Tuesday, August 18, 2015

'The Story of Cain and Abel (Gen.4)'.

God had created a beautiful garden for mankind, God’s representative, to live with God. Man was to do 'God's will' by filling the earth with God’s images, and creating a ‘God-glorifying’ world. Yet, man sought independence from God and aligned himself with Satan.  Consequently Adam and Eve where expelled from the garden. They would still be expected to fulfill God’s kingdom purpose. Now God would provide man with food but it would be by 'toilsome labor' and the ‘sweat of his brow’. They were to multiply ‘images of God’ but now with increased ‘pain in child-bearing’ and relational conflict. Now comes the story of Cain and Abel, the first story of life outside the garden. Listen or watch the story and read the comments below. https://www.dropbox.com/s/zapkrwftakpw1qc/4.%20Cain%20and%20Abel..MP3?dl=0

The Cain and Abel Story (Gen.4):
God graciously enabled Adam to have children. When Eve gave birth to Cain she was thrilled that God had helped her to have a son. Later Eve gave birth to another son, Abel, who is described as Cain’s brother. God graciously provided crops for Cain and flocks for Abel. So we see them fulfilling their responsibilities to work the ground and rule over the livestock. Cain brought some of his crops to the Lord as an offering, but the Lord was not pleased. Abel brought to the Lord the fat portions from the firstborn of his flock. Abel offered God the first and the best of what he had and the Lord was pleased. However, Cain's offering to God was not pleasing to the Lord.  

Cain was angry that God accepted Abel’s offering but was not pleased with Cain’s offering and his face was downcast. The Lord confronted Cain telling him that if he did what was right he would be accepted. Yet, if Cain didn’t do what was right then sin was crouching at his door but Cain was to master it. Yet, Cain talked Abel into going out to the field where Cain attacked and killed Abel. Ignoring God’s gracious warning Cain attacks and kills his own brother out of jealousy and envy. Again the Lord confronted Cain but Cain claims that he wasn’t responsible for brother. Cain let sin, which is a power and not just bad decisions, get a hold of him. Cain by attacking and killing his own brother, who was made in God’s image, was attacking God and showing that he belonged to the evil one (1 John 3:12).

God knew of the injustice Cain had committed for Abel’s blood was crying out for God to avenge what Cain had done (Hebrews 12:24). So God ‘curses’ Cain and drove Cain from the land and from God’s presence. Now Cain was outside the garden where work was not only difficult but now the ground would not produce crops for Cain. Cain said that being driven from the land and from God’s presence to be a restless wanderer on the earth was too severe a punishment for him. Yet, even after what Cain had done God graciously agreed to protect Cain’s life and to avenge his death if anyone would kill Cain.

The story shows the power of sin in Cain’s life. Cain ignored God’s correction and then killed his brother out of jealousy and envy. Cain lies to God, denies being responsibility for his brother, and complains that his punishment was unjust. Rather than being broken and contrite we find Cain lamenting over the consequences of his sin. The story depicts the goodness of God for we see God providing offspring for Adam and Eve and providing crops and flocks for them. God graciously warns Cain and justly punishes him but promises to protect Cain’s life. The story God's patence with even those who are unrepentant. 

The story depicts the destructive power of sin in the heart. It also shows us the conflict between the ‘seed of the serpent’ and the ‘seed of the woman’ that characterizes the history of redemption (Gen.3:15). The difference between the 'two seeds' is the ‘God-initiated enmity in the heart’ (Genesis 3:15). The clash between the two lines of humanity is illustrated in the lives of Cain and Abel. By faith Abel offers a pleasing sacrifice and is commended as righteous, while Cain’s actions showed that he belonged to the ‘evil one’.  By attacking and killing his brother Abel, Cain was attacking ‘image of God’ and attacking God (1 John 3:12, Heb.11:4). The story points us to the gospel of Jesus and his work on the cross. The blood of Jesus cries out not for vengeance but for the redemption accomplished by Christ.  

Hebrews 11:4 (NIV84) 4 By faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. By faith he was commended as a righteous man, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith he still speaks, even though he is dead.

1 John 3:12 (NIV84) 12 Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother’s were righteous.

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