Adam and Eve continued their family problems as the fourth chapter of Genesis introduced us to the oldest lesson in the Bible. The account of Cain and Abel shows perfectly the joys of serving God and the consequences of disobedience. This account tells us how to be pleasing to God and how to disappoint God. It tells us what good God can produce in us through His revelation and what bad things can be conjured through our imagination.
In Heb. 11:4, the Bible tells us that it was Abel who offered a more excellent sacrifice than Cain did and it was from that sacrifice that he obtained witness that he was righteous. One of the joys of being a child of God and having the opportunity to serve Him with gladness is the fact that we can know assuredly that we are righteous.
In Jer. 23:1-8 we understand that in the rebuke of the pastors of Judah and Israel, the prophet explains that our righteousness is in the Lord and that being true, everyone who is “in the Lord” has obtained righteousness through Him. Abel’s witness, therefore, is in God reaching down from heaven and consuming his offering (I Chr. 21: 26 and 2 Chr. 7:1) and likewise with us as Paul said, “…like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”
Jude well documents the perils of traveling “the way of Cain.” Cain had his own ideas about how God should be to him. Cain obviously took God’s word as a suggestion instead of heeding the Master’s voice. Even in the text where God gave him an opportunity to turn from his ways (Gen. 4:5-7) he chose instead to go his own way and kill his brother – which led to Cain being banished from the presence of God. This must be the wickedest of states to be in. Who would want to be alienated from God?
But, dear reader, isn’t there a little “Cain” in us all? Why is it that we knowingly do things? Sometimes we even plan to do things wrong. God’s word tells us to have self control, yet when someone crosses us we let them have it. If we don’t lay hands on them, we definitely have a few choice words for them. God’s word requires us to love one another, but for some reason we always want to love the people who are easy to love. As for the challenging folks – they don’t stand a chance. And some of us believe that it’s ok to not show love to the people who make life difficult for us. It’s hard! We remember that it’s God we want to serve, it’s just that we remember that too late. And so quickly things are said or done that we wish we could take back.
Thank God that there is hope for us. We live in this flesh and until we are changed at Judgment Day to put on incorruption, we will sin. God knew this so He sent Jesus to take our punishment. As a result, we now have the forgiveness of sins, a promised inheritance and God’s Spirit with us. What God is expecting from us is that we walk by faith. We’re not called to be perfect, but we are called to be faithful. Catch the difference: Faith requires us to hear, believe, trust and obey. We hear God’s word. We believe that his word is true. We trust that the things said in his word will come to pass and then we obey what it says. This does not make us perfect – it makes us pleasing to God.
To answer the question is our heart’s right with God, we must first establish who we hear, who we believe, who we trust and who we obey. If I still think that I have value (in and of myself) and have taken credit for my good fortune, then I should hear myself. If I believe that God is far greater than I am and His thoughts are not my thoughts and His ways are far above my ways, then I should hear Him. The choice is really simple. It’s the consistency that’s going to kill us.
Be encouraged my friends that despite the odds and everything that we see, God is in control and can definitely be trusted. Make peace with the Almighty and live faithful unto Him. For the 117th division of Psalm states: “O praise the LORD, all ye nations: praise Him, all ye people. For His merciful kindness is great toward us: and the truth of the LORD endures forever. Praise ye the LORD.”