Dr. Ed Young - Jealousy
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Perhaps you will remember a few years ago a report in the Houston Chronicle, how there was a spot left on a cheerleading team, and two young girls were competing for that one spot. Both of them were 13. The mother of one of the young girls felt like her daughter may lose the competition and not be selected as cheerleader; so she said, "My daughter must be cheerleader. She has to be a cheerleader"! And so she goes out and hires a hit man... ya'll remember the story? Yeah, yeah... Hires a hit man to kill the mother and daughter of the competing 13-year old-kill the mom and the daughter. She said, "Surely then, my girl will get the spot". But the hit man's price was too high for a double killing, so she decided that just to kill the mother would be enough, because her 13-year old would be so grieved that she would not be able to try out for cheerleader.
And a price was determined, $2,500.00. That's how much a life was worth. That's how much she was willing to pay to make sure her 13-year old daughter was selected a cheerleader! Give me a "K"! Give me an "I"! Give me an "L"! Give me an "L"! What kind of culture, society, world do we live in? What was the problem? Jealousy. Jealousy... A deadly sin that most of us cover up, spin away from, do not realize, subdue, and just really don't deal with it, and rarely if ever confess, "O' Lord, forgive me of my jealousy". Qana is the Hebrew word for it. It means "to be red; to be bright red. To be jealous".
We've heard of the green-eyed monster? It really should be the red-eyed monster. Jealous. Jealousy. It's a deadly, deadly, deadly word. I like the last part of the word, tells us, really the definition, "lous". Needs an "e", but "lous". Jealous. People who are jealous are louses. What's a louse? I looked it up in the dictionary. I thought it was just some people that I knew... But a louse is a parasite, insect, and there's a whole list of different kind of louse, or louses. Heh, heh. I don't know which one's right. A whole list of them. Literally, it, it's amazing. All different kind of louse. One, there's a gnawing louse-a louse that just gnaws on you. And then there's another kind of louse that's a biting louse. They just bite you. There's another kind of louse that just sucks the blood out of you, and I said that's a good part of jealousy, isn't it?
You know sometimes jealous people, they just gnaw on you, and sometimes they just bite you, and sometimes they just keep sucking the blood out of you. What is jealousy? Jealousy begins where your salary ends. Jealousy begins where your talents end. Uh, let me say this: Anybody who enjoys hearing their predecessor, or their successor, or their competitor praised, did you get that? If you enjoy hearing those people praised, you are Phi Beta Kappa on sanctification! You already have your wings. You can just fly right on up today. It doesn't make any difference... because we are a jealous people. We gnaw; we cut down. We bite. We suck.
Some people may be jealous of us; we may be jealous of others, and we want to bring them down. Instead of counting our blessings, we count their blessings and we're jealous. Oh yeah, we're jealous! Now all of us, we sort of know if you've even been to church a little bit that you know, Cain, the older brother, killed the younger brother, Abel. We sort of know that, and we use the expression, "I'm going to go out and raise Cain"! Right? We know that. "Let's go raise some Cain"! That means we're gonna get in trouble. We're gonna really get out of bounds! We, we're gonna raise Cain. There is where it comes from, right there. In our Scripture, you remember, Adam and Eve ate the fruit that God said you can have and do anything and everything you ever want to do, but that one thing; they ate the fruit. And then they felt guilty, and they said, "We're naked. God's gonna come to see us, and we're naked".
A long time, maybe thousands of years, we don't know, they had been naked and they didn't notice it because... but when you sin and when I sin, and when we rebel against God and we're disobedient to God, everybody feels vulnerable; everybody feels naked. That's just a part of the givenness of who we are as we're made in the image of God. When we mar that image, that likeness of God in us in our souls; that's when we feel vulnerable and naked. So Adam and Eve said, "We've got to do something. We've got to cover ourselves..." So they went and got fig leaves, and they made fig leaves and covered themselves with fig leaves.
