Choices Part 3
The High Places
By Rayola Kelley
We have been considering choices. We automatically make decisions about matters that reveal our choices, which in turn will always expose our preferences, likewise revealing what we value. We don’t think about considering what we value in order to trace our preferences back to our choices that will ultimately determine our decisions.
Since we are in a fallen condition, we can easily deceive ourselves about what is right and wrong. For the most part our way seems clouded with shades of grey confusing the lines of right and wrong, allowing us to adjust and re-align reality to our idea of what is right. The truth is, our path is clouded because of our perception and our choices. Our perception comes from a limited premise that never lets us fully see beyond the terrain of our restricted understanding and our overrated imagination; and, our choices are what often set us up to find ourselves walking in an unrealistic reality.
We can dress up any wrong with justification, our compromises with excuses, and our questionable actions with logic, but right remains right and wrong continues to be wrong. However, our choices must find the right environment in which to take root. For the last couple of months, we have looked at the delusion and traps of choices, and now we are going to consider the ground in which they will germinate, revealing either their seduction and destruction, or choices that result in wisdom and life. This simple truth is brought out in Deuteronomy 30:19, “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live.”
It is clear our choices will either produce life or death in the end. There are three witnesses in heaven and three witnesses on earth that will bear record as to our decisions. The witnesses in heaven are the Father, the Word (Jesus), and the Spirit of truth. The witnesses on earth are the Spirit, the water (Word) and the blood of Jesus (1 John 5:7-8). There are books in which deeds are being recorded and the book of life wherein are written the names of those who received the gift of life, ensuring believers that they will avoid tasting the ultimate wrath of God (Revelation 20:12-15).
We already know there are four types of soil that represent the heart condition (Matthew 13:3-9,18-23). We know that all decisions are weighed in the courtroom of our minds, but they are given audience in our heart. The hard heart has been hardened by the wrong decisions. The stony heart has been left fallow by selfish choices, and the worldly heart chokes out spiritual truths and inspiration, leaving one in a state of complacency. There is only one right heart condition and that is a heart that is clearly prepared to be plowed up by the sharp blades of the truth of God’s Word to receive the seed of the Gospel with genuine faith, and then cultivated by the Living Waters of the Spirit to bring forth fruit.
This brings us back to the ground where wrong choices may germinate. Wrong choices will produce nothing more than worthless tares. These tares will stand as tall weeds in the corrupt patches of arrogance as the wheat bows its head in submission to let go of its fruit to feed souls. The tares may stand out, but it is not because of their presentation, but because they are scheduled for judgment.
We see those who stand on the high places of arrogance touting their importance, knowing they will be cut down in due time and brought to nothing as the winds of judgment scatter their empty lives and hollow claims to the four corners of the earth. This brings us to the reality of high places when it comes to choices.
We can see people making these choices in Scripture. Consider Lamech in Genesis 4:23-24. He had two wives and he confessed to them that he had killed a man for wounding him and a young man for hurting him; and, if Cain would be avenged sevenfold, then he would be avenged 70 and sevenfold. Lamech knew his actions were wrong, but he must have perceived the two offenses directed at him warranted him killing two men. We do not know in what way or to what extent he was wounded and how he was hurt. It could have been physical or, like Cain, an insult against his own pride or both. However, he acknowledged that if such judgment came down on Cain, no doubt a double portion would come down on him, which implies killing these two men was really not warranted.
Some perceive Lamech’s presentation of his situation as a point of pride, flaunting a couple of sad incidents to his two wives. Perhaps the reason they see it as a type of touting is because his name means “powerful” and there is no repentance that follows. Like Cain, he avoided turning to the Lord in brokenness over taking two lives.
The question is why was this incident recorded, unless to give us an insight into the digression of man. The higher man thinks of himself and his actions, the greater the depravity man slides into. Paul’s warning in 1 Corinthians 10:11 is, “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.”
We see this moral digression in our own culture. The push for political correctness is a means to classify every moral truth and standing as being hateful in order to silence righteousness. It is to create a great darkness on the souls of man while ushering in perversion against everything just, moral, and right. It creates such a powerful delusion that many who fight against moral uprightness being upheld as the true standard, actually think they are doing the will of God.
