Saturday, June 5, 2010

far from Eden, at the tree of knowledge

The Word for today:
Ezekiel 27, 28

What is the origin of evil?  Where does sin come from?  We reflexively say that sin springs from pride, and we are right to say so. 

So what is pride?   My favorite Bible teacher, J. Vernon McGee, describes it this way:
Pride of heart is the attitude of a life that declares its ability to live without God.
Today we read of the prince/king of Tyre:
Son of man, say to the ruler of Tyre,
"In the pride of your heart you say, 'I am a god;
I sit on the throne of a god in the heart of the seas.'
But you are a man and not a god.
You were the model of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.
You were in Eden, the garden of God;
You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you.
You were blameless in your ways fom the day you were created
till wickedness was found in you.
Your heart became proud on account of your beauty,
and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor."

The Bible student, in an attempt to track down the genesis of evil, should always associate Ezekiel 28 with Isaiah chapter 14:
How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn!
You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations!
You said in your heart,
"I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God;
I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain.
I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High."

As you read those passages, feel the mounting, galloping, rampant pride.  Note the ingratitude towards God, who endowed his creation with such wisdom and beauty.  Feel the insatiable desire to vault over every other, to stand alone at the pinnacle.  But be careful, for you stand at the wellspring of sin.  Don't fall in.

Perhaps a safer place to come to a knowledge of good and evil is in the shadow of a tree--you know the one--far from Eden and far from Tyre, where he himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness (3).

It all crystallizes and clarifies there, where things are seen for what they are:

Pride seeks to take God's place in heaven, and winds up in hell.
Love seeks to take your place on a cross, so that you'll wind up in heaven.

(1) excerpted from Ezekiel 28:1-19; (2) Isaiah 14:12-14; (3) 1 Peter 2:24

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