You see, we still put on fig leaves. Fig leaves are saying, "I'm going to work out my own deal with God. I'm gonna cover my own sin. I'm gonna try harder; I'm gonna get better; I'm gonna do more good than I do evil. I'm going to be a fig leaf person"! And God said, "Oh no, it doesn't work like that. There has to be the shedding of innocent blood..." and the idea of substitution is built right in the beginning of the history of humanity. For sin, there must be a perfect substitute. There has to be shed blood. "Well why is God so bloody like this"? He wants us to understand the deadliness of sin.
Now, we come to Chapter 3. And we read in Chapter 3 that Adam and Eve knew each other. "To know" in this sense is intimacy. They had physical relations with one another, and the interesting Verse there that says, "Eve says, 'I have brought forth an Ish". Only time the Hebrew word is mentioned in the Bible-Ish. "I have brought for a man". And then she adds... see the Verse there, beginning of Chapter 4? She said, "And God helped too". Heh, heh! Isn't that great? She thought she had brought forth the Divine promised Son of God who would destroy, destroy the head of Satan, and they could go back in the Garden of Paradise. They could not forget being thrown out. See?
"I have born Ish, man, with the help of God"! Little ego there, huh? Eve still had that ego. You know, "I've done this; I've brought forth divinity myself now, and, with a little help of God". And then, I want you to see jealousy, how it comes into play. I want you to see jealousy contrasted. Hope you're Bibles are with you, Chapter Number 4, New American Standard: So it came about that in the course of time that Cain brought an offering to the Lord of the, of the fruit of the ground. Cain was the first farmer. Abel was the first shepherd. Eve was the first one to give natural birth. This is the first murder; this is the first cover-up of murder. You've got a lot of firsts there.
This is the first family, a lot of firsts all the way through this 4th Chapter. And now we see the vocation of Cain. He's a farmer. And Abel, on his part, also brought the firstling of his flock and their fat portions. Abel was a shepherd. We have the first farmer and the first shepherd. Now, no problem here, is it? These two boys brought up in the same family; Cain was the eldest son, the first-born; Abel was a younger brother, same mom, same dad, same food, same background, same training, different vocations. Boy, they're all moving along together. You mean you, you can't tell the difference in Cain and Abel? You just can't do it. And now, they go to church. Abel, on his part, Verse 4, also brought the firstlings of his flock and their fat portions.
So, get it. Cain, farmer, brought all of his fruit and vegetables. Man, there were apples, and pears, and pomegranates, you know; there were some turnip greens... I like turnip greens! I'm sure he brought some turnip greens... and some... he brought all these beautiful vegetables, and he took them to the altar of the Lord, and he presented it as a sacrifice. And then Abel went out there and took a lamb; you know, clear, innocent eyes. And he took out his knife and remorsefully, he slit the throat of the lamb with the blood came out, and he took the lamb with tears and brokenness, and he brought... that was his sacrifice that he brought to the altar to worship. Anybody have any problem with that? I mean, they both went. They both believed in God. But one we'll discover engaged in a belief in God, but a false worship; and the other believed in God and celebrated a genuine worship, and we're going to see the contrast of jealousy here.
Cain was jealous of God; Abel was jealous for God. What a difference! Cain, jealous of God, was just like his mom and dad. They were jealous of God; they wanted to be God. They didn't want God to control them. That's the reason they ate the pear! You thought it was an apple, didn't you? The Bible really doesn't tell us. That's the reason they ate the fruit, see? That's the reason they did it. I want to be like God; I want to have everything God has. I don't want to be sub-servant to anybody. I want to come to God; I want to run my own, lone life. I want to be in charge! They were jealous of God. And now, here we have Cain, and you have to look carefully at the Scripture, the order of Scripture. It says, "Cain's offering, God did not respect Cain, and God did not respect his offering".
