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Jude 10-11 • Cain, Balaam, and Korah

"But these men revile the things which they do not understand; and the things which they know by instinct, like unreasoning animals, by these things they are destroyed. Woe to them! For they have gone the way of Cain, and for pay they have rushed headlong into the error of Balaam, and perished in the rebellion of Korah."
    —Jude 10-11 (NASB)

Here are 3 types of apostates—people that abandon their loyalty to God and embrace something else (most often themselves)—which give us some insight to their motivation and attitudes:

"Gone the way of Cain". Cain and his brother Abel both came before God to present their sacrifices; Abel's was accepted, Cain's was not. It's never enough to simply acknowledge the existence of God—one must follow up with a submissive heart. Instead of changing his ways, Cain murdered Abel. "The way of Cain" is to envy and yet hate the godly even to the point of killing them in the misguided belief that they alone will remain before God. Instead of removing the sin from their own life, they seek to remove righteousness out of sight.

"Rushed headlong into the error of Balaam". Balaam was someone whose recognized position as a religious authority was for sale. He believed in the existence of God but never subjected himself to God; he was instead a slave to money, to the highest bidder.

"Perished in the rebellion of Korah." Korah was a direct descendant of Aaron, meaning that he was rightfully designated as a member of the priesthood. But he wasn't satisfied with his position and led an out-and-out revolt against Moses and Aaron to take their authority and standing for himself. Korah represents the type of person that is not satisfied with anything less than having sole and final authority over everyone and everything. He's not satisfied serving but being served.

All of these personalities' problems are rooted in pride and multiplied by the error of believing the solution is to change their circumstances rather than their self. To be sure, we need to be aware of these patterns in discerning the actions of those within the church that Jude calls "hidden reefs" in Jude 12, but we also need them for self-examination of our own motives. Each of these examples mistakenly thought they were "serving" God in some significant way when in fact they were only serving themselves. Lord, help me scrutinize my own motives and have the courage to deal with them for YOUR benefit rather than my own.