Encouragement for 2019
Timshel – Genesis 4:3-7
For 14 years now, I have read the bible cover-to-cover. When I read the account of Cain and Able, I always thought that God was castigating Cain because his offering paled in comparison to Able’s; sort of like saying, “Able’s offering is the gold standard and you should be more like Able”. If this assumption was correct, then God would be complicit in Able’s murder because of the mere appearance of favoritism. The Bible, as good as it is, does not fill in all of the pieces in a single verse add to the mix the issues of translating one language to another sometimes yields to misunderstandings; this requires the reader to do some research to find out exactly what was really said and what was the intended meaning (Acts 17:11). In verse 7 the King James version says, “Thou Shalt overcome” which sounds more like a command “put on your big-boy panties Cain and get over it”. in the original language, though, the term is “Timshel” which means “thou mayest” which, changes the scope of the statement to sound more like, “You have the choice, let it consume you or let this situation grow you. “Thou Shalt” is a moral imperative; the implication is that, “if I am a member of ______ then I must obey the laws of _____. “Timshel” leaves the listener with a choice in how he/she will respond to a situation. In Cain’s case, he had two choices, “get angry about the perceived unfairness and let the situation consume him” leading to murder and self-destruction or, “Check his heart to see if he really gave God his very best”. if Cain could say in his heart, “I gave it my best” then his conscience would be clear, the Devil would have no inroad to control him (Romans 5:1-11).
It must be understood that it is not wrong to be upset about a perceived unfairness. What is wrong, is to accept any given situation at face value without one time checking our facts in the light of truth; this requires checking our heart, re-evaluating what we heard, and consider our contribution to the problem. Self-destruction and sin are rampant in our world today because, mankind more often than not, will take the easy way out by blaming someone else for his/her misfortune. In every family from the first family to present day, bad things have happened, hearts have been broken, feelings have been hurt, and moral failure has occurred; there is no generation that can proudly say, “we were morally upright”; each generation had its skeletons. The question to ask our self is, “how will I respond to ______”? Will I be just another tragedy or be the one to end the cycle destruction? My encouragement for you today is, consider the word “timshel” when you are at the crossroads between right and wrong. Remember this, the Devil is very crafty and has the innate ability to twist words in order to get us to do his bidding under the guise of “a concerned friend”. Because of Jesus’ sacrifice, we need no longer continue in the cycle of abuse. If you would like to get a better picture of this verse, I would encourage you to read “East of Eden” by John Steinbeck as it brings this verse to life in a way only a novelist can do.
16 “For God so [greatly] loved and dearly prized the world, that He [even] gave His[One and] [a]only begotten Son, so that whoever believes and trusts in Him [as Savior] shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send the Son into the world to judge and condemn the world [that is, to initiate the final judgment of the world], but that the world might be saved through Him. (John 3:16-17 Amp)
Your love for us transcends time itself. It would be very nice if all we ever knew was “love but, in this world, we also have “hate” to deal with. It would also be nice if everything we brought to you, you showered us with gratitude and praise; yet, there is a danger in that because we would never strive to do better or ever seek to sharpen our skills for the next offering. When you reject an offering, it is not because you dislike the giver rather, because we did not do our very best or not what we were called to do. Watch over my family and families today. Be with those who are suffering, in trouble, and/or need a special touch from you. Timshel is the word.