Pweew! Didn't accept Cain; didn't accept his offering. Didn't accept Cain because his heart wasn't right; didn't accept the offering because the way we get to God is through shed blood, and there's no other way ever been provided. You say, "Well, he didn't know! How did they know? I mean, Abel brought the lamb and the blood sacrifice, and, and Cain brought this beautiful display of vegetables before the Lord, and fruit, and they didn't know..." You can be sure they knew! How can we be sure? They were brought up in the house of Adam and Eve. Where was the altar, by the way? I think the altar was as close to the Garden of Eden as they could get. I think there was a cherubim with the fire, keeping anyone from going back into Paradise. They could see the Tree of Life and their mom and dad had been there many times in worship, and they said, "This is how you worship. I wear the lambskin that covered my sin, and we give blood sacrifices..."
They got as close to God as they could. They couldn't go back in the Garden, but they got as close as they could when they went to worship. Those boys were taught that from their very birth, and now, Cain comes and says, "Look at what I have done! Look at all the fruit I have made"! Trying to go to God on his own terms. We're like that. Hear people say, "You know, I've worked out my own deal with God. I told God, you know, I'm gonna worship like this, and I'm gonna do like that, and God said, 'It's okay...' and I felt that was fine with Him, and I've..." Hello! What kind of convoluted, twisted thinking do we get caught up in? We go to God and worship on His terms! Not on ours.
"Look at all the fruit I've grown here, God. I'm giving You this..." Oh no... And God didn't accept Cain; didn't accept his offering, but God accepted, He respected, it says in the translation. He respected Abel and respected his offering because Abel came with a broken heart, with tears of confession, his sin, and Cain came with pride and saying, "Look what I'm doing for You, Lord..." And then we see the confrontation. We see what happens here. This is jealousy that is challenged. Then the Lord said to Cain, "Why are you angry? And why is your countenance fallen? If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not well, sin is crouching at the door and its desire is for you, but you must master it".
This is jealousy confronted. Here is Cain with his jealousy, and look how he responds. He responded emotionally. Do you see it there, the later part of that Verse? He said he was angry, and his countenance fell. He was depressed. When the offering was given by Abel, God smiled and accepted Abel and accepted his blood offering. When the offering was brought by Cain, God frowned and rejected Cain and his offering. He came on his terms, not on God's terms. But look as God responded to Cain; he confronted him rationally, see? God confronts us rationally. If you hear somebody trying to deal with a problem in your life that's got spookville, and mysticism, and Gnosticism, and looneyness attached to it-man! God deals with us rationally as He, as He speaks to us historically. See?
So look how God deals very rationally with Cain. It's just so obvious what He does. He said, He said, "Wait a minute, Cain"! He said, when the Lord said to Cain, this is Verse 6: "Why are you angry"? Huh... "And why has your countenance fallen"? Is that logical? He's saying, "Cain, what's your motive? Why is your countenance down"? It's because God's countenance was down. He wouldn't receive his offering and his sacrifice-yes. "Why are you angry"? Remember the word for jealous-red, angry? Red faced? That's it. God says, "Look at your motives, Cain"!
That's what He says to you and I. We are rumbling along there with jealousy, or whatever besetting sin and we get angry. "Why are you angry"? "Man, I'm depressed"! "Why are you depressed? What's wrong"? He's saying, "Cain, can't you figure it out? Could it be, Cain, that you didn't worship Me properly as you'd been taught all the days of your life? Did you miss that, Cain, somehow? Did you not understand that, Cain"? And then He comes with a tremendous little Verse here. "If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up"? Sure, if you repent. You worship properly-bang! Your countenance is lifted up. Then he says, "Oh, but if-heh-if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door in its desire for you, but you must master it".
In other words, if you do well, your countenance will be lifted up, Cain. If you do not do well, sin, a lion is crouching at the door and you'll be eaten up. You'll either be eaten up by jealousy, or you'll be lifted up as you go and worship the right way. Eaten up, or lifted up, Cain. That's the choice God say... Very rational, is it not? And then I want you to see jealousy covered, jealousy covered up! Boy, this, this is really something. Then the Lord said to Cain, Verse 9, "Where is your brother, Abel"? Another question. And he said, "I do not know". Lie! "Am I my brother's keeper"?
