Genesis 4:1-7

December 7, 2010 at 11:49 am | Posted in Bible Study | Leave a comment
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Now the man had relations with his wife Eve, and she conceived and gave birth to Cain, and she said, “I have gotten a manchild with the help of the LORD.” Again, she gave birth to his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of flocks, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. So it came about in the course of time that Cain brought an offering to the LORD of the fruit of the ground. Abel, on his part also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions. And the LORD had regard for Abel and for his offering; but for Cain and for his offering He had no regard. So Cain became very angry and his countenance fell. Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? “If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.”

This week, we begin to see what happens after the Fall. We see how quickly the sinful nature takes hold of what was once a perfect creation. If you recall, Adam and Eve have been ousted from the garden of Eden because they disobeyed God and ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. They’ve returned to where Adam was made and have settled there. Imagine for a minute being the only two people on the entire planet. It was always this way, but now, things are different. Now, you don’t have fellowship with God like you used to. Now, sin and death have entered the world and everything is a little more ominous. And yet, in all of this there is hope brought about by the promise given by God.

Eventually, Adam and Eve have a child and name him Cain. When Cain is born, she says, “I have gotten a manchild with the help of the Lord”. There is something interesting here though. In many Bibles, the phrase “the help of” is in italics. That means that this phrase isn’t found in the original writings. That would make Eve’s original quote, “I have gotten a manchild with the Lord”. The implication here is that the promise was going to be fulfilled in Cain. While she was wrong about that, it does show that Eve held on to the promise that God gave her. After Cain’s birth follows Abel’s. We don’t have any idea how much time passed from the expulsion of Adam and Eve to Cain’s birth or between Cain’s birth and Abel’s but, we do know that Adam was 130 years old when Seth (the third son) was born. This means that the Fall, expulsion, birth of Cain, birth of Abel, murder of Abel, and birth of Seth all happened within 130 years of the creation.

 Again, we aren’t given any indication of what happened as the boys grew other than the jobs they took on. Abel was a tender of the flocks and Cain was a tiller of the ground. The Bible says that “in the course of time” Cain brought an offering from the fruit of the ground. For his offering, Abel brought of the first born of his flock and their fat portions. Many people gloss over this (if not the entirety of chapters 4 and 5) but it’s important. Here we see that Cain and Abel both recognize that they are to give offerings to the Lord. This must have been something that Adam and Eve taught them to do. This in turn means that it is something that Adam and Eve did. From the beginning, man has been giving offerings to the Lord. Not only that, but it shows what type of offerings they were bringing. In the next few verses, we see that the Lord regarded Abel’s sacrifice, but He didn’t regard (accept) Cain’s. Why? If Cain was a tiller of the ground and God knew that, why would He disregard his offering? The reason is simple and it points to a basic problem that man will have until Christ returns. Man wants to do things his own way instead of doing them God’s way.

How do I know this? Well, from personal experience, from seeing it happen in others, and from what God says to Cain when he gets angry. God reminds Cain that if he “does well” his countenance will be lifted up. This implies that Cain knew that he was to bring a blood sacrifice. This is what Abel brought. I would suppose that this is because of what God did when man first sinned against him in the garden. Do you remember? God killed two animals to make clothes for Adam and Eve. Abel offers a blood sacrifice in remembrance of that. Cain does not. But, there is more to it then that. When God talks to Cain, He says that if Cain does well, his countenance will be lifted up. Cain was angry and crestfallen because God didn’t accept the sacrifice that he decided to bring to him. But, God says that if he “does well” he will be lifted up again. I can’t say with certainty because scripture doesn’t say for sure, but I believe that God was showing Cain that all he had to do was offer up a blood sacrifice. I believe that if Cain would have talked to Abel and asked for or traded for a sheep or goat, Abel would have given it. Cain could have sacrificed the way that God required and Abel’s death would not have taken place.

How often do we try to manipulate things or do things our way and hope that God blesses them? We do all that we can to work and get things set up just so, and when God refuses to bless something that wasn’t the way He wanted it done, we get mad and sin against Him and others. God warns Cain (and us) that if we are angry, sin crouches at our door and waits for us, desiring us to let it in. How many times have you heard on the news about some tragedy that has taken place just because someone got angry over something? It happens all the time and usually it is for the stupidest reasons. God warns us that if we will “do well” and make sure that we do things the way that He wants us to, we will have our countenances lifted up and we will master sin!

Will you be like Abel or like Cain? In the book of 1 John, John reminds us that we are not to love one another like Cain loved Abel. Cain didn’t really love Abel. If he did, he wouldn’t have killed him. When we get angry at others for walking according to scripture and in obedience to God, do we really love them? John says that the message that we’ve heard from the beginning is to love one another. The word that John uses for love in that verse is the Greek word agape. It is the God kind of love. Many people know this and can tell you this, but can they describe it? What does agape love really look like? The greatest example of agape love is the death of Jesus on the cross for sinful mankind. He was spotless and without sin and yet, He went through the ridicule, the mocking, the scourging, the crucifixion, and the wrath of God for those who hate Him. He hung on the cross and forgave those who put Him there. This is agape love and it’s the way that Christians are supposed to love others.

As we end this week, let me ask you: Do you love with agape love? Are you prepared to die for someone else? Someone that isn’t in your family? Someone that hates you? Someone that you don’t like? This is agape

As always, comments, questions, suggestions, and complaints are welcome. Just leave them below and I’ll try to get to them as soon as I can. Next week we continue with the murder of Abel. See you then!

Love

February 8, 2010 at 4:41 pm | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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This weekend, men and women will be celebrating love on Valentine’s Day. They will wining and dining in their best clothes. They will be giving candy, flowers, perfumes/colognes, and other assorted gifts and goodies to show that special someone just how much they love them.  Love will be in the air and romance will be the word of the day. If it’s really strong, a song might be dedicated or even written.  All of this in the name of love. None of this is bad, in and of itself. If you are in love then you should celebrate that. But I want to ask you something that you may not have given any attention to. Do you know true love? Do you know what love really is (I really have to get that Foreigner song out of my head…)?   Continue Reading Love…


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