lightenload

Come with me on a spiritual Journey!

Archive for the month “July, 2019”

The Cain Way

Usually by reading the Bible we can get a pretty direct interpretation.  However there are times that we need to dig a little deeper into the passage.  I’m thinking about the story of Cain and Abel.  They were brothers parented by Adam and Eve.  Cain was a worker of the soil while Abel was a keeper of the flocks.  Both were much needed and necessary.  When they both made an offering to the Lord Cain brought his vegetables he had grown while Abel brought his firstlings of his flock and of the fat therof.  And Jehovah had respect onto Abel and his offering but to Cain and his offering he had not respect.  And Cain was very wroth and his countenance fell.  Genesis 4 verses 3-5.  To help me understand what that last sentence meant I looked up the words wroth and countenance.  Wroth means intensely angry, highly incensed, Wrathful.  Other synonyms of wroth include fuming, hot, furious, and outraged.  Countenance has to do with a persons face or facial expression.  So Cain’s facial expression changed as he became angry.  Now I can see the picture of someone who is upset, mad , and furious and his face telling the same story even without words.

Image result for Cain and abel photo

I used to think that Cain’s offering wasn’t respected because it was not a blood offering.  We know in the old testament the sacrifice of blood covered people’s sins.  However nowhere in the passage is this offering described as a sacrifice.  This was an offering unto God.  Logically God wouldn’t have expected Cain or Abel to offer something they didn’t have.   Cain was a worker of the soil so what he had to offer was the vegetables he grew.  The other misconception I had after my blood sacrifice theory that went up in smoke was the thought that Cain didn’t give his best vegetables.  We know that Abel gave his best because the passage suggests it.  But it doesn’t say anywhere that God was not happy with Cain because his offering was rotten or worm infested or he gave the smallest worst ones.  On the contrary I believe that Cain gave his best too.

We are not told why Cain’s offering was not respected.  However the passage doesn’t just mention his offering.  It states that Cain and his offering were not respected.  It also states that Abel and his offering were.  Now maybe we can find some clarity there.  Could it be that both offerings could have been respected and the real answer lies within the brothers?  Could it be that because Cain’s heart was not in the right place his offering was viewed as bad too?   Cain’s offering was something that Cain had to work for.  He had to til the soil and do all of the hard labor that it takes to grow things.  Abel’s offering had nothing to do with Abel.  He just offered something that God had given to him.  In reality Cain’s offering was given to him too but could it be that Cain was proud of what he did?   We know that God looks at the heart in anything we do.  That is why the poor widow who only gave one small coin in the new testament was commended by Jesus of giving more than all of the other people who were giving.  While the others it was explained were giving just a portion of what they had the poor widow gave all that she had.  It was a heart gift that went way beyond it’s man made monetary value.

To further the argument that Cain’s problem was a heart thing instead of the actual offering that he gave I offer this.  Cain was truly disappointed that his offering was not accepted.  It states that his head which was probably raised in pride for the things he had grown was now dropped in sorrow.  In life we are going to have disappointments and it is OK to feel that way.  However it is never OK to be bitter and worse to stay that way.  It doesn’t state anywhere that Cain asked God why his offering wasn’t accepted.  Wouldn’t you think that it would be the logical question to ask especially if you were trying to please God?  Cain did not ask the question because it was obvious to him what the answer was.

God knew Cain’s heart so it was no surprise to him how Cain reacted.  Cain reacted in anger and hate.  Have you ever heard it said that it doesn’t matter what happens it is how we react to it that counts?  In this example we can almost see through Cain by how he reacted.  He was furious and it mirrored what was on the inside. It wasn’t enough for him to be upset though.  He could have asked God how he could make it right but he wasn’t interested in that.  He was upset because God knew the condition of his heart which went far beyond the offering that he gave.

I’m going to draw a few conclusions from the passage based on human nature and the evidence of the story.  Cain did not love his brother Abel.  To him it was a competition of who did the most important thing.  Cain thought for sure that God would be more pleased with the offering he worked so hard to get. In his mind Abel job was just leading animals around.  Cain felt like his offering was special and he was proud of the results that he was able to produce.

Isn’t that the way of the world today?  In our world a persons worth is associated with what he or she accomplishes.  This is the Cain way of thinking and is totally against God’s way.  In God’s way it is a matter of the heart.  Why do we do the things we do?  Do we do things to get praise from the world?  If Cain had seen the error of his ways and had been sorrowful and had repented I am sure that God would have been pleased.  However that was not Cain’s attitude.

So what does Cain do?  He is so bitter and angry that he calls his brother to come into the field with him.  I contend that this was not the beginning of this hatred.  I don’t think that Cain loved his brother from the start.  In fact I think he hated his brother from the beginning.  If he loved Abel he would have been happy for him that God accepted his offering.  On the contrary his anger showed how selfish he was.  In his mind it was Abel’s fault that God did not accept his offering.  This hate had probably built up over a long period of time and this was the straw that broke the camel’s back.   Abel probably thought that his brother wanted to discuss something.  Never in his heart did he think his brother meant harm.  I believe that Abel loved his brother and had a loving heart.  Cain murdered his brother and buried him.  Later God asked Cain where his brother was?  Cain answered that he didn’t know…”am I my brothers keeper?”, he stated.

