Friday, August 4, 2006

The Way of Cain - Week I: Victory Over Pride

Welcome Mereas and thank you for joining me today!  I value your participation and look forward to hearing and learning from, as well as rejoicing with each of you!  Feel free to take your time each week in your studies and don't forget to come back and leave a comment or two after your fellowship with the LORD!  

Also, if the LORD leads you to bear testimony on your own blog site, please let us know so we can follow you there and partake. Perhaps you can simply say after your comments...'Follow Me'.  

Before we begin our journey together, I would like to explain the mission and vision for this Drash.  It is my prayer that as you navigate through the Scriptures in the coming weeks, the LORD would bring to you a whole new level of understanding through the portals of His grace.  For if we are to grow in the knowledge of the LORD, we must first grow in His rich grace toward one another (2 Peter 3:17-18).  

Mission:  To bring together Mereas in the Messiah for the purpose of growing in the grace and knowledge of our LORD Jesus Christ through the faithful study of His Word in adherence to the early talmidim's (Hb. disciples) Four Disciplines of Devotion:

THE FOUR DISCIPLINES  of DEVOTION (Acts 2:42-47)  

They CONTINUED FAITHFULLY (Devotedly Persevered) in:

1.) Teaching of the emissaries - A DILIGENT STUDY OF HIS WORD 

2.) Fellowship - A DETERMINED & ACTIVE LOVE OF HIS CHILDREN 

3.) Breaking of bread - A DAILY REMEMBRANCE OF HIS SACRIFICE 

4.) Prayers - A DEVOTED ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE  


Vision:  In the Power of His Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit), we aspire to deepen relationships with one another and develop a common vision for the glory of ADONAI's Name and the sake of His Set-Apart Kingdom, that we may intentionally, purposefully, and effectually minister to one another by the Power of His Word and thus display the glory of our Great God that brings the healing and hope of Jesus Christ to a lost and perishing world. 

Pursuing Excellence in Love alongside you,

Carmen


z  z  z

Note to Students: If the text is already present in a given passage, I will not give a link for the reference.  Most Scripture references, however, will have working links with multiple translations that will take you to the referenced passage.  I hope this convenience makes your study as fruitful and smooth as the click of your mouse!

Blessed are You, LORD our God King of the Universe Who sanctifies us in Your commandments and commanded us to immerse ourselves in the study of Torah.  Faithful Father, may You bring forth a bountiful harvest before us as we actively sow the Good Seed of Your Word into our lives and into the lives of others for Your Name's sake.  Thank You that You love us too much to allow us to stay the same and walk the way of Cain...And You've provided for us an infinitely better Way through our King and Redeemer Jesus Christ!  Amen


“Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? "If you do well, will not {your countenance} be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it." ~ ADONAI {to Cain, Genesis 4:7}


Introduction to 'The Way of Cain'



‘Watch over your heart with all diligence!’, warns the great Proverb (4:23)‘For from it {flow} the springs of life.’   Please read Ezekiel 16:49 in a few different Bible translations.  It should not come as a surprise that Sodom’s ‘chief or parent sin’ was not sodomy as you may think.  Sodomy was simply the fruit born of the root of pride.  This ancient people’s parent sin was pride (God, my plans are superior to Yours!) which soon produced a population of gluttonous, idle and merciless ingrates.  And as we study on together, we will find that the antidote was fairly simple and it was not hidden.  It could have been avoided by simply choosing well - choosing right - choosing to prepare their hearts in all of God’s ways.  

But to get at the core of what went wrong, we’ll need to rewind to the Genesis story of a jealous killer and an undisciplined man - Cain.  And in doing so, we’ll learn to discern the traps that have held God’s people captive since the beginning of time.

In the book of Genesis (4:7), our compassionate LORD gives Cain a glance at what a prepared and acceptable offering will produce in life.  Thus he also gives Cain a second chance to do it right.  He says to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? "If you do well, will not {your countenance} be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it."

The key to the abundance Christ intended for us (John 10:10)  is only brought to fruition by living a disciplined and prepared life.  In this very verse in John, Scripture also reveals the Adversary's plans for us.  It is to steal, to kill, and to destroy our testimony before a dying generation! And the sins of Pride, Gluttony, Idleness, and Mercilessness is what he uses most often to accomplish his plans and destroy the children of El Elyon.  

The Hebrew Scriptures are known as the Tanach.  It is broken up into three parts and is the acronym T - Torah (Five Books of Moses or Pentateuch), N - Neviim (Prophets), and K - Kethuvim (Writings or Wisdom Literature).  Torah means more than simply 'law', it means Teachings and Instruction (for living).  Torah derives from the Hebrew root yareh which is an archery word meaning to 'HIT THE MARK'.  The word sin comes from the Hebrew root chatta'ah which is also an archery word meaning - you guessed it - to 'MISS THE MARK'!  This is important to us because the first mention of the word 'sin' is found in Genesis 4:7 - the story of Cain and Abel!

