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Sunday, September 29, 2019

posted Sep 29, 2019, 4:14 PM by Site Administrator   [ updated Sep 29, 2019, 10:19 PM ]

CAIN AND ABEL

 

Genesis 4:1-5:32

Key Verse 4:7

 

If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.

 

In the previous passage we learned about the fall of Adam, and Gods promise of redemption through the offspring of the woman. Despite mans sin, Gods love for man did not change. Right at the spot where mankind failed, God promised to send the Messiah to redeem and restore mankind to the original status. Todays passage shows us Gods love for Adams sons. Once sin started in mans life, it grew, affecting and changing mans life for worse, but still, Gods love did not change. May we open our hearts and accept Gods love for us through this passage. 

 

First, If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? (4:1-7). Look at verses 1 and 2. Adam and Eve lived about 1,000 years. In the book of Exodus, we see that 70 members of Jacobs family became about 2,000,000 people in 400 years in Egypt. I assume that Adam and Eves family grew much faster and much bigger than them, because they lived very long life, and death was very rare in that society. Among all of them, the Bible focuses on two persons as their representatives – Cain and Abel. When Cain was born, Eve thanked God saying, With the help of the Lord I have brought forth a man. She was the one who had fallen in sin first, but she did not remain in guilty conscience. She did not torture herself out of guilty conscience. Instead, she accepted Gods love in giving her the garment of skin, and Gods promise that the Messiah would come from her. Due to the curse on her body, during childbearing and delivery of the baby, she had a lot of difficulties; but she prayed for Gods help, and after delivering the baby, she could see that by Gods help, she delivered her baby successfully. She was happy and thankful for Gods help and for the new born baby. Now Abel was a shepherd tending flocks, and Cain was a farmer working on the soil. Then, a time came for them to come to God with offerings. This shows that even after they were banished from the Garden of Eden, still God left the door open for them to come to him and have fellowship with him. They were not redeemed yet; there was no sacrifice system yet; their nature was corrupt; yet, still God allowed them to come to him. This is Gods real desire for us.

 

These children of Adam and Eve grew in the believing environment, hearing from their parents how great the Garden of Eden was, how pleasant it was to live in it, and what command God gave them, and how they failed to keep it. The day for them to come to God with offerings must have been a big day. Both Cain and Abel prepared their offerings and brought them to God. But on that day, something unexpected happened. God looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering, God did not look with favor. God accepted Abels offering, but He rejected Cains offering. It must have been a shocking event. 

 

Why did God treat them differently? This passage talks about what kind of offering they had brought to God. Abels offering was fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. Nowadays, fat is known unhealthy and worthless, but back in those days, fat was regarded most precious, tasty, and valuable; it was the best part. Also, Abels offering was from some of the firstborn of his flock. It meant that he set aside the firstborn animals for God, and then, he took for himself the next ones. His motto was, God first, and best things to God. The words, “first and best to God” shows his attitude toward God very well – his deep respect and honor to God. At the same time, they show his heart’s zealous love and thanks to God. Hebrews 11:4 talks about Abels offering, saying, By faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. In Gods eyes, it was a better offering; when God saw how wholeheartedly Abel was seeking Him, He was pleased with himso God accepted him and his offering gladly. But Cains offering was different. Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. His offering was not from the best ones or from the first crops, but some of the fruits of the soil, showing that his offering was simply so so. While Abels offering was hot and tasty in Gods eyes, Cains offering was cold and stale. His offering was not well prepared, and it showed his attitude toward God – there was no reverence, no trust, no thanks, and no hearts desire for God; it seemed that he brought offerings to God because he had a lot, or because he had toSo God did not accept him and his offering. 

 

Offering is an important part of our life before God. About 1/3 of all God’s laws in the five books of Moses are about offerings. It is something we naturally do as we acknowledge Him as our God, as our Creator; at the same time, it is a must, because no one should appear before God without an offering. Cain and Abel’s examples show us what kind of offerings we must bring to God – first and best, God says in the book of Malachi, A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If I am a father, where is the honor due me? If I am a master, where is the respect due me? (Mal 1:6) He also says, When you bring blind animals for sacrifice, is that not wrong? When you sacrifice crippled or diseased animals, is that not wrong? Try offering them to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you? (Mal 1:8) The blind and defective animals were worthless; anyway, they would throw them away. They brought these worthless animals to God as their offering, and kept all good and valuable animals for themselves. They were contemptuous. God rebuked them saying, Try offering them to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? We must bring our best to God, something very precious to us, something very important to us, not something we dont value that much. People say that they will serve God when they are old, after retirement, such as 70 years old. They want to use their prime time for themselveand give God what is leftover, what is worthless. People say, I will give up my dream of becoming the President of the USA for God. But they refuse to give up their career dream or marriage dream for God. They give God what is worthless to them, and keep what is valuable for themselves. People say that they will, rather die than denying God, but they refuse to bring one tenth offering to God with many excuses. To them, $20 in their pocket is very precious, but offering words of praise with their lips does not cost them anything. God is our Father; He is our Master. He is our Creator, and we must worship Him with all our hearts and souls and strength, by bringing all our best, and most valuable things to Him.