A man with his hands covered with mud

The fact is we are our brothers keeper.  We should be concerned about others because we love them.  God is the only one who can put that love into our hearts.  He looks into our hearts for our true motives.  Our accomplishments in this life mean nothing without God.  Cain didn’t come to the conclusion that everything that he grew was a gift from God.  He was in the human mindset that if he worked hard he would produce results.  God was not in his equation.  Cain’s heart was filled with hate and felt he was the one who determined his own success.   That is called the Cain way and is totally against the word of God.  When we accept Jesus into our lives he puts a loving spirit inside.  Now we start doing things in love not because we have to but because of the desire to do so.  Now there is a new purpose in our lives when we realize that everything that we have or ever will be is a gift from God!  Everywhere we look we see the Cain way in action.  It is the attitude that we are our own God and we control our success.  If you feel that way come to God and he will get down to the heart of the matter!

Advertisements

A Fly In The Eye From The Rooftop

The title of the sermon was called “God Already Knows.”  Of course we all think well of course he does because he is God.  Yet we sometimes pray like God doesn’t know anything and we have to explain everything to him.  There was a story that happened to him that week that he was almost hesitant to tell us.  He was thinking that it was kind of gross and he let us know that he may or may not include it.  The sermon went on and the point kept coming back to however big or small our problems God already knows.  To add to that it was stated that not only does he know the problem he already has the solution.  Jesus instructed in the book of Matthew to not say vain Religious prayers repeating the same things over and over.  In Matthew 6:8 he states that “Our Father knows what we have need of before we ask him.

The sermon was concluding and my pastor had been waiting for the spirit to tell him whether to include the story.  The answer that he got was yes so he proceeded.  This past week he was riding his bike with his son.  He often rides his bike as a way of exercise and the fact that he just enjoys the process.  Suddenly without warning  he felt a sharp pain in his right eye.  Right away he knew what happened.  A fly had literally flew into his right eye.  Not only was there the initial pain but the fly was trying to get out but was trapped behind his eye.  They were not far from the church so they stopped there and he flooded his eye with water from the sink sprayer.  He tried repeatedly to wash the fly out but to no avail.  He was tempted to go to the emergency room but he felt that God had the answer.  He prayed “Lord, I don’t know why this has happened but I believe that it will work out for my good.”  He quoted Romans 8:28 which states that all things work for our good if we love him.  It took a couple of hours of waiting but suddenly little pieces of the dead fly began to come out of his eye. 

Finally all of the fly was gone but there was another problem and potential fear.  First of all his eye was swelled up like someone had punched him.  Secondly there was a thought that some damage to his eye had been caused.  Again he went into prayer.  “Lord”, he said “I ask you to take this swelling down and make this eye just like it was.”  A couple of days later all of the swelling was gone and his eye was perfectly normal.  I was glad that he told us this story.  It illustrated the point that God knows and he already has the solution to our problems.  Most of us would probably had gone to the Emergency Room and tried to solve our problem that way.  We might not even think about praying and trusting God.  I don’t know what the purpose of this happening to him was.  However I can tell you that it made a big impact on the congregation when he was able to give God the glory over his recent trial.  God looks down almost as if he were on a rooftop and see’s our needs!

This eye thing was kind of a big problem.  God is interested in our big problems and our smaller ones too.  Sometimes we might think that God is too busy to care about the smaller things and that we should only pray for bigger problems.  The fact is that God is interested in our whole lives, the little as well as the big.  The roof on our house was 25 years old.  It had not given us significant trouble but it was time for a new roof.  This spring I started exploring what the price of a roof would cost.  Naturally this was not a job that would be cheap.  Besides that we needed someone who would do a good job.  I made some phone calls and mostly got answering machines.  After leaving a few messages that morning I took my son out for lunch.  We stopped at a place called Taco Bob’s and as we were done ordering and had sat down Adam from our church walked in.  We were surprised to see him and quickly let him know that we were there.  He happened to be doing work in that area that day and was glad to sit down and eat lunch with us.  I asked him if he knew anyone that he would recommend doing my roof?  I told him I had been calling around this morning.  He said he had the perfect guy for us that did great work!Image result for rooftop worker picture

I ended up hiring this guy after I had gotten another quote from a bigger company that was far more expensive.  The guy did a fine job and even replaced face boards on our house that were rotting.   I was so happy with his work that I have been telling others  I took a picture of my new roof and let people see the before and the after.  It is truly an amazing difference!  Now I know that my situation wasn’t of the fly in the eye variety but it was important to me.  God truly wants to be a part of our lives whether it is a little thing or a big thing or nothing at all.

I was talking to Adam at church the other day.  I showed him the picture and told him how great of a job his friend did!  “You know”, Adam said “I never go there.  I just happened to be working in that area on that day.”  Could it be that he was placed there for my benefit without even knowing it?  Could it be that God had the answer to my problem before I asked?  When God blesses us we are to shout it from the rooftops.  In my case I haven’t been literally climbing up on the roof to do so but seeing the new roof every day reminds me of how much he loves us!

Matthew 10:27 (NAS) “What I tell you in the darkness, speak in the light; and what you hear whispered in your ear, proclaim upon the housetops.

Post Navigation