granted today, but it had to be developed somewhere along the line. This scripture is showing us the development of musical instruments did not happen in a very organic way as people often think. Man was not walking along a river bank where he found a reed he decided to blow through and then another man happened to pluck a tight string one day. If there was a ďfatherĒ of musical instruments, then there was a consorted effort made among men to develop musical sound through mechanical devices. Once again, man was not developed through evolution, and more evidence of this is shown in Tubalcainís story.

Tubalcain was an instructor in every artificer in brass and iron. The original word ďinstructorĒ comes from here, means, to sharpen. Tubalcain did not try to control others; but taking a craft already in practice at his time, he developed it into something more useful than it had been. The word ďartificerĒ is used here to make a point clear as well. Itís telling us man was not creating hunks by melting metal together, and then tying those hunks to sticks to form primitive hammers and axes. Man was crafting useful metal artifacts, and Tubalcain took the practice of metal working to an even higher level!

Now, maybe brass and iron are only the best descriptions for the metal he worked with and/or developed; but if that is true, itís because what he had may have been even better than these metals, and these two metals are just the closest comparison. In any case, it makes the point clear that man had very good metals, even alloy technology, long before the flood. When we look at facts in the archeological record which show us man took a long time developing new and more useful metals and alloys, we are looking at post flood facts. After the flood there were only eight people to carry the ideas and technology of man into the new world. (I Pet. 3:18-20) The fact man, before the flood, enjoyed lengthy life spans but still chose to divide into groups with specific skills, (even those divisions were likely made along family lines for the most part) meant these eight family members did not possess a great amount of hands on knowledge of very many technologies. The basic ideas may have stuck in their heads, but exactly how each technology was accomplished was not something they were privy to. This is a great example of what we talked about earlier. After the flood many things changed, and many things were lost. Once manís age was shortened, it drastically affected manís ability to develop technology. What was developed in just a few short generations in the beginning took hundreds of years to regain.

That fact also has application to later Biblical prophecy. Evolutionist try to split up the history of man as following the development of metals such as iron and brass. However, the Bible tells us pre-flood man had these metals from almost the beginning. Some would argue that these words were only generally explaining ďmetal work,Ē but that is untrue. That is why two different metals, one natural, very useful and one alloy, are mentioned here. The stone age and the iron age are one and the same. However, post flood evidence tells us man did not develop these metals again for a long time, and their eventual development did in fact, greatly affect the unfolding of manís history.

Using metal to denote manís post flood development is even used in prophesy. When the Babylonian king had a dream which Daniel interpreted, the dream was about a statue of differing metals. (Dan. 2) Each metal would represent a different empire. In the statue only five empires were depicted, but in Revelation seven empires would be shown as heads of a singular beast. (Rev. 17) Now, all this was representing the development of manís world post flood. You see, the first of the seven empires predated the five shown in the metal statue. The statue was prophesy. So, it began from where they were at the time and went forward. Daniel tells the king, ďThou art this head of gold.Ē Daniel 2:38 Gold represented a pentacle in value, but the empires which would follow would be more industrious metals, all the way down to iron which would be mixed with clay in the feet of the statue. Now, the beast John saw in Revelation had one head which was wounded unto death, (Rev. 13) but the beast survived. This is not just telling us that the seven headed beast survived, but that the beast, after being mortally wounded, revived to grow another six heads.

Evolutionist talk as if there was a stone age. In other words, an age before man truly grasped metal technologies. They say itís because man had smaller brain capabilities; but the Bible tells us it was all a matter of recovery from the flood. The statue in the kingís dream was made of metal, and the head was a very valuable one. However, there had to be a building up to the great empire of the Babylonian head of gold, and these are the other two empires which make up the seven. They were lesser and came back in the development stage right after the flood. They were part of the same beast but prior to a lot of human development, or should we say, redevelopment. Thus, they were not represented as metal.

Pre-flood humans were using good metal alloys by the eighth generation of men, but after the flood, as man began to repopulate, he fired bricks to build a tower to heaven. God determined, after the flood, He would not continue to destroy the earth for manís sake, (Gen. 8:21) so God put an end to this tower by confounding manís language. This tower is the first head of the beast which contained that deadly wound which is the confounding of the languages. This is why the wound is ď...by a sword,...Ē However, there went out from the tower, men who formed the city of Nineveh. (Gen. 10:8-12) They would resurrect the beast by forming the Assyrian empire which would pass on to the Babylonians, and so on.