 

When God rejected Cain and his offering, Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast. In Gods eyes, something was wrong with Cain. But Cains response shows that, in his eyes, something was wrong with God in rejecting his offering. According to his idea, God should have accepted his offeringwith thanks. Why? Because he had worked hard to produce crops and brought such precious things to God. In his eyes, his hard work should be appreciated, but God did not appreciate it. When Cain was angry and his face was downcast, God could have been angry with him also. But God did not make an issue of his attitude at all. Instead, God gave him his counseling service. Look at verses 6 and 7. Lets read these verses together:

 

6Then the Lord said to Cain, Why are you so angry? Why is your face downcast? 7If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.

 

Here we see another reason why God did not accept his offering. God said to himIf you do what is right, will you not be accepted? God did not accept his offering, simply because Cain had not done what was right in his day to day life. Right then, on the day he came to God with offerings, he looked nice like a good worshiper of God. But God knew how he had lived in his day to day life. He was like a Sunday Christian – during six days from Monday to Saturday, he lived a sinful life, doing all kinds of terrible and mischievous things, then, on Sunday, he changed his clothes, wore nice suit, and attended the worship service, singing hymns beautifully, and reading the Bible. God could not accept him and his offering, even if he came to the worship service, and even if he brought his offering to Him. If you do what is right, will you not be accepted?

 

Here, we learn an important lesson. God wants us to do what is right. Attending the worship service is good; bringing an offering to God is good. But more than that is doing what is right in our day to day life. Godpoint is very clear: If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? Yes, do what is right, and you will be accepted. As students, what is right for you to do? It is to study hard. Some naive Christians try to read the Bible even all night long, whenever finals come. They are not spiritual as they think; instead, they just avoid what they must do, because studying for finals is hard and painful - they are simply avoiding their own cross. Gods direction for them is very clear: Do what is right! After graduating from college, what should you do? Go and get a job and work hard to support yourselves and your family; be valid members of the society. Dont be scared of the competition in the society, because when you struggle hard to do what is right in obedience to Gods command, God will certainly help you. Do what is right! As shepherds and Bible teachers for college students, what is right for us to do? We must go, fish new students and teach them the Bible. When we try to do what is right for us, then, we find that we have several crosses to carry, because we have many titles - student or employee, son or daughter, husband or wife, father or mother, and campus evangelist. So what do we do? We struggle hard to take up all these crosses and follow Jesus as his disciples, using every flying minute effectively. At that time, we have Gods beautiful promise - God accepts us and all our offerings, because He is pleased with us. Do what is right! 

 

God’s words, “If you do what is right, will you not be accepted” comfort us greatly. Sometimes, we feel guilty due to our sins or mistakes; sometimes, we groan deeply. Sometimes, we are discouraged because of our poor performance.  Sometimes, we are scared, thinking that God is angry with us. Yet, this is what God says, “If you do what is right, will you not be accepted?” God makes everything simple: He will accept you if you do what is right. So, dont worry about anything, just do what is right! Nothing to worry about, nothing to be scared of. Just strive to do what is right in your day to day life. Jesus says, “Whoever comes to me, I will never drive away.” (Jn 6:37)

 

And God said, If you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door. Here, God shows us what happens to uswhen we dont do what is right. I am sure that you are not particularly sinful people. I am sure that you have good intention, good desire. But the problem is: Despite your good intention, if you dont do what is right in your day to day life, then, sin is crouching at your door like a lion, looking for a chance to attack you; and the minute you open the door, the minute you lower your guard, sin pounces on you and devours you, making you sinful. If you dont do what is right in your day to day life positivelythen simply it is a matter of time that you do what is sinful. This was what happened to Cain. When he did not do what was right in his day to day life, he ended up doing what was sinful – he lived a sinful life. Even if he was attendingthe worship service with his offerings, God saw everything and thereby, could not accept him.

