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The Difference Maker

Updated: Jan 28, 2022


The Difference Maker

Pastor Todd S Bookout




The Fall

Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made.

He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.

And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

The Lord God said to the serpent,
“Because you have done this,
cursed are you above all livestock
and above all beasts of the field;
on your belly you shall go,
and dust you shall eat
all the days of your life.
I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and her offspring;
he shall bruise your head,
and you shall bruise his heel.”

To the woman he said,

“I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing;
in pain you shall bring forth children.
Your desire shall be contrary to your husband,
but he shall rule over you.”

And to Adam he said,

“Because you have listened to the voice of your wife
and have eaten of the tree
of which I commanded you,
‘You shall not eat of it,’
cursed is the ground because of you;
in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;
thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you;
and you shall eat the plants of the field.
By the sweat of your face
you shall eat bread,
till you return to the ground,
for out of it you were taken;
for you are dust,
and to dust you shall return.”

The man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living. And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.

Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever—” therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.

The ultimate question: why does evil exist? The unadulterated lack of faith, of hope, the bashing of belief, and conflation of fantasy with reality - it all hinges on the absence of conviction and the wanting felt in answers supplied to this question.

The Difference Maker. I fell in Love with this song the first time that I ever heard it. Back in the day (like 5 years ago) cleaning pools, working outside, my time with God and music and life. And for these 5 plus years, I’ve sang the song, or attempted to sing the song, with the words “I am, A difference maker” when in reality, the lyrics are, “I am, THE difference maker.”

The stark contrast that exists between “A” and “THE”.

“A” is one of many - not in totality.

  1. used when referring to someone or something for the first time in a text or conversation.

  2. used to indicate membership of a class of people or things.

“THE” is singular, called out, set apart.

  1. denoting one or more people or things already mentioned or assumed to be common knowledge.

  2. used to point forward to a following qualifying or defining clause or phrase.

I wonder how you see your life and what lens you filter your existence through. These past couple of years have led to immense introspection for myself - I promise you I’ve been to the brink of insanity and back - been to the depths of despair - experienced the highest of highs and the lowest of lows - sought out the easy solution and accepted the challenge of appetite and spiritual destitution.

Do you see yourself as a participant - or do you see yourself as the participant? Do you see yourself as a difference maker, or do you see yourself as the difference maker?

Keep these questions in mind as we journey through worship and word today. Keep these questions in mind as we contemplate the words of God, the very words of the ultimate difference, Jesus. Keep these questions in mind as we forecast and speculate on an unknown future that we all face.

Hope will guide us in this life.

The very end of Genesis chapter 3 really has my attention this week.

Genesis 3

Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever—” therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.

The Tree of Life - what is life, and how do we consume it?

Strong's Concordance

ets: tree, trees, wood

Original Word: עֵץ

Part of Speech: Noun Masculine

Transliteration: ets

Phonetic Spelling: (ates)

Definition: tree, trees, wood

NAS Exhaustive Concordance

Word Origin

from an unused word


tree, trees, wood

NASB Translation

carpenters* (4), framework (1), gallows (9), handle (1), logs (1), shaft (3), stalks (1), stick (8), sticks (3), timber (19), timbers (5), tree (74), trees (71), wild* (1), wood (111), wooden (6).

Strong's Concordance

chay: age

Original Word: חַי

Part of Speech: Adjective; feminine; noun masculine; noun feminine; noun feminine; noun masculine; Adjective; noun feminine

Transliteration: chay

Phonetic Spelling: (khah'-ee)

Definition: alive, living

Strong's Exhaustive Concordance

age, alive, appetite, wild beast, company, congregation, lifetime, lively,

From chayah; alive; hence, raw (flesh); fresh (plant, water, year), strong; also (as noun, especially in the feminine singular and masculine plural) life (or living thing), whether literally or figuratively -- + age, alive, appetite, (wild) beast, company, congregation, life(-time), live(-ly), living (creature, thing), maintenance, + merry, multitude, + (be) old, quick, raw, running, springing, troop.

Battle Lines Being Drawn

In 1860, American voters elected Abraham Lincoln as president. Although he personally hated slavery, Lincoln promised not to interfere with the slave system in southern states.

Most Southerners, however, were fighting mad about Lincoln’s election. They were convinced his true goal was to end slavery and control the South. One by one these states seceded, or broke away, from the United States to form the Confederate States of America. As president, Lincoln felt duty-bound to fight to keep “the Union” together; the South vowed to fight for its independence.

The Civil War

Started: April 1861

Ended: April 1865

Who: The United States of America against the Confederate States of America

Why: Eleven southern states seceded from the U.S. for fear the national government would interfere with their rights—especially the right to own slaves. The states that remained in the Union went to war to end the rebellion.

Writing Fighting Words

In November 1861, a woman named Julia Ward Howe and her husband visited Washington, D.C. While there, Howe, a published poet, heard Union troops belting out a well-known marching song called “John Brown’s Body,” after the famous abolitionist, John Brown. A preacher standing with Howe encouraged her to write new lyrics to the tune.

“I replied that I had often wished to do so,” Howe later wrote.

I… awoke the next morning in the gray of the early dawn, and to my astonishment found that the wished-for lines were arranging themselves in my brain. I lay quite still until the last verse had completed itself in my thoughts, then hastily arose, saying to myself, I shall lose this if I don’t write it down immediately. I… began to scrawl the lines almost without looking…. Having completed this, I lay down again and fell asleep, but not before feeling that something of importance had happened to me.”

That “something of importance” proved to be the words to the “Battle Hymn of the Republic.” In February 1862, she sold her poem to the Atlantic Monthly, a well-known magazine, for five dollars.

The new song spread quickly through the Union armies and was adopted by Union supporters who wanted to teach the southern rebels a lesson. (Oddly, it had been a southerner named William Steffe who had written the original music.) Howe’s version was packed with Biblical imagery and phrasing.

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord:

He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;

He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword:

His truth is marching on.


Glory, glory, hallelujah!

Glory, glory, hallelujah!

Glory, glory hallelujah!

His truth is marching on.

Howe took dead aim at slavery in her lyrics. She and her husband were strong anti-slavery activists, called abolitionists. Included in one verse of the hymn were the words “let us die to make men free”—to fight to end slavery, in other words. Howe’s new words also angered southerners. Not only did the song sing for an end to slavery, this “hymn”—a holy, church song—claimed that God was on the North’s side.

Story Link:

Johnny Cash - Battle Hymn of the Republic video link:

"Well, I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn’t matter with me now, because I’ve been to the mountaintop. And I don’t mind.

Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land!