God loves all people equally but not all people love him back in the same way. The Bible is filled with stories
about individuals who sought to go it alone without God’s guidance. We might sometimes wonder why sinful people and their behavior is included in Scripture. But I think their stories are told to warn us about our own sinfulness and to remind us that God is in the business of redemption. Here are five people characters who serve as warnings to us to guard our spirits.
Cain – Cain killed his brother Abel but the real problem was a matter of his heart. God didn’t accept his offering and Cain was offended by God’s high standards. He wanted to worship God any way he saw fit. He sulked for a while and then took his revenge on Abel. At times it is hard to understand God’s holiness but we should be careful to not take offense, God wants to help us but it requires that we yield to his ways.
Absalom – As the son of the greatest Israelite King ever, Absalom had a privileged position. But he wasn’t happy with that. He wanted the top spot and he wanted it now. Absalom lead a rebellion against his father David that ended with Absalom on the run and hanging from a tree. Impatience and self-centeredness are dangerous qualities. Whenever we seek to put God on our schedule we run the risk of moving on without him.
Michal – King David had a heart after God but not everyone in his family felt the same way. When he brought the Ark of the Covenant back to Jerusalem David was so overjoyed that he danced before God and all the people. His wife, Michal, watched from a distance and was appalled at this ‘unkingly’ like behavior. She judged the worship of someone else who was right to express before God his passion and joy. Her narrow and judgmental spirit left no room for her to know and experience the presence of God for herself.
Simon – He was a well-known man of tricks in Samaria and when we saw the ministry of the apostles he wanted in on the action. Although he heard the message of Jesus and believed, he was overtaken by a need for self-promotion and greed. He wanted to buy the ability to baptize people in the Holy Spirit, totally misunderstanding how God works. He loved a good show and the supernatural but only sought it for his own advantage and not for the benefits of others.
The Smith Brothers – Okay so these guys aren’t actually brothers but they shared a common spirit. Alexander the Coppersmith (2 Tim. 4:14) and Demetrius the Silversmith (Acts 19) both lead opposition to the gospel and the work of Jesus. There are people that just seem to like to stir up trouble for no other reason than watching it happen. Paul tells us in Galatians that strife is a work of the flesh and there is no place for it in Christian fellowship. We are to bring peace and reconciliation, not division.
Jealousy, impatience, a judgmental spirit, self-promotion and strife – we see it all in the Bible and we see it all today. We sometimes even see it in churches and among believers. We shouldn’t be surprised when Christians demonstrate these sinful behaviors but it should prompt us to examine our own spirits and ensure that we are producing good fruit.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22, 23