 

Many people ask, How can I overcome my sinful nature? How can I live a good life? They cry out to God for help. What is Godanswer? What is Gods help? Gods counseling is this: If you dont do what is right, sin is crouching at your door. So, do what is right. When you struggle to do what is right, then, sin will not be crouching at your door; even, you will not have time to think about sinning. Do what is right in your day to day life, and you will live a sound life with sound heart. Then, certainly God will accept you. 

 

God also said to Cain, It desires to have you, but you must master it. Sin promises pleasures, satisfaction and fun. What sin promises sounds sweet, but God exposes here its real intention. Sins real intention is not to give you pleasures or fun, but to have you, meaning to make you its slaves so that it can control you to do whatever it desires. Many people see that their whole future will be gone if they continue to sinbut they cannot stop sinning; even if they can see that their family will be broken and everyone will suffer, they cannot stop sinning; even if they can see that they are going to hell, still they cannot stop sinning, because they are slaves to sin. Eventually, sin brings death - either they die prematurely, or they commit suicide, or they kill others, and after that, eternal death is waiting for them. This is sins desire. This is whats going on in our heart, because our nature is sinful - sin always is looking for a way to have us; this is the result of the first man, Adams sin. So, never give into the temptation of sin. 

 

And God gave him a clear direction about sin that was working in him, saying, You must master it. Who must master it? “You” must master it. Many people, when they pray for help about their sin, expect that, by God’s help, sin miraculously disappear from their hearts. Maybe, it can happen. But that’s not the way God shows. God’s direction in this matter is very clear: You must master it. Then, how? By doing what is right! Romans 8 reads: For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live. Sin is working in us continually; it is our own nature. But we must not let our sinful nature control us; we must not let our sinful nature lead our life. Instead, we must put to death the misdeeds of the body by living according to the desire of the Holy Spirit, by doing what is right in our day to day life. Do what is right, then, you will overcome your sin, and God will accept you.

Second, The LORD God put a mark on Cain (4:8-15).When Cain received Gods personal counseling service, he should have been thankful and struggled to do what was right. He had to repent of his sinful life. But instead, at Gods counsel, he got really angry. He went out and defiantly did something more wicked than before. He said to his brother Abel, Let us go out to the field. And in the field, he attacked Abel and killed him, who was more righteous than he was. When he refused to repent, sin that had been crouching at the door, pounced on himand captured him as its loyal slave. He became an instrument of the devil and carried out the devils desire by killing his ownbrother. At the last supper, Judas Iscariot refused Jesus love to the end, then, he was captured by his sinful desire and became its loyal slave, and carried out the devils desire. If anyone refuses to submit himself to God, then, he actually submits himself to the devil to do the devil’s desire.

After the murder was done, God visited Cain and asked, Where is your brother Abel? Then, Cain replied, I dont know. Am I my brothers keeper? Even if Cain fed his anger by killing his own brother, it seemed that his anger did not subside; he was still angry, talking back to God. When Adam sinned, he was shameful and fearful, so he ran away and hid himself among the trees. But when Cain sinned, he became more rebellious and talked back to God. In this way, Adams sin of disobedience grew to Cains sin of rebellion. Do not sin, or it will grow in you continually. Look at verses 10 through 12. Lets read these verses together: 

 

10The LORD said, What have you done? Listen! Your brothers blood cries out to me from the ground. 11Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brothers blood from your hand. 12When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth.

 

Finally, God exposed his sin, saying, What have you done? Listen! Your brothers blood cries out to me from the ground. What a scary statement this is! When one person is murdered, that persons blood cries out to God for justice. As the righteous Judge, God has to judge those murderers. God punished Cain. But his punishment was not about flogging him 100 times or locking him up for 100 years. Instead, God simply took him away from his present occupation, farming, and cut off his relationship with him completely. God would not let him work the ground any longer, because of Abels blood that fell on the ground by him. Also God would leave him severely alone. Until then, God tried to help him many times - He gave him a chance by not accepting him and his offering; then, he gave him his personal counseling service, showing him whats going on, and how he had been living his life, and what he should do. In this way, God had been wrestling with him to help him. But Cain rejected all Gods efforts; instead, the more God tried to help him, the worse Cain became. Finally, God decided that He would not bother him any longer; He would leave him severely alone whatsoever he did. That was Gods punishment.