The Adversary has a very definite and precise plan for God's people.  Therefore, we must be aware of his tactics by knowing and abiding in the Eternal Word of the LORD!  It is this ABIDING IN THE WORD that makes us really and unquestionably FREE!

Please know that simply knowing God's Word is not what sets us free from the clutches of the Adversary's claws. The Adversary himself, along with his minions know Scripture better than, dare I say, most Christians!  Rather, it is KNOWING coupled by OBEDIENCE to the INSTRUCTION OF GOD!  In other words, it's not the passive knowing, but rather it is the active sowing that brings about a heavenly harvest and breaks the powerful chains of bondage over our lives.

Look at Proverbs 4, verses 25-27: “Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze on what lies in front of you.  Level the path for your feet, let all your ways be properly prepared; then deviate neither right nor left; and (thus) keep your feet far from evil.”  It is in this way that we commit our works to the LORD, and thus our plans will achieve success (Proverbs 16:3).  

Together we will look at how diligent preparation is God’s plan for our everyday living.  It is God’s Way.  Anything less will reap what I call ‘a less than life’.  It is the corrupt and deceitful way of Cain.  This is the battle we fight everyday.  Going down Cain’s path reaps a life of indifference, purposelessness, discontentment, jealousy, laziness and despair just to name a few.  Many choose to follow Cain down this broad pathway.  The warning signs Turn Back! are posted all along this freeway to nothingness. If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time.

To prepare is to discipline.   Remember this phrase as we pore over the Scriptures.  ‘Discipline yourselves or be disciplined’, I say to my children as the words echo back into my ear.  To be prepared - to be disciplined - in this life is to be free No discipline seems enjoyable at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it yields the fruit of peace and righteousness to those who have been trained by it. (Hebrews 12:11)

By His grace, she had learned to master EXCELLENCE IN LOVE.
    
   In the Scriptures, a loving Mother advised her son of a wonderful woman who safe-guarded her heart with humility as she possessed a worshipful and reverential fear of the LORD she loved.  This virtuous woman was disciplined by self-control as she was clothed with strength and dignity.  She did not eat of the bread of idleness.  Oh no, all her ways had been properly prepared!  Therefore she could laugh at the days ahead.  And lastly, through mercy and compassion, she extended her hand to those in need.  Who is this excellent woman whose worth is far above jewels?

    This is meant for you and me...yes, in this day and age!  However, we would be wise to realize that she is not one to be compared to.  Rather, she is to be formed in us by the hands of our Faithful Father.  This exemplary lady followed God’s plan for being KINGDOM PRODUCTIVE.  And Cain’s way, she knew to be SELF-DESTRUCTIVE.  By His grace, she had learned to master EXCELLENCE IN LOVE! (The Way of Christ) - the very purpose for this offering unto the LORD.

     It is my prayer for each of you ladies that you will reap an abundant harvest from our time of studying His Word together, praying for one another and obeying His Spirit’s voice at every crossroad in the coming days.  It is my prayer that each of us will indeed, hold our heads high as we present to our Faithful Father with lifted hands, many wonderful and acceptable offerings each day!  MOVE IN TROOPS - POSITION YOURSELVES AND SEE THE SALVATION OF THE LORD!



THE FATHER’S BATTLE PLAN 

Week 1 - Victory Over Pride: OPERATION HUMILITY  



He has shown you, oh man, what is good.  And what does the LORD require of you but to do justly, to love kindness and mercy and to walk humbly with your God? 
~ Micah 6:8

This week, we will deal with the first sin mentioned in Ezekiel 16:49 - PRIDE.  Throughout this week, I challenge you to surf through the Proverbs, with the Ruach HaKodesh as your Guide, and make a list of the Scriptures dealing with Pride, its cure Humility and the need for discipline/preparation.   Please meditate on those and share them with us as it will fill a great many with hope and encouragement in the days ahead!


And he did evil, because he did not prepare his heart to seek the LORD. 
~ 2 Chronicles 12:14

WEEK 1 SCRIPTURE READING

PLEASE READ 2 CHRONICLES 12.

Even with a father like the wise King Solomon, Rehoboam failed because of a lack of simple preparation! What was it that he failed to do?  

Scripture reveals that 'pride comes before destruction' (Proverbs 16:18).  Notice the correlation between Rehoboam's 'becoming strong' followed by his 'forsaking the law of the LORD' in 2 Chronicles 12:1.  

