Gen 4:3-15 Cain murdered his brother Abel in jealous anger, and despised the goodness and grace of God
Gen 21:5-10 the son of the bondwoman scoffed (ציחק ) at the son of the free woman
Gal 4:28-29 he that is born after the flesh persecutes him born after the Spirit, according to promise
Gen 25:29-34 Esau despised and sold his birthright to Jacob
Gen 27:32-41 Esau wept, but without repentance, and determined to kill his brother
1Sam 18:1-9 Saul was very angry, displeased, and began to eye David from that day forward
Est 3:5-6; 5:12-13 Haman despised the integrity of Mordechai, and the gracious honor bestowed upon him
Mt 21:33-46 the natural heirs reject and kill the choice of God, who takes the Kingdom of God from them and gives it to another nation bearing the fruits of it
Heb 12:5-17 root of bitterness springing up, causing trouble, defiling many
Last week I spoke about the necessity of our examining the thoughts and intentions of our hearts by the truth of God’s Word. Our hearts can deceive us, even as believers with a new heart and a new spirit given by YHVH. It is only the truth of God concerning both heavenly and earthly things which can keep our hearts in sync with our Father in Heaven, and even then we find it difficult and sometimes have to be rebuked and corrected and instructed in righteousness.
What prevents some people from maturing spiritually? The Holy Spirit warns us in Heb 12:14-17 that a root of bitterness is a chief cause of trouble, both to oneself and to the defilement of many otherwise innocent people. The root of bitterness is the opposite of the commandment and challenge of the Lord Jesus to those who would be His disciples: Instead of loving the LORD our God above all – and by comparison hating those nearest and dearest to us, even our own soul (Lk 14:26) – bitterness springs forth from the ground of love of self first of all – and in reality hating others, including the sovereign LORD God Himself, who has determined and revealed all these things. (Lk 11:54; Jn 3:20; 15:23; Ps 69:4)
Those who live godly in Messiah Yeshua will suffer persecution. Darkness does not comprehend the light. Grace is more powerful than law – in fact, law is incapable to produce righteousness and its fruit. Self-pity and bitterness can not accept God’s unmerited sovereign favor towards others where it affects our own ego and our natural sense of privilege and status.
The historical record in the Bible was given for our instruction in these last days. What we have read regarding Ishmael and Isaac, Esau and Jacob – and of the Arab and Israeli nations proceeding from them—applies also, as we read, to the Jewish people and Gentile Christians, to Israel and the Church. Indeed the Word of God here is clear that it applies to all which is born of flesh – carnal, natural – towards that which is born of the Spirit – spiritual, chosen, and promised by God according to His grace.
In all these episodes from both the Old and New Covenants, those who thought that the inheritance and blessing and kingdom were theirs by right – by legality – found that it is God’s sovereign wisdom and grace which bring peace, joy, holiness.
Brothers and sisters, we will never mature spiritually if we are harboring unforgiveness or jealousy towards another – ESPECIALLY – when the other person or nation is firstly the chosen recipients of God’s grace, apart from any works or righteousness of their own which earned them His favor. If we allow this bitterness to take root in our HEART – if we do not bring our initial reaction and disappointment under the rod of God’s discipline – then we will cause many others to act in such a way as to defile themselves by our own sense of injustice, insisting that they defend us against what we deem unfair. And those who side with us in our bitterness will justify their own misconduct and expect even more compensation in the course of time (Gen 4:24). We will dishonor God as we take the side of the ‘victim’. The truth lies in our own unrepentance from our rebellion against the sovereign ways of God.
God is love, and everything that He does is righteous. Bitterness takes the smile off the face, the joy out of life, the hope out of precious promises. Bitterness will cause us to stop doing good for its own sake, and will ‘rub off’ and defile many others. It is unholy, unloving, unclean, ungodly. If we have reasons for bitterness – and there can be many – the cross we are called to bear daily requires us to overcome it, repent of that sin which is in us to make us bitter, and to seek to understand better the thoughts and ways of our God and Savior. Esau could not give it up, and his end is total failure and loss. (Mal 1:1-4) Job could have become bitter, but he did not, and God blessed him with not only double what he had previously, but also to know God in a way he had only heard about before. He was blessed by trusting God more than his own emotions and hurts. The end of learning the grace of God is everlasting joy in the presence of the Lord. May we all be overcomers by His power and grace, and to His glory.
1Pet 1:22 – 2:3 Our souls are purified through obedience to the truth, the Word of the LORD.