Woe to them! For they have gone the way of Cain, and for pay [a]they have rushed headlong into the error of Balaam, and perished in the rebellion of Korah. 12 These are the men who are [b]hidden reefs in your love feasts when they feast with you without fear, caring for themselves; clouds without water,carried along by winds; autumn trees without fruit, [c]doubly dead, uprooted; 13 wild waves of the sea, casting up their own[d]shame like foam; wandering stars, for whom the [e]black darkness has been reserved forever.
I don't know about anybody else, but I was curious about what Cain, Balaam and Korah all had to do with this. (OK, well, it is fairly obvious in the case of Cain. And truthfully, I actually didn't remember who Korah was.) From David Legge's sermon, "Remember, Remember"
He tells us of three men, Cain a farmer, Balaam a prophet, and Korah a prince. Cain a working class man, a working class apostate, Balaam an ecclesiastical apostate, Korah a royal, rich apostate - and apostasy, like all disease and just like sin, is no respecter of persons. He speaks of Cain, you all know the story of Cain, that Cain offered of the fruit of the ground - he was a farmer, he tilled the ground and he brought to God that sacrifice of his vegetables and his fruit - and Abel brought the sacrifice of a little unblemished lamb, and shed its blood and gave a burnt offering to God. But to put it bluntly: Abel was true faith and God's faith, and Cain was man's faith, the faith of the flesh, the work of the flesh. The religion of mankind, the product of man's mind, the product of rationalism, where he said in the depths of his being, whether he was conscious or admitting it or not, 'My way is better and more acceptable than God's way'! And I suspect that the Holy Spirit was whispering down on planet earth, 'There is a way that seemeth right unto man, but the way therefore is the way of death'.
The religions of the world are based on man's effort - and that's why Cain's effort was rejected, it was his own works, because faith saves. And my friend I want you to see this, that this is seen in the old Philistines, in the Old Testament where God was saying: 'There is My way and no other way, I am the God, I am the only God to be worshiped, I will not share My glory with another, I will not be put in a trophy cabinet of gods and worshiped in a pluralistic religion or society'.
Do you know who Balaam was? He was a false prophet, and Balak the king of the Moabites wanted him to curse Israel in the name of the Lord, but he did it for reward that's the only reason why he went, for a reward, to get money. God told him 'You're not going!', he said, 'I am going!', and he went. And as he was on his way, the angel of the Lord rose up in the way and the ass that he was riding on saw the angel of the Lord, but he didn't see him - he was the ass! He didn't see the angel of the Lord, but he wasn't having it either. He devised a plan and he went to the king of the Moabites again and he said 'I've got a way to get Israel to sin and to get God's wrath upon them. You get Israelites to marry your daughters', now that wasn't allowed. And it says that through that - we could call it a 'sexplosion' - God reigned His wrath and anger upon His own children, because Balaam got them to sin sexually. And we have men, naming the name of Christ, who are in it for the money - and I'm talking about evangelicals - and we have men that are legitimizing sexual perversion through the word of God.
Cain, Balaam and thirdly, and finally, Korah. He's called Core, C-o-r-e, here but in the Old Testament it's translated Korah, K-o-r-a-h, and you read about it in Numbers chapter 16. Korah was not willing to accept God's ordained leaders. He said 'Why can't we come to God? Why can't we bring the sacrifice? Why can't we offer the incense? Why can't we go before God? Why can't we call the shots and rule the people?', and they wanted to overthrow the Lord's servant. And the word of God says that this is what God said to them: 'Moses, Aaron separate yourselves from among this congregation that I may consume them in a moment...And it came to pass, as he had made an end of speaking all these words, that the ground clave asunder that was under them: And the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their houses, and all the men that appertained unto Korah, and all their goods. They, and all that appertained to them, went down alive into the pit, and the earth closed upon them: and they perished from among the congregation' - do you know why? Because God has told us in 1 Samuel 15 and verse 23 that rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. My friend, Israel, the angels, Sodom and Gomorrah, Cain, Balaam, Korah in his rebellion, all exhort us to flee from apostasy.
I am glad we are studying Jude. I confess, this little, one-chapter book has never seemed to me to be of great interest, but after studying it more closely, there is more to it than initially meets the eye. If nothing else, it is a very strong warning, a wake-up call.
Happy Thursday, everybody! And I will also take this opportunity to wish you all a very blessed and happy Easter.
Tomorrow's scripture focus: Jude 1:14.