PASSAGE QUESTIONS

  1. What did the prophet reveal to King Rehoboam and how did the people respond?
  2. What did the LORD’s discipline consist of?  
  3. What was the extremely important Kingdom lesson that ADONAI wanted to impart to the people of Israel (vs. 8)?
  4. Take note that bondage is not total destruction; rather, it is the rod that God uses to help us identify that we are on the wrong path!
  5.  What Scriptures relating to being humble and obedient come to your mind?  


PERSONAL EXAMINATION

  1. Do you feel inwardly that you suffer from a restless and wandering spirit?  
  2. Do you find yourself mostly living in a state of discontentment often looking for the ‘next thing’ to bring you joy and fulfillment?  Identify these things by journaling them.  
  3. Does joy and fulfillment presently pervade your spirit?
  4. Are many of your relationships troubled?
  5. Does jealousy over another's accomplishments or possessions rule your spirit?
  6. Are you frequently late and unprepared for each day?
  7. Is your home out of order?
  8. Ask our Heavenly Father to help you identify what is acceptable and what is not in your life.  He will not only help you identify these areas, but He will give you a conquering faith (1 John 5:3-5) that you may HOLD YOUR HEAD HIGH!  
  9. What are some ways the LORD might be calling you to actively sow good seed for a future and bountiful harvest (2 Corinthians 9:10)?  

Without clever tactics an army is defeated, and VICTORY comes from much planning. ~ Proverbs 11:14

ADDITIONAL TRUTHS FOR EXCELLENCE IN LOVE

  1.  Discipline apart from lovingkindness is legalism (unpleasant).
  2.  Lovingkindness apart from discipline is laziness (unproductive).
  3.  Kingdom Life (the Spirit-filled and Spirit-led life) is meant to be both pleasurable (Psalm 16:11) and productive! 
  4.  Notice that to even be able to enjoy the good that results from our work is THE GIFT OF GOD.  - Ecclesiastes 2:24; 3:12-13,22
  5.  NOT WALKING in the very pre-ordained purposes for our everyday will lead to a restless/wandering spirit as Cain had - never quite finding what his spirit yearned for, REST (Matthew 11:28-30).  
  6.  WEEK 1 FOCAL PASSAGE:  2 Chronicles 12 - Rehoboam was not completely destroyed due to his pride.  But after the people humbled themselves at the prophet Sh'ma'yah's warning, the LORD gave them over to slavery (He granted them a measure of deliverance - verse 8) SO THAT THEY WOULD COME TO APPRECIATE THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SERVING HIM and serving earthly kingdoms!  His discipline is meant to teach us something. (Hebrews 12:11).  Are we receiving His discipline as one who trusts Him fully? (Proverbs 1:23)
  7. The land of Nod (wandering) is where we as Christians often walk, not fulfilling the very purposes and receiving the freedom God has ordained for us (see Genesis 4:9-16).  
  8. We begin to walk in freedom only as we PREPARE our hearts to seek Him with our whole hearts each day.  While that may sound so simple, King Rehoboam fell into the spirit and Way of Cain because he did not PREPARE his heart to seek the LORD. (Matthew 6:33; Proverbs 16:1).  
  9. Cain had nothing good and acceptable to give to the LORD because he had not prepared his field and tended the land God had given him.  Have you ever seen an unkempt field - thorny, bug infested and growth-stunted? 
  10. Though the LORD spoke a liberating word over him (Genesis 4:7), thus giving him another chance at success, Cain did not respond to that discipline.  His jealousy over his brother's success drove him to murder.

A person is responsible to prepare his heart, but how the tongue speaks is from ADONAI. ~ Proverbs 16:1

MEMORY VERSE:  


The discerning person focuses on wisdom there before him, but a fool's eyes wander to the ends of the earth. ~ Proverbs 17:24

15 comments:

Carol said...

This was great Carmen. What a lot to chew on. You've done an excellent job with this. I look forward to the rest of it. Keep up the good work! :)

ElRoi4me said...

This is coming at a perfect time in my life. How wonderful God is for directing me to this study! I admit I have trouble disciplining myself in the study of His word. Please pray for me as I try and overcome all my excuses for not studying and pray I just get into the word daily. Thanks for a great beginning to what looks to be a wonderful Bible study Carmen! Thank you too in advance for your prayers and for anyone else who would be willing to pray for me too. I will pray for you all as well.

God bless you!

Tina said...

