Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Genesis 4:8-10

Hello, all!

This morning's verses are serious and convicting! Yesterday we saw Cain stewing in anger - in today's verses it boils over! Verse 8 says, Now Cain said to his brother Abel, "Let's go out to the field.'" You can almost visualize this scene in a movie - darkening sky, foreboding music. It appears to me, although the text is not explicit, that Cain is luring Abel out into a remote area to get rid of him - premeditated murder -because there is no mention of an argument between the two: And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him. God had warned Cain about controlling his bent toward sin, but it seems that Cain chose to just go with it. He actually plotted it.

And there was no remorse or repentance: Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?” “I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?” There is a callousness and defiance here that is shocking. Yet, Jon Courson points out, this is the kind of bitterness that we often harbor against those who have wronged us, whether a family member, co-worker, or neighbor. Cain just wanted Abel out of his sight! We justify the same feelings, because someone has wronged us. We, too, would be just as glad if they disappeared. Jude 11 warns us not to take the way of Cain. Don't let bitterness, even when we feel it's justified, master us! The damage is far-reaching.

In verse 10, God confronts Cain: What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground. Courson says that in the Jewish tradition, if someone was killed, it was generations that were killed - all those who would never come from the victim. Conversely, they teach that if you save one life, you also save generations (I remember hearing that in Schindler's List ). Abel would have no children or grandchildren. Abel's blood was calling out for justice. In Hebrews 12:4 it says that Jesus' blood "speaks a better word than the blood of Abel." Jesus' blood speaks forgiveness and grace. So our bitterness toward another, can have far-reaching repercussions, affecting many more than just the one with whom we are angry. It draws in others. It destroys our witness and eats at our own soul. In the same way, forgiveness affects many more than the one we forgive. It frees us from bondage and confirms our witness for Christ. And it is the right thing to do! Jesus told us that if we don't forgive others, God won't forgive us!

Tomorrow we'll look at God's punishment for the murder and the effects of Cain's sin on his own family. For this morning, I'm convicted of the feelings in my own heart. I don't think there is bitterness (although I need God to search for it), but I definitely have had the attitude of "Am I my brother's keeper?" I have wanted difficult people in my life to just disappear... OUCH!!! Anyone else feeling that way??

Have a good morning! I'm off to a field trip to the San Juan Capistrano Mission with my nine fourth graders (while my fifth graders stay with my partner and the principal)!

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