Monday, January 24, 2011

Genesis 4:1-7

Good morning, all!

It didn't take long for things to go from bad to worse once sin entered the picture. In this chapter we'll look at the rebellious murderer, Cain, and his family line. We're told in verse 1 that Cain was the firstborn of Adam and Eve. His name means, "the man," and Jon Courson points out that Eve may have been hopeful that his was the man who would crush the head of the serpent. But she had missed that God had said that the "seed of the woman" would do this. Cain was the seed of man, Adam. She may have been disappointed with Cain early, because she gave her second-born a less-promising name. "Abel" means "vanity" or "empty."

We aren't given the picture of their childhood years and all that led up to the rivalry Cain felt. But like all children, they were unique in personality and in their gifts. Abel became a shepherd, a keeper of flocks, while Cain was a farmer. At some point, they both brought offerings to the LORD: Cain brought "some of the fruits of the soil," while Abel brought "fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock." We're told that God "looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. Was it the actual ingredients of the offerings that was the difference? We know that sin requires death, therefore a blood offering, and this was the type of offering instituted by God Himself in the Garden of Eden. However, we are also told in Hebrews 11:4 By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith he was commended as righteous, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead.

So it seems that the reason Abel's offering was acceptable was because of his heart attitude. Abel offered the best of his firstborn animals, while Cain just brought in some of his fruit. And certainly we see in Cain a dark heart! When God does not look on his offering with favor, instead of repenting, we read that "Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast." He wasn't just upset - he was VERY angry, to the point of depression. God reminded him that he had a choice: "If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at the door; it desires to have you, but you must master it." Just do the right thing, Cain! It's that simple: obedience leads to joy!

Jon Courson lists several verses in which we see how active, positive choices can result in joy and drive out anger and bitterness:
Choose to put on the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness (Isa 61:3)
Choose to rejoice in the LORD (I Thes 5:16)
Choose to pray without ceasing (I Thes 5:17)
Choose to give thanks in everything (I Thes 5:18)
Choose to think on whatever is pure, lovely, and praiseworthy (Phil 4:8)
and I'll add my favorite mental health verse, choose to trust in the LORD and do good (Psalm 37:3)

However, we all know what Cain chose to do. We'll read about that tomorrow! In the meantime, today make some good choices for yourself, because sin is crouching at the door!

1 comment:

  1. Last night I found myself quoting Phil 4:8 in my head when I was allowing myself to be overcome with untrue, fearful thoughts. Thanks for the reminder again this morning. Even those this was your post from over a month ago, I'm still catching up. :) God's timing is perfect.