Carmen, I am planning to use this study in my morning quiet time each day and I plan to read and re-read the scripture. I am finding even today, as I have read it for the second time, that God is allowing me to see it with new eyes. I believe He has much to show us through this study and His Word is new every day. I am anxious to explore, learn and apply to my walk what it means to prepare by heart to seek the Lord. No doubt seeking without proper preparation cannot be as fruitful. Blessings on you and your ministry.

Tina said...

The study has inspired a new devotional entry on my blg, follow me http://www.rainbowsandmustardseeds.blogspot.com/

Roanne LeRaine said...

This week our church has started it's annual "prayer and fasting" month. I was searching for a new bible study to keep me focused on my fasting days and I found this. I am also doing another study with a friend about removing the not-so-obvious "other gods" in our lives and I am already seeing parallels between both studies. TWO things stood out to me this morning as I read through the passages and questions. 1) in verses 7 & 12 the phrases, "... I will grant them SOME deliverance," & "...the wrath of the Lord turned from him, so as not to destroy him ENTIRELY..."
God allowed some destruction, what I liken to going "through the fire" AND 2)What does 'prepare our hearts to seek Him' actually entail? This is where the 'no other gods' part comes in. We prepare ourselves by removing our earthly idols--or the weeds (as in the garden)--- those things we KNOW hinder us from hearing the Holy Spirit.... FOLLOW ME to my blog for more at www.mydevotedlife.blogspot.com

Mercury, unique properties and wonderous but also can be fatal if not handled with care. said...

i have only been Christian for 10 years. i know it is less than some and more than some but in that 10 years i have never found anyone who could sufficiently explain why the grain offering was good but the sacrifice was not. people have said things like God must have told them something that he didn't tell us, and that didn't ever sit well with me. thank you for helping me understand the lesson of discipline behind it.
merrin

Leah said...

Carmen,

I am hardly into the first week of your study and am already loving it. You might want to go check out my friend, Mariel's blog. She did an awesome study on the Proverbs 31 woman which you can find on her blog. She is now doing a study on Psalm 23 which is amazing. She is an anointed writer and I think you would enjoy her teaching.

www.growingingodliness.blogspot.com

Leah

Leslie said...

Ps 10:17
LORD, You have heard the desire of the HUMBLE; You will PREPARE their heart; You will cause Your ear to hear,

Leslie said...

Ps 10:17
LORD, You have heard the desire of the HUMBLE; You will PREPARE their heart; You will cause Your ear to hear,

Charli and me said...

Carmen,
This was very interesting to read. It is coming at a perfect time in my life too. I have always wanted to be in a Bible study group.

jcdisciple said...

So much truth and wisdom here and in such an orderly fashion. Thanks for this.

karen said...

I am struggling with seeking God with my whole heart it seems so half hearted. My spirit is not stable with the Lord as it should be. God has blessed me with a wonderful husband and God has given me the privilege of homeschooling two of our children. I have a lot to lose if I don't surrender.
Father,my prayer for these other ladies that we seek You God ,just seek Your face with all our hearts and give ourselves entirely to You Father, in Jesus name amen.
Carmen, God bless your obedience in writing this study. God bless you abundantly.

A Gracious Home said...

I'm enjoying this study so much. I enjoy being able to read the Jewish Bible along with the study. I am working hard this year on self discipline. This study is helping. Thanks, Doylene

Sweet Magnolia said...

Carmen ..I want to Thnk You for devoting your time and eneergy to share the wisdom the Lord has instilled in you. I have been Christian Great many years ...and am in a Place where wandering fits me to a tee. I am a single woman ..and Have trouble finding women to connect with my age that are single ..and it seems every study I have run into up till now always has something to do about being a mother or wife and there is where I feel derailed. I wanted so much to just find a study that taught me the Bible and how it applied to me and how I applied it to myself. Well I have found it..and my is it an eye opener ..I have just finished study one and I have a lump in my throat and a sadness in my heart ...My Personal answers staring me in the face ..this is definitely soul touching,and eye opening, Please God let it all sink in ..Change me, change my heart , and create in me a new spirit ..! Thank You I needed this !

Sara

Rich said...

It is sad that there are so many following the way of Cain today. They walk in anger, hatred, and strife, not realizing that without faith, it is impossible to please God. There are so many that walk in hate, and the bible teaches us that when we walk in hate, we are murderers in heart, as was Cain.

But as for me, Heaven forbid that I should boast about anything except the execution-stake of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah! Through Him, as far as I am concerned, the world has been put to death on the stake; and through Him, as far as the world is concerned, I have been put to death on the stake.  For neither being circumcised nor being uncircumcised matters; what matters is being a NEW CREATION. And as many as order their lives by this rule, shalom upon them and mercy, and upon the Isra'el of God! 

~ Galatians 6:14-16

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