Genesis 4: 1-10 – The World in Front of the Text

Last week in our Rooted readings we looked at that wonderful chapter in Hebrews, chapter 11. That is a such a wonderful passage of scripture, giving examples of so many saints in the Old Testament.  The next few weeks we’ll look at many of the saints that are mentioned in this chapter.  This week we are going to look deeper at Genesis 4:1-10, the story of Cain and Able:

1 Now the man knew his wife Eve, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, “I have produced a man with the help of the Lord.” 2 Next she bore his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain a tiller of the ground. 3 In the course of time Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground, 4 and Abel for his part brought of the firstlings of his flock, their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering, 5 but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell. 6 The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your countenance fallen? 7 If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is lurking at the door; its desire is for you, but you must master it.” 8 Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let us go out to the field.” And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel, and killed him. 9 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?” He said, “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?” 10 And the Lord said, “What have you done? Listen; your brother’s blood is crying out to me from the ground!

Today, we will look at this text and story and what it can mean to us in our lives.  For me, when I read this passage, I see for Able the importance of pleasing God.  He gives his absolute best to God, his firstborn of the flock and the fattest portions of that, as an offering of thanks to God.

I mentioned this yesterday because the Hebrew alludes to it, but it should be significant to our understanding that Cain isn’t “wrong” for what he does, he does his duty.  Able is not concerned with duty, he is concerned with worship and with pleasing God.  That is the area of faith.

Able is an example and an icon of faith because of how he handles this offering.  He is motivated by faith and that faith led him to not only withhold anything from God but even as he was killed for his faithfulness, know that this world was not his home.  He could withhold nothing from God because even the greatest offerings of this world pale in the light of the glory of God.  What is any of this, in comparison with God’s goodness?  Faith keeps us grounded in what is right and good and holy.  Faith motivated Able to please God.  That so, he withheld nothing.

Today, may we withhold nothing from God.  May we follow in the steps of Able.

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