Isn't it amazing what we can learn from the world of animals; or nature in general, for that matter?
As I meandered through the Book of Jude recently, I was struck by these three things:
- The Error of Balaam
- The Way of Cain
- The Rebellion of Korah
Mind you, these are not atheists and agnostics we're advised to be alert to. They're not your neighbor who's never graced a church, or your Uncle Mortimer who's got legitimate questions about the claims of Christianity. These are those numbered among us - - true believers (or supposed true believers).
Not only does Jude (verses 3-16) caution us about these, but so does Peter, and even John in the Book of Revelation. We are told how to spot them; and to beware of the harm (can anyone say chaos & confusion?) they cause. It would seem prudent, then, to have a better understanding of their character, or lack thereof.
So I've been on a mission, and I must say, it's been a rather enlightening one!
I wonder ... do we recognize any/all of them?
Balaam's error boils down to obedience to God, but... It’s saying, “Yes Lord, I’ll obey You, but ______(fill in the blank)". A true prophet, Balaam was overcome with worldliness. Thus he got his assignment so very wrong and, in essence, said what God told him to say, but didn't do what God told him to do. What a shining example of doing our best to satisfy God while simultaneously profiting personally and/or pleasing men.
Even Balaam's jackass knew better than his master!
As for the way of Cain, he consciously chose a way different than the one God had shown him. Although he knew what was right, he hadn’t done it. He shows us exactly how to justify just about anything, and why one's own interpretation can trump the word of God.
The jackass probably would have layed down beneath Cain too!
When it comes to Korah's rebellion, I get hiccups. I mean, who in their right mind would delight in being swallowed up by the earth?! Here we see witness pride & ambition colliding with God's authority. It is in stark contrast to the humble heart that would seek to know & obey God's word & ways about man's. We have no difficulty seeing how these might craft all sorts of aberrant or unsound doctrines in opposition to that which is sound.
Balaam ... Cain ... Korah ... These all ASSumed they knew best. The jackass appears to be the only thing unscathed, except - that is - for the beating he took for resisting Balaam's perverse diversion from God's expressed plan.