By the way, are you your brother's keeper? You absolutely are! I am. You can sit on the bench and say, "Oh, go get 'em! Do something about it... But somewhere, you gotta take your coat off and get down there and be a brother and be a sister. That's what we have to do. And that's what is happening here. That's what is not happening here. Look how this progresses on. It even gets richer and better. The voice of your brother's blood is crying to Me" says the Lord. Now you are cursed with the ground which has opened its mouth to receive your brother's blood from your hand. Who had been cursed before? Satan the snake-only one who'd been cursed. Now Cain is cursed.
Would you cultivate the ground that no longer will yield its strength to you? You will be a vagrant, penniless, no resources. You'll be a wanderer-no home, no place to go-in the world. Cain said to the Lord... Boy, God is still...He didn't take Cain out. He's a murderer. Look what he's done. But then Cain's gonna respond. You'll say, "Cain, maybe you'll respond". "I know I missed it. I know how to worship. I, let me confess. A blood sacrifice. I brought, I tried to go to You in my own turf..." but how does Cain respond? Cain said to the Lord, "My punishment is too great to bear! Behold, You have driven me this day from the face of the ground and from Your face".
Did God drive Cain from His face? No, no, no. It was Cain who saw the frown of God because he did not offer the sacrifice and confess his sin, see? He, he's turning it back on God. He said, "Your face will be hidden, and I will be a vagrant and wanderer on the earth. Whoever finds me will kill me". There is five personal pronouns in two Verses. It's hard to do that, isn't it? It's hard to be so wrapped up in yourself. I, I, me, me, I...me, I, I, me, me. That's Cain! That's the religion of the fig leaf. That's "I'm gonna do my own works. I'm gonna impress God. I'm gonna be good enough to get to Heaven! I don't need a substitute. I don't need God's terms". That's fig leaf stuff. That's not lambskin stuff.
So the Lord said to Cain, "Therefore, whoever kills Cain, vengeance will be taken on him" and the Lord appointed a sign for Cain so that no one finding him would slay him. And Cain went out from the presence of the Lord. One of the saddest Verses in Scripture. Then Cain went out from the presence of the Lord and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden. Now, what do you do about jealousy in your life and my life? That's easy! What do you do in an emergency? What do you do in an emergency? Somebody tell me. It's an emergency! What's the first thing you do? 911! Let's do it! Psalm 91, Verse 1. Boy, here we go! "He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty".
What's he saying? To dwell with the Most High, and to abide in the shadow of the Almighty, you have to be a worshipper. You can't live in God's house; you can't abide with God unless you're a worshipper. And we worship when we confess our sin. We worship when we turn away from our sin. We worship when we know that God in Jesus Christ has substituted for you and me on that Cross for our sin. We have to be a worshipper. That's what we learned in 911. And then once we become a worshipper, we need to go to 911 again. Go back to Psalm, Chapter Number 9, Verse 11. 911. Now we are worshippers, look what happens to us individually and as a nation of people.
I want you, as I read these Verses, you to quote these Verses after me. Are you ready? "Sing praises to the Lord, Who Dwells In Zion", everybody! "Declare among the peoples His deeds, For He who requires blood remembers them. He does not forget the cry of the afflicted. Be gracious to me, O' Lord. See my affliction from those who hate me. You who lift me up from the gates of death, May I tell of all your praises, that in the gates of the daughter of Zion, I may rejoice in Your salvation". Call 911! Psalm 91:1 calls us to worship in the shadow of the Almighty, and once we do that, call 911 again, Chapter 9, Verse 11 and look how God takes and liberates us and sets us free! Did you get it? You got it? By God's grace and power, help us to become worshippers.