We humans were created for Gods glory and Gods mission; the very meaning and purpose of our existence is God. But now, since Cain was disconnected from God, he no longer could find the meaning, purpose and fulfillment of his life in God. Then, he would struggle all the way to look for something that would give him the meaning, purpose and fulfillment of his life. But nothing in the world, no matter what he did, even if he married Miss Universe, and had 10 cute children, he could not find the meaning, purpose and fulfillment of his life. Throughout his whole life, he would live as a restless wanderer, looking for something that would give him the true fulfillment of his life, going from one thing to the next, only to be disappointed and feel meaningless. Thats what happens to everyone who is disconnected from God, the source of life.

 

At Gods punishment, Cain shared a strange testimony, saying, My punishment is more than I can bear.” What was God’s punishment on him? Not death sentence, not lifetime imprisonment, but basically, since he refused to be corrected, God would leave him alone. About that, he said, “My punishment is more than I can bear.” Why did he say this way? He said so, because he understood the nature of this punishment: He would be hidden from God’s presence, and as a result, he would be a restless wanderer on the earth. This punishment was so terrible that even an evil man like Cain was so troubled. Being disconnected from God is really terrible; living as a restless wanderer is really painful. Never harden your heart toward God; instead, accept God’s rebuke, repent quickly and do what is right. Cain also said, “Whoever finds me will kill me.He feared that, in the same way he killed his brother, he would be killed. When someone invited him, Hey Cain. Lets have jogging tomorrow morning. Then, Cain was shocked, saying, Why with me??!! When someone invited him to dinner, he was scared. He was the first mental patient in history, suffering from paranoia. When he was angry at God, when he talked back to God, when he did evil with a rebellious spirit, he looked bold. But he was not bold at all, but he was just a slave to his sin of anger. Inside, he was so fearful. There is no one who is bold in sinning. Look at verse 15. Lets read this verse together:

 

But the LORD said to him, Not so; if anyone kills Cain, he will suffer vengeance seven times over. Then, the LORDput a mark on Cain so that no one who found him would kill him. 

 

Practically speaking, Cain was a terrible criminal who did not show any hint of repentance. If Cain lived a long life, he would promote and spread more wickedness on the earth. Cain was a murderer, who did the first degree murder. It would be far better for the sake of the society that this kind of person wasremoved from the street as soon as possible. But God comforted and protected him by establishing a public law in regard to him, saying, “If anyone kills Cain, he will suffer vengeance seven times over.” Then, God put a mark on him so that people might recognize who this man was, and thereby stay away from him.In this way, God protected him so that he might live a long life. Why did God do so? It was because of his love for him and his hope on him. God still hoped that Cain might come back to Him. He still hoped that if Cain lived a long life, he might have a chance to repent and come back to God. This mark was a token of his love and hope for Cain. With God as his own shepherd, Cain refused to repent or listen. Then, was there any hope for Cain to repent on his own without Gods help? Probably, only a slim possibility, if not zero percent. But still, God hoped. Love always hopes. This is the hope God has for all sinners. We can put our hope on anyone because God had hope even on Cain. In this hope, we were saved, and now are enjoying a new life.  

 

Third, Cains descendants and Seth descendants(4:16-5:32). Verses 16 and 17 shows us what kind of life Cain lived after being disconnected from God. He lived in a place called, Nod, which means, wandering. Even though he settled in that place, still his soul was wandering, looking for something that would give him the meaning, purpose and fulfillment of his life. He then, married, had a son, and built a city. Even building a house gives us a sense of achievement, then, what about building a whole city? It is about great achievement. And he named the city after his son. In this way, Cain struggled hard to find the meaning, purpose, and fulfillment of his life inachieving great things in the world, and even in his son. This is the characteristic of the descendants of Cain - struggling hard to find the meaning, purpose and fulfillment in the world, because they cannot find them in God.

 

