devos from the hill


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How Quickly Sin Spreads

The need for a solution that outdistances the problem.
Lesson 21 from The HOPE Study Guide

INTRODUCTION

And it came about when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him.

– Genesis 4:8

Now the earth was corrupt in the sight of God, and the earth was filled with violence.

– Genesis 6:11

As the descendants of Adam and Eve increased, so also, sin increased.

– The HOPE, Chapter 4

OBSERVE & CONSIDER

The science fiction movie, Alien1 told the story of a group of space travelers who came upon a planet that was inhabited by a vicious alien life form. After a terrifying encounter with the “alien,” it seemed that the crew might escape calamity and resume their journey unscathed. On the surface things appeared somewhat normal, but in reality the alien life form had invaded the body of one of the crew. And as the crew was having a meal together, when it was least expected, the alien life form which had been incubating inside the infected crew member ripped open his chest from the inside and burst across the screen.

As horrific as this cinematic illustration may be, it is not nearly so terrible as the “alien” power called sin that has infected mankind. Adam and Eve left the garden to try once again to fulfill God’s original directive to them to “be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:28). But they were infected with sin, and though things “appeared somewhat normal,” they weren’t. Not even one generation passed before the ugliness of sin burst onto the scene. Adam and Eve’s firstborn son, Cain, savagely murdered his younger brother, Abel.

Within 11 generations (as listed in  Genesis 5), the earth “was corrupt in the sight of God, the earth was filled with violence” (Genesis 6:11). And God “was grieved in His heart” (Genesis 6:6).

As we consider the way sin so quickly spread in the world, let’s look at a simple illustration. Most people are familiar with dominos, little rectangular tiles with different numbers of dots on the face of each tile. And if you are familiar with dominos, then you have probably seen people line them up like little pillars all in a row. When the first domino is toppled, it sets off a chain reaction toppling the next domino, and so on and so on.

One of the largest displays of dominos ever to be toppled involved over 3.8 million dominos. It took 100 builders working 8 hours a day for 3 months to create the domino display. The display incorporated over 51 different interlinked projects; each one very complex and delicately balanced. Once the first domino was toppled, the chain reaction spread quickly in every conceivable direction. In a very brief matter of time, all that was left was a huge mess!

God created a world that is infinitely more complex, more interdependent, and more delicately balanced that that domino display. But like that display, even the smallest wrong move has the potential to send ripples of consequence throughout the creation for all time. It has been said that the smallest sin against an infinite God has infinite consequences.2 Continue reading


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The Greatest Story Ever Told

The Grand Story that explains every other story.
Lesson 5 from The HOPE Study Guide

Observe & Consider

At heart, we are storytellers. Most of us have been in situations where a story is told, and then someone else responds by telling a related story of their own, which evokes a similar response from yet another person. And on it goes. We are all drawn to the power of a great story, and even more, we desire to identify with and enter into a story greater than our own.

In fact, some sociologists say that the essential quest of humankind can be understood as a search for “metanarrative” or “metanarra.”1 This term refers to a grand story or archetypal account or ideology in which other stories find their meaning. Regardless of culture or rank or station or occupation, man quite naturally searches for some story in which all other stories find their meaning…a story in which we ourselves find our meaning.

Throughout time, people have derived meaning and purpose from stories (metanarra) handed down to them through culture or religion. But in the late 19th century a worldview called modernism2 emerged, claiming that those kinds of traditional metanarra are no longer relevant to our modern world. Modernism sought to replace the “old” stories and religious values with the arguments of reason and the findings of science. These, the modernists said, would define for us the meaning and purpose of our lives, thus creating the new metanarra. Continue reading