Israel would be Godís counter to manís beast, and Israel would continually affect the beast! While the Dragon (Satan) would be forced to grow a new head every time the Tower of Babel effect forced the beast to grow one, (Rev. 12:3) Godís people would survive through thick and thin! Itís just amazing how man chooses to ignore the facts which are right in front of his face, and tell fanciful stories instead! Man, through his many resources and advantages before the flood, developed things it has taken us twice as long to develop again. In so many ways, we simply do not appreciate just how much we have lost to sin and the destruction it brings! This lack of appreciation comes in no small way from manís desire to deny sin has anything to do with it. Evolution is not just a theory of man but a hope. If he truly was just dumber in the beginning, then he can blame everything on his smaller brain, but if he was what the Bible says he was, then we have squandered our existence!

Now, verse 23 tells us more about the life of Lamech. Here we find a story critical to manís development which I believe is too often overlooked. It says, one day Lamech came to his two wives and explained to them that he had killed a man. It would appear from his words that Lamech felt he had justification for killing this man because he had done it in self-defense. The truth of the matter is, no one really knows. We can only take Lamechís word for it. Now, this is only the second human death recorded in the Bible. When the first one takes place, Cain is confronted by God about it. Itís this confrontation which Lamech refers to while speaking to his wives; but interestingly enough, there is no record of Lamech being confronted by God. The explanation for this is not that God did not try and talk to Lamech, but that Lamech never responds. This shows us manís technological ability was not the only thing moving fast before the flood. Manís desire to ignore God in his life and culture was also growing!

When Adam and Eve took of the fruit they were told not to, God came to them and they hid. They were concerned about their nudity, but they did, eventually, talk with God. (Gen. 3) When God came to Cain before he killed his brother Abel, Cain would not talk to God. After he had killed his brother, Cain tried to brush off his responsibilities in the situation, and in the end was only worried about his future existence. (Gen. 4:6-16) However, he did talk to God about it. When it comes to Lamech, we never see him talking to God. Lamech is obviously aware of the fact Cain had talked to God, but Lamech is uninterested in hearing what God has to say. Lamech simply makes his own judgment in the situation.

God chose to put a mark on Cain so all men would know that, by God, vengeance would be carried out on anyone who felt it was in their right to mistreat Cain. This was God making a clear statement that vengeance was His, not mans! (Isa. 61:1-3, Rom. 12:19) Lamech jumps right over this point, and instead, uses the determination of God to make up his own judgment. Lamech determined that if Cain would have vengeance taken on his afflicter seven fold, then he would have ď...seventy and sevenfold.Ē But who was going to carry out such an extravagant punishment?

This is one of the first and clearest incidents which shows us man was comfortable being his own ruler in spite of the fact he does not possess the power to carry out his judgments. He was becoming arrogant in his thoughts, and believed he not only had the knowledge of good and evil but the right to judgment. This is a giant leap in the thinking of man, and is a point we do not appreciate today. You see, we can make judgment calls on just about anything in our lives and world. Lamech proved that in even making a judgment about the taking of another manís life, but that doesnít mean weíre right in doing it. The previous stories show us, even after the fall, man had the open opportunity to allow God to guide him in all things, but man rejected Godís guidance by making one serious decision after another, all on his own! God gave man this freedom, but it is precisely why, in the end, after this world has passed away, every human who has ever lived will have to stand before God for judgment. (Rev. 20:12)

In this world, God allows man a great deal of latitude. Paul explains in Romans 13 that God even allows human governments to bear the sword of capital punishment, but again, the fact God allows this doesnít mean man is always correct in his judgment. What Paul was really trying to point out is that we live in a world of manís choosing. So, if we are going to do something human government deems worthy of death, God will not necessarily stop them, even if youíre in the right. The bottom line is this, we cannot blindly follow the judgments of this world because God will ultimately be our judge when it really matters. However, in this world, it rains on the just and the unjust. (Matt. 5:45) The difference is that no matter what man chooses to do, the just will survive by having a true relationship with God. (Rom. 1:16-17) So, the truth is worth dying for!

Until next time, Shalom!



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