Verses 18 through 24 mention about Cains descendants. The representatives of Cains descendants str Lamech and his children. Lamech married two wives - he was the first polygamist. He wrote a poem bragging about killing a young man for injuring him - he was like a mean gangster with mean look and angry eyes. His son Jabal became the father of all those who lived in tents and tended flocks. The expression, the father of something refers to a person who leaves a big footprint in a certain area. Before Jabal, there were many who tended flocks such as Abel. But Jabal dedicated himself to this occupation wholeheartedly and made a great success, turning this occupation into a great business; he had maybe, thousandsemployees under his care in this business, making big money. Then, so many others struggled hard to follow his example. In this way, because of him, huge industry was established; he wasthe father of all those who lived in tents and tended flocks. His brother Jubal became the father of all those who played the harp and flute. He was a musician. He dedicated himself to this hobby wholeheartedly, practicing all day long, and finally became excellent in playing the harp and flute that when he played them, people were so touched. So, whenever he had a concert, so many people flocked paying a lot of money for tickets; Jubal became very popular as a musician, receiving honor and making a lot of money. Since then, many music schools were established, and many people followed his example, trying to be world renown musicians. He became the father of those who played the harp and flute. Their half-brother Tubal-Cain was an engineer, forging all kinds of tools out of bronze and iron, developing great technology. Lamechs descendants were very successful, achieving great things in the world, developing great industry, music, and technology. In describing their life, the most outstanding things were what kind of jobs they had, how much money they had made, how successful and famous they were - these were the meaning and purpose of their life. They lived for these. They said, Music is my life. This business is my life. In this way, Cains descendants struggled hard to find something that would give them the meaning, purpose, and fulfillment of their life in the world, because they were disconnected from God. When people do not know God, they try to find the meaning of their life in these things - success, new discovery, new invention, their fame in the world, titles, and positions. They are Cains descendants. Lamechs poem in verses 23 and 24, conclusively shows us how the society was - the society without God was full of violence. Despite the development of industry, music and technology, despite the great achievements of Lamechsons, the society was very dangerous for people to live, and thereby, for their own protection, they had to carry weapons. And Lamech ridiculed Gods law established for Cain; in this way, they despised God, openly attacking God. This is how modern society goes, and how so many people live their lives; its all because they do not know God and are disconnected from God. They are Cains descendants.

 

Look at verses 25 and 26. Cain killed Abel, the line of righteousness. But God reestablished it through Seth. Chapter 5 describes the life of Seth descendants. They also must have had jobs or some of them tended flocks or enjoyed music. But the Bible never mentions about such things in describing the life of Seth descendants, because such things were not important or main point in their life. The most important thing was their relationship with God, which was revealed in their names (their names are all God-related) and how they served God. As we serve God, we too get jobs, do businesses, or do music or art; but such things are not the main point of our life - what kind of job we have, or how much money we make, or how successful we become as artists or musicians are all secondary. We need these things only to support our mission life, the life of serving God. The most important thing in our life is our relationship with God and how we serve Gods purpose. When Sethdescendants pursued the relationship with God, when they strived to serve God, one important key characteristic stood out: They lived very long life, about almost 1,000 years – this was true with them generation after generation. Do you want to live long life? Live as Seth descendants, seeking Gods kingdom and Gods righteousness.

 

The representatives of Seth descendants are Enosh, Enoch, and Noah. Enosh was the son of Seth, and during his time, men began to call on the name of the LORD. The statementmen began to call on the name of the LORD shows that during the time of Enosh, the atmosphere in the society had changed that calling on the name of the Lord became a kind of general consensus. The knowledge of God had spread widely in the society. Before, the worship of God was personal matter among Seths descendants, but during the time of Enoshthere were many churches and people had worship service every week. It was a great turnover. This shows what great influence Enosh had brought to the world. Through his evangelical work, people came to acknowledge God; they had the knowledge of God and began to pray in his name and worship Him in publicNow in our society, the situation goes the opposite – the laws and regulations that are against the Bible are established more and more, and peoples general consensus and lifestyles become more and more ungodly. In this situation, our desire is that the atmosphere in our society may change – for this, we struggle hard to teach the Bible on our campuses. How great it will be when it says, ECC students began to call on the name of the Lord in the time of Sam. The statement, “They began to call on the name of the Lord” then explains the nature of what we are doing as shepherds and shepherdesses on our campus very well. 

 

Enoch was Seth 5th generation – Seth great greatgrandson. He walked with God. This means that he carefully aligned his way, his direction, his life purpose and lifestyle to Gods will and purpose, doing what God wanted him to do, instead of living on his own, or going with the world. So, what did he do? The epistle of Jude shows that Enoch challenged the people of his time with the message of Gods judgment and repentance. Through his complete dedication to Gods work, Enoch pleased God so much that God did not want him to stay on the earth any longer, but in heaven together with him right away. So, while he was alive, God took him away from the earth, and, thereby, Enoch lived a short life - 365 years. When Noah, Seth eighth generation was born, his father saw Gods great vision in his life; so he prophesied that God would bring comfort to His people through Noah.

 

Through these representatives examples, we see how Sethdescendants lived their lives – seeking Gods kingdom work and the right relationship with Him. Then, we can see what we do as shepherds and shepherdesses on our campuses. Simply, we are walking in the footsteps of Seth descendants. IndeedSeth’descendants in our generation.

 

One Word: Do What Is Right

 

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