Summary: Part 2 of 8 in a series covering words in the Bible that are all too often overlooked or ignored.
INTRODUCTION: So what is the “saddest” word in the Bible? We mentioned it last week, so I guess we could call this a “test.” If we were to ask, again the answers would be as diverse as the people answering the question. Some would say death, fear, hate, or even lost… but the saddest word in the Bible is “sin,” and in it are all the previous ideas mentioned. So sad and so powerful is the word that it nailed Jesus to the cross! Sin is the mother of all sorrows, and is as universal as human existence… if you’re alive; it has impacted your life, even if you don’t realize it. It marred our existence and relationship with God to such an extent that He is the only one who can bridge the gap.
BACKGROUND: We see this image in our first parents, Adam and Eve, way back at the beginning of human history. When our first parents ate the forbidden fruit, God told them they were going to die. Theologically, we understand, like our first parents did, that when you sin you don’t literally drop dead. Sin, as a kind of darkness, slowly eats away at you, and eventually there will be real consequences, culminating in death. James, the “in your face” Apostle puts it this way (James 1:15) our course is to consider the sadness of sin, not by abstract reasoning, but by examination of the lives of men and women in scripture.
THE “FIRST” MURDER
• The Bible is the perfect and eternal mirror of the human heart, and we can be assured that what it did to the lives of men and women in the bible, it does to us today
• What was true in Eden, is true here in Lane – so we go back to the beginning, to the book of beginnings, Genesis – and the “first” murder (Genesis 4:6-8)
• This is not the first appearance of sin in the bible, but it is the first mention of it, and the first instance of its fruit bearing out to completion – “death”
• Now there was something wrong with Cain long before he brought to God what would be a rejected offering, in fact the issue at hand wasn’t the offering, it was the heart of the one giving it
• His problem were the sins of “envy” and “hatred” – and God warns him about it (vs. 7-8) but Cain doesn’t and it manifests itself further – and for the first time the ground was stained by the blood of the innocence
• Here at the very beginning of man’s history we have a powerful demonstration of the sorrow and havoc that sin can bring down on family relationships – but death doesn’t have to occur for a murder to take place; consider the words of the Apostle John (1st John 3:15)
• Sin killed Cain – The hardest part about how sin kills you is that it often doesn’t¯yet. But it will!
• You can never cheat death, but too often the lying, cheating, anger, callousness, lack of compassion and hate we often hold inside us have immediate benefits for us, without enough consequences to deter us from falling into these patterns again and again.
• So these isolated sins end up forming into habits, and then into part of our being, and we keep sinning until it either gets bad enough that something stops us or we repent and begin the long journey toward reconciliation with both God and our brothers and sisters in humanity.
• This saddest of all words not only effects our family, but it reaches out to those around us
THE “FIRST” KING
• There is always something likeable and appealing about Saul, and in many respects he was a “great” man, literally standing head and shoulders above the other men in Israel.
• But those qualities were more than just physical, for in him we find, courage, patriotism, humility, and sincere care and affection for others – very “kingly” attributes (1st Samuel 9)
• Then pride, disobedience, and reliance upon himself instead of God showed themselves in his life, to the point that he is rejected by God, and another (David) is appointed to his place
• Life comes crashing down around him, and he turns from sin-to-sin, looking for some reprieve
• In one of the most intriguing experiences in the Bible we see Saul seeking out the witch of Endor, to summon the departed Samuel (1st Samuel 28:15-19) then a surprising thing happens, Samuel actually shows up! But what he says isn’t what Saul was looking for…
• Here at the very beginning of national Israel’s history we have a powerful demonstration of the sorrow and havoc that sin can bring down on community relationships. Not only did Saul suffer but all Israel with him