It Could be a Wood Shed Kind of Day

There are many things that can cause contention in the hearts of people who disagree. But pride is almost always the root of it. I am right, you are wrong. I am worthy you are not. Personalities clash, opinions and politics divide and good people can lose composure until they have nothing good to say about anyone or anything. That anger may not lead to murder but it certainly destroys. It destroys friendships and it tears at the very spirit of the community.

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I had a friend come to me in church on Wednesday night (yes, there is church on Wednesday night 😬) and my friend had great concern about the behaviors of some people in our community. Behaviors of anger and resentment, lashing out at people publicly without consideration for their testimony as a child of God. This person was absolutely broken hearted at what was happening.

I’m not throwing stones, I’ve been guilty myself at times, but for my sake and the sake of my friend, I’m turning to the only answer that I know to be truth and that is the word of God.

It’s 1:32 a.m., He woke me up and said, we need to talk, get My word and I’ll meet you there, and so I did.

I’ve been in Genesis for another reason, so I turned there to start my journey, and low and behold it was there I found the answer as to why people get angry.

Genesis 4:1-6 KJV

And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD. [2] And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. [3] And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD. [4] And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering: [5] But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. [6] And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen?

The Fallen Countenance

Gil’s commentary says and his countenance fell; the briskness and cheerfulness of his countenance went off, and he looked dejected; and instead of lifting up his face towards heaven; he looked with a down look to the earth; he looked churlish, morose, and sullen, ill natured, full of malice and revenge, and as if he was studying which way to vent it; he knit his brows and gnashed his teeth, put on a surly countenance; and there might be seen in his face all the signs, not only of grief and disappointment, but of rage and fury; though some interpret it of shame and confusion.

Note that the commentary said he first took his eyes off God and placed it on his brother. That will cause a change in countenance every time, good or bad, depending upon your feelings toward the person you’re looking at. I had to do my own soul searching because there are some people who cause my countenance to change when I am in their presence. Why? Because I don’t like the way they treat people. It is then that I have spiritual confusion because God says that vengeance is not mine, it is His, but am I to turn my back on the way these people conduct themselves? That’s a tough question, I am not their judge, but I too will stand before God accountable for how I handle my life.

God knew Cain’s heart long before his countenance changed. It had less to do with his brother than it did with his own pride and the fact he didn’t like the truth. Most people don’t.

There’s no sacrifice in veggies.

I may be taking it a little too lightly when I say that God didn’t want Cain’s side dish. The blood was always needed to point forward to the blood of Christ that was required to take away the sins of man. God had shown Adam and Eve upon the act of their own sin that blood had to be shed; they no doubt had told their children the story. The best and the first of the flock was required. Just because Cain was a keeper of the flock, didn’t mean he couldn’t have brought a sacrifice to the Lord of a lamb. But his pride got in the way. And that pride took root in his heart and grew into jealousy and hatred for his brother.

There are many things that can cause contention in the hearts of people who disagree. But pride is almost always the root of it. I am right, you are wrong. I am worthy you are not. Personalities clash, opinions and politics divide and good people can lose composure until they have nothing good to say about anyone or anything. That anger may not lead to murder but it certainly destroys. It destroys friendships and it tears at the very spirit of the community.

In the 1828 Dictionary it defines countenance  – To favor; to encourage by opinion or words. Cain no longer had anything good to say. Even if Cain had brought nothing, it would have been better than to have presented the wrong thing to God. There was no lives lost in the garden for the beans and tomatoes. But Cain could have stood behind his brother and said “I claim the blood!” Praise God so can we.

In the book of Psalm 42, David speaks of his own countenance when it comes to his suffering with Saul but he uses a song from the days of Moses. If you read the short chapter, the song David sings is of Korah, who was at the head of a conspiracy against Moses and Aaron, for which sin the earth opened its mouth, and swallowed alive him and his company, and fire devoured two hundred and fifty more; the history of which is recorded in Numbers 16:1. David felt the SAME frustration of conspiracy from the treatment he received from Saul. David had supported and defended Saul, but Saul’s pride caused him to resent David to the point of wanting him dead. In that Psalm David wrote:

Psalm 42:5 KJV

Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.

Psalm 42:11 KJV

Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.

David wasn’t relying on himself to keep his countenance. He knew that God would have to provide the grace to make it through. In the flesh David would have wanted to kill Saul and move on, he was to be King and all would have been justified. But he chose rather to wait in humility for the Lord to provide the way out. It wasn’t a quick fix. It wasn’t that David was a perfect man, he’d had other times of failing miserably, as do we. But this was a time when David waited for the victory of the Lord.

I find it ironic that even though Cain lived in a world that had not been as jaded with sin as the one we now live in, and yet his first reaction was murder. It proves that the depravity of man can be found in anyone. The difference in countenance between Cain and Able was their focus. Cain’s was on self and Abel’s was toward the Lord.

David said that he would praise God who is the  “health of my countenance”. David chose rather to focus on God than the evil Saul was doing and the hurt it caused to his heart. What David faced was nothing we could even imagine. Nobody is chasing us into a cave to kill us in the United State. And yet in today’s society we behave as though petty differences are the equivalency of it and gives us the right to tear down people and play the role of Saul. We’d much rather pretend that we are David because he was the hero of the story. But is that the case? I really am asking for a friend.

This short study was just a reminder to myself that the flesh does the talking most of the time in my life. If we want to live a successful Holy Spirit filled life we’ve got to begin by taking a serious look at how we’re behaving. I have a feeling if we did, it would be a woodshed kind of day for the most of us.

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Shari Johnson. (aka The Jesus Chick) has been encouraging women of faith and youth for a closer walk with Christ for over ten years. Having a burden for the leadership in American Churches, much of her writing is meant to spear on the servant of God to do more for the cause of Christ in these uncertain times. With humor, transparency and solid bible teaching Shari outlines messages that are easily understood, life applicable, and often with easily remembered points to ponder in hopes that they’ll be reflected on throughout the day and serve as encouragement on the go. Her servant’s heart is grounded in her own local church believing that it is there that the greatest impact can be made and unfortunately suffers the greatest neglect across America. Shari speaks at women’s gatherings in hopes of leaving a giggle in their soul and a burning desire to serve in their own local body of believers having it said of her “I laughed, I cried, and I was drawn to the foot of the cross…” Which is what it’s all about. For information on scheduling Shari, call her direct at (304)377-6036, message her via email at talk2shari@gmail.com or find her on Facebook!

1 COMMENT

  1. This hits really hard (good word): “Cain could have stood behind his brother and said ‘I claim the blood!’ Praise God so can we.”

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