People did not think it was important to have a true knowledge of God. So God left them and allowed them to have their own worthless thinking and to do things they should not do. They are filled with every kind of sin, evil, selfishness, and hatred. They are full of jealousy, murder, fighting, lying, and thinking the worst about each other. They gossip and say evil things about each other. They hate God. They are rude and conceited and brag about themselves. They invent ways of doing evil. They do not obey their parents. They are foolish, they do not keep their promises, and they show no kindness or mercy to others. They know God’s law says that those who live like this should die. But they themselves not only continue to do these evil things, they applaud others who do them. Romans 1:28-32 (NCV)
It is true now. It was true then. Evil behavior has run rampant since the fruit was plucked from the tree. Over and over we can see illustrations of sin – jealousy, murder, fighting, lying, and so on – in the Bible, in the news, and even in our own lives.
I read today’s passages and I hear the discontentedness of Rachel in her desire for another son soon after Joseph’s birth. I feel the jealousy of Leah toward her sister the beloved wife. I experience the competition between the two as they shamelessly throw their maids at Jacob in order to produce more children and one-up the other and as they literally barter their way into their husband’s bed.
I see the double-edged deceit between Laban and Jacob. Laban hiding away the streaked and speckled sheep in his flock, promised to Jacob, conniving to squeeze every last blessing out of him before he leaves with his family. And, Jacob manipulating the mating of the pure sheep that were left to strengthen his own flock and weaken Laban’s.
I witness the pride of Haman believing that he would be the only man the King would want to honor and being humiliated by having to honor Mordecai, the man who he planned on hanging on the gallows. He runs home with his head covered to hide from the embarrassment, only serving to fuel his hatred more.
I’d like to say that I have been innocent of these sins. But if I did, I would be lying. I struggle daily with sin. I grapple with the battlefield in my mind. My desire is to always take every thought captive, but often jealousy, frustration, worthless thinking, bitterness, resentment ooze their way out. I believe lies that the enemy whispers in my ear and temporarily forget true knowledge of God in the midst of my circumstances.
Each moment, I have a choice. I can give myself over to my sin, my ‘stinking thinking,’ or I can baptize myself in His love and hear His truths wash over me, changing my heart and forgiving my sin. I can listen to the lies or to the Voice from heaven saying, “You are my [daughter], whom I love, and I am very pleased with you.” (Mark 1:9-11)
My prayer is that I use each moment wisely. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Blessings – Julie, Vadipatti, India (written in the U.S.A.)
Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.