I also noted something else about Lamech: he confessed his actions to his two wives. I asked myself why. Did he dare confess it to any other person in fear of these two-murdered men’s family members seeking revenge on him? Many times, such wicked acts are done in darkness because the culprit is trying to avoid the consequences of man but sadly, they do not fear God. It is hard to say, but I have learned that the reason for those who swing in the heights of some type of personal self-exaltation is that they are often found to be cowards, and that their reality about something is very fragile and can fall apart when the truth penetrates the darkness of their situation.
The other aspect of Lamech is that he had no problem identifying with Cain, a murderer. There was no shame that he disregarded life and no indication that he even cared. However, even in the darkness of depravity, light shines. The Word tells us that Eve believed God concerning raising up her seed that would result in deliverance, and since Cain had murdered his righteous brother, Abel, Seth was born.
There is always a small thread of hope that runs through history even during the worst of times and when Seth’s son Enos was born men began to call upon the name of the LORD (Genesis 4:25-26). To me this statement is quite telling. Abel offered the right sacrifice, but his brother tried to wipe out his testimony; however, his blood cried out from the ground, establishing a witness (Hebrews 11:4).
There seemed to be a real spiritual lull as Cain built his own city and his descendants became advanced in their crafts, but the personal testimony that came out of it was Lamech’s killing two men (Genesis 4:20-22). The meaning of Enos’ name, which means “mortal man,” might give us insight into the reality that man was coming face-to-face with the ineptness and frailties of his mortality as death became more of a reality. In spite of the downward slide of humanity, the lineage of the Messiah was being established and for some reason men chose to call upon the Lord.
People usually don’t call upon the Lord unless there is some great need, desperation, or oppression going on which they need to be saved from. Man has a habit of becoming comfortable as the cesspool around him begins to grow and take hold of souls. It is only as he is about to drown in it that he may wake up to what is happening. There is nothing more oppressive than tyranny reigning without boundaries and consequences; nothing more desperate than man being void of any real, lasting purpose; and nothing more hopeless than a deep need growing and gnawing on a man’s soul that there is something greater to obtain than the nothingness of what is considered acceptable, and the norm of a doomed world.
We really don’t know what was going on during this time, but we can surmise that man was truly on a moral downhill slide without much challenge or distinction until a man named Enoch entered the scene in Genesis 3:21-24. There are only four Scriptures about this man in Genesis, but they reveal much about him. His name means “dedicated,” and he lived 365 years. What was noted the most about him was his character, he walked with God and one day he was not, for God took him. Hebrews 11:5 tells us that Enoch had left a testimony behind, and it was that he pleased God. Hebrews 11:6 goes on to say that without faith one cannot please God. Jude 14-15 gives us this insight about Enoch as a prophet, “And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”
Enoch not did not see death, and he prophesized about the future glory yet to come. He had such a walk with God that he walked into glory. It is clear in his day that Enoch made the right choice and as a result became a prophet and an example of what it means to please God for us to consider. His example to us reveals that in spite of the day in which he lived, he still chose the way of faith towards God, and as a result experienced His grace in fellowship, while learning how to walk in His presence in order to walk into His glory. Keep in mind, we are ever being prepared to enter into the Lord’s glory, but it requires faith.
We are always given a contrast as to the two main choices of the light of life and the darkness of death that are available to us. Some examples may not be distinct, but there is a witness as to the ways of righteousness. There is the choice of darkness where cowards hide underneath a cloak to cover the shame associated with their wicked deeds and evil ways. Jesus even made reference to this preference of darkness in John 3:19-21 that man loves darkness and hates the light because his deeds are evil and he does not want them to come to the light where they will be reproved. However, those who walk in the light, want their works exposed to bring glory to the Lord and unacceptable deeds reproved so they can walk in the ways of righteousness (Matthew 5:14-16; Ephesians 5:1-13).
This brings us to the product of unabated arrogance. Genesis 6:5 describes it, “And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” Arrogance lifts man up to intellectual heights where his imagination has no boundaries, no disciplines, and no moral compass. From these heights, man can consider the possibilities of reaching the loftiness of his lust to find the ultimate satisfaction, exploring the depths of great depravity to get his way, and jumping over huge chasms of corruption to subdue all that would dare oppose him.
