Monday, January 08, 2007


When I'm thinking about intimacy with God, I think that the word timshel easily applies. Timshel is a word used by American author John Steinbeck in his awesome novel, East of Eden. I read that book recently and ever since, the word timshel has stuck with me. Very loosely translated, it means "thou mayest" and was found in Genesis 4:6-7, in the story of Cain. The idea of timshel is that we (as people) may defeat sin, but that we also may not. The idea that we may or may not all comes down to one thing- choice. Or free will. It is our choice as to whether or not we overcome sin. It is our choice whether we choose the path of sin. We make the conscious decision to choose to sin or not to sin, it is not (as some people believe) pre-determined what our path will be. We choose that path ourselves.

It is also our choice as to whether or not we become intimate with God. We may become intimate with God, we may not. Timshel. Our choice, our free will as to whether or not we become closer to God. Timshel is what gives us power over sin, power over evil and satan. By choosing God as our Lord and Master, and our ally against sin, we are triumphing over the devil and telling him that we have made our choice. The devil will still do his best to make us stumble, but it is that Timshel that builds resistance. The more we choose the side of good, the easier it becomes to resist evil. Think about eating. If you put a plate of carrot sticks next to a plate of brownies, and offer me a choice. I will always take the brownie. But if I want to change my eating habits and my diet, eventually I may choose a carrot stick. Then the next time it will be a little easier to resist the brownie and choose the carrots. Eventually, the brownies become nothing to me, and the carrot sticks are all I want.

6 Then the Lord said to Cain, "Why are you angry? And why are you looking down? 7 Will not your face be happy if you do well? If you do not do well, sin is waiting to destroy you. Its desire is to rule over you, but you must rule over it."

Sin wants us. The devil wants us. It is our choice whether or not we give in to the desires of man, or whether we set those desires aside, and see what God desires for us instead. This is just an odd something that stuck in my mind the last couple of days, and I thought I'd share it. The concept of timshel, while it is from literature, and not from the Bible, is interesting to me, and easily applicable. When I think about timshel, it's what sets us apart from other creations. Our free will, our ability to choose our own path is what makes us human. And choosing the right path... that's what brings us closer to God.

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