Friday, May 22, 2015

All Things New -- Cain: The Bitter Road

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

I suppose it's just logical that when things begin in perfection the first series of transitions will not be good ones...human kind did not make stellar choices in the beginning.

First Adam and Eve chose to believe a lie the enemy told them...then Cain chose to believe a lie that was apparently his own fabrication.

We really don't know what it meant that God favored Abel's offering and had no favor for Cain's.  Did fire fall and consume one offering and not the other?  Was there apparent blessing on Abel's life after his offering and not on Cain's?

Scripture doesn't tell us.

It's also not specific about why Abel's offering was superior to Cain's.  I have heard people teach that it was because  Abel's offering was a blood offering and Cain's was not...but there is nothing here to indicate that this was specifically an offering for atonement.  The book of Leviticus describes all kinds of offerings...sin offerings, fellowship offerings,  offerings made to fulfill vows, etc, and not all of them involved animal sacrifices.

I think the only clue we have is that Abel is described as bringing a firstborn  from his flock and fat, he brought the best of what he had.  Cain brought some of his crop.   Abel's offering was a sacrifice.  Cain's offering...well, apparently didn't cost him much.

In other words, it wasn't the specific offering that was the big was the attitude with which the offering was brought.

And Cain was defensive.  He was angry that his offering was not deemed acceptable.

He was mad that God would not allow him to determine what constituted proper worship.

Think about that a moment.   Cain wanted to define how he worshiped God.  And God did not acknowledge it.

In fact, God pointed out to him that nothing was preventing him from obtaining God's favor except his own choices:

Why are you angry?...If you do what is right, will you not be accepted?  (Gen. 4:6 - 7a; all scripture today from the NIV 84)

This was not a mystery of guess-what-will-please God, Cain KNEW what was expected...his father had taught him, his past relationship with God had taught him.  Simple.  If you want God's favor, just do what God has instructed you to do.

God went on to describe the conflict Cain was facing:

If you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it. (Gen 4:7b)

God did not prevent Cain from making his own choice.

Cain had the power to choose to be accepted.  Instead, he chose rejection.

He could not possibly have believed killing his brother was the 'right' that God encouraged him to do.  Therefore, he must have convinced himself that it did not matter what God accepted or did not accept, he was going to make his own way and please himself.  Abel's existence in God's favor did not please him.

So, for the first time, God pronounces a curse on a person:

Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground...when you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you.  You will be a restless wanderer on the earth.  - (Gen. 4:11)

Here is Cain's first transition:  the only occupation he had known, that which he enjoyed and performed well, was stripped from him.  He had to find another way to survive.

And here is is second transition: he went out from the presence of God (Gen 4:16).

There is no evidence that he ever regretted, mourned, confessed, or repented of what he had done.  He chose rejection and he walked it out.  He built a city based on his rejection and determination to please himself.

Scripture records the generations that followed of skill and men of violence.  His choice not only affected him, it affected all of his children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  They all were born and grew to maturity outside of the presence of God.  They never knew Cain's father Adam, who had walked with God in the garden.

God KNEW what was in Cain's heart.  Yet He allowed Cain to make his own choices...murder, rebellion, ultimately creating a society that rejected God to such an extreme that God destroyed them and started again.

Such is the legacy of one who makes the choice to disregard what God has clearly said and choose to please oneself...and who is then angry that God does not acknowledge that choice.

There are so many applications of this to the world we find ourselves in today that I'm not even going to try and deal with them all.  My prayer is simply this...Lord,  point out to me and anyone who happens by this little corner of the blogsphere those areas in which we are choosing rejection.  Give each of us the wisdom and understanding to confess and repent of those areas and do what is right.  In Jesus' name, Amen.

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