The man Noah lived in such a day. It is said that the earth was corrupt before God and filled with violence. In other words, man chose to walk in the way of corruption and violence to cater to his pride, feed his insatiable lusts, and tenaciously pursue whatever he desired. In his mind there were no great heights he couldn’t scale if he put his mind to it, no great depth he couldn’t maneuver for his advantage, and no desire could be denied him if he wanted to pursue it bad enough.
However, this one man in a depraved world spinning morally out of control, chose to be a just man in the midst of great depravity, and as a result he was considered perfect (pure, undefiled) in his generation, and found God’s grace (Genesis 6:8-9). Noah clearly would not let the corruption of his time touch his soul and rob him of his faith, and he would not let the great wave of violence carry him down some abominable stream of destruction. He learned to stand uprightly in his generation so that he could walk with the Lord.
What an incredible testimony Noah’s life would have been in the spiritual darkness of his time. The Apostle Peter described it this way in 2 Peter 2:5, “And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly.” Think about what this scripture is saying. Only eight people were saved through the flood and it is because one person, Noah, had a relationship with God and in it he became a preacher of righteousness that ultimately brought the flood upon the world.
Noah clearly shows us it does not matter what time we live in for we still have a choice. Remember, since we are living in these end days, we are living in the days similar to the ones Noah lived through (Matthew 24:36-39). On a world-wide scale, we are seeing the arrogance of man out of control, wicked imaginations pursuing the vilest practices that are corrupting innocence at every level, and corrupt politicians that perceive if they desire a matter enough it is theirs to claim no matter how they pervert truth, destroy lives, and trample righteousness underfoot.
Like Noah’s day, God will have a witness. As believers we are that witness. We must be establishing our spiritual lives in this last generation. We must stand uprightly in these dark days in order to truly know what it means to experience God’s grace and walk in the light of His will. May this last generation clearly see us choosing the way of active faith that leads to the obedience of God’s instructions found in His Word. May it clearly see us about our Father’s business in the harvest fields of the world because we recognize time is short and we must be preparing as many as we can for the great end day harvest. May this generation sense our urgency to finish what we have been called to accomplish in this great race of life.
As we establish the life of Christ in us, we will be establishing the ark in which we are hidden. (Colossians 3:3). Our lives should bring a contrast to this dark world. Granted, there will be scoffing, anger, threats, and rage, but we know we are on the winning side.
It is hard to say what was going on in Noah’s mind as he built the ark. No doubt he understood the sobering reality of it because He feared both God and His Word (Hebrews 11:7). The ark was big because it would hold animals, but I wonder if Noah considered how many of his generation would it hold? Surely, Noah wished his loved ones would believe, his friends would trust what he was saying to be true, and his community would see the seriousness of it.
I wonder how much he verbally warned those around him because the building of the ark would serve as a visible testimony. Perhaps there were a few that became alarmed, but it went to the wayside because the rest of the crowd seem unconcerned. I wonder how many pondered the initial building of the ark only to become indifferent because it stood as a hollow, silent memorial that became a familiar object that was simply there.
This is true for the cross of Jesus. It is the greatest witness of man’s spiritual plight, but in so many ways it has become a simple ornament that once stood for something important but is now considered non-essential. Even though there have been preachers through the years warning and contending for souls, those alarmed have fallen to the wayside, those with concerns have been swallowed by the skepticism of the crowd, and those who lurked in the shadows have walked away with a sneer on their lips.
Sadly, there were only eight souls saved in that ark, and it was because of the righteousness of one man who chose to believe God. Noah was the one man whose righteousness brought judgment on the whole world, but over 2,000 years ago, Jesus our Lord was lifted up on a cross marking an entrance into life and those who refuse to accept it will come under God’s great wrath. Noah came out of the ark to establish a new world, and Jesus will come out of the heavens to set up a new kingdom.
This brings me to an important point. One door stood between life and death on the ark for a whole generation and there is one door that stands between eternal life and damnation for all of humanity. The Lord shut the door on Noah’s ark, shutting eight souls away from wrath. And what about today? Only those who are shut in the ark (life of Christ) are going to be spared from God’s wrath. The choice is clear, which side of the door are you on? Have you entered into the ark or are you standing outside? If you are standing outside, time is running out. Being close to the ark is not good enough, you must enter in before the door shuts and you perish in the flood waters of His fiery wrath.