God said to Cain in warning, “Sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.” (Gen 4:7b) That partial verse jumped out of the pages at me this morning and I haven’t been able to shake it all day. Sin desires to have you, me, our families, our friends; Sin is crouching at our doors just waiting for the tiniest shred of hope of welcome.
Today’s reading: Genesis, chapters 4-7
Rather than focusing today’s discussion on Noah, the one who did everything just as God commanded him (6:22), I want to focus on today. The Lord saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. (6:5) We can look around today and know deep down that our thoughts, words and actions often cause our Creator to grieve just as He did in Noah’s day.
I’m not one for fire and brimstone, though, so don’t panic! Instead of going down that gloomy road, let’s instead look for scriptures throughout the Word that speak to the “Seven Deadly Sins,” so that we will each be better equipped when sin is knocking at our doors. Let’s pull the welcome mat right out from under him!
From our reading today, when Cain’s offering to the Lord was not of the firstfruits and, therefore, not of the caliber of Abel’s offering, God spoke to Cain and said, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted?“ (4:6-7a)
The next scripture I felt was worth sharing, would be a tricky memory verse because it is so lengthy, but I find that is true with practically any scripture in the Amplified version, as it is so expressive and explanatory. However, for this particular verse, the more involved version leaves no questions on the table about what God is speaking to us, so I love it and thought it well worth the “wordiness.” ”But I say to you that everyone who continues to be angry with his brother or harbors malice (enmity of heart) against him shall be liable to and unable to escape the punishment imposed by the court; and whoever speaks contemptuously and insultingly to his brother shall be liable to and unable to escape the punishment imposed by the Sanhedrin, and whoever says, ‘You cursed fool! [You empty-headed idiot!]‘ shall be liable to and unable to escape the hell (Gehenna) of fire.” (Matthew 5:22)
My heart swells as I read these words from David: Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret–it leads only to evil. For evil men will be cut off, but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land. (Psalm 37:7-9)
Serve the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful singing. (Psalm 100:2)
Studying the gospels in parallel is so interesting to me personally that I wanted to share these two versions of the same teaching from Jesus in relation to greed: 1) “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence.” (Matthew 23:25) 2) “Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness.” (Luke 11:39)
Jesus then warned, “beware and be on your guard against every form of greed: for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.” (Luke 12:15)
When we neglect to recognize God’s Spirit in our own lives and are apathetic and lazy in pursuing after Him, we greatly sin against our Creator. And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. (Hebrews 6:11-12)
Not foresaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near. (Hebrews 10:25)
And, the ultimate example of apathy toward this abundant life we are striving after: The sluggard buries his hand in the dish, but will not even bring it back to his mouth. (Proverbs 19:24)
When we allow pride to be our guide, it will, instead become our eternal ruin. Who is it you have insulted and blasphemed? Against who have you raised your voice and lifted your eyes in pride? Against the Holy One of Israel! (2 Kings 19:22)
In his pride the wicked does not seek Him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God. (Psalm 10:4) (10-4, indeed!)
When pride comes, then comes dishonor, but with the humble is wisdom. (Proverbs 11:2)
The Lord is good to those who depend on Him, to those who search for Him. (Lamentations 3:25)
Woe to the city of blood, full of lies, full of plunder, never without victims! The crack of whips, the clatter of wheels, galloping horses and jolting chariots! Charging cavalry flashing swords and glittering spears! Many casualties, piles of dead, bodies without number, people stumbling over the corpses–all because of the wanton lust of a harlot, alluring, the mistress of sorceries, who enslaved nations by her prostitution and peoples by her witchcraft. (Nahum 3:1-4)
This one covers a lot of bases, but the wording is so strong, that it feels to me like it leans toward not only lust of the flesh, but the lustfulness of greed, envy, pride, etc. But among you there must not even be a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. (Ephesians 5:3)
Wow! This scripture grips me right at my past! I wonder if I had read or heard this scripture back when I was living such a depraved life, so far from God, if it would have gotten my attention. I wonder if I would have truly heard it. I wonder who else needs to hear it today! Why would we continue to walk on the path of our own sinfulness, when there is such fullness and grace in walking with Him, seeking Him, and putting all of that other junk well behind us. For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do–living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry. (1 Peter 4:3)
When we stop envying the people and possessions the world has to offer, we succeed by heavenly standards! Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2)
Life is not a competition, it’s a journey and we’re all on this journey together. We may each be journeying through our own seasons, highs and lows, but that’s not for any of us to judge or follow after. Let’s stop condemning each other. Decide instead to live in such a way that you will not cause another believer to stumble and fall. (Romans 14:13)
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8)
You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter. (James 5:5)
I welcome you to add your own scriptures relating to any of these “Seven Deadly Sins” in the comments section below. Or, if you would like to expand on something based on one of the scriptures or personal thoughts already listed above, please do so. Iron sharpens iron, and we are all on this road together, just working daily to follow after Him.
Tomorrow’s reading: Genesis 8-11
Make it a great day,