Saturday, January 14, 2012

Genesis 4

Today's reading in our daily plan is Genesis 4. Take a moment to pray, asking God to speak to you from this passage. Then read, using the following notes and questions to help you get everything out of the passage.

SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
  • In this chapter, the first murder was recorded. Adam and Eve had two sons, Cain and Abel. Cain and Abel took offerings to God from their work and gave it to him as a form of worship. However, Abel took his best and Cain gave God his leftovers. So, God accepted Abel’s gift because it showed his heart was turned towards God. God rejected Cain’s gift because it showed Cain was selfishly concerned about himself. God even told Cain that if he had done what was right, he would have gladly accepted the gift.
  • Then Cain kills his brother Abel because he was jealous that God favored Abel’s gift. Sounds insane, right? Well, it kind of is. If Cain would simply have given God his best, God would have accepted his gift too. Instead, Cain’s solution was to kill his brother and lie to God about it. This is why God banished Cain from his people.
  • Now you might be thinking the same thing I am: Where did all these other people come from in this chapter? Honestly, we don’t know. We can only assume this event took place a long time after the first three chapters in Genesis. And what about the “mark” placed on Cain? We have no idea what this was either. Any suggestion given would be pure speculation.

SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)

  • In reading about Cain and Abel’s gifts, we learn that God doesn’t want our leftovers. God wants us to think of him first; this is the first mention in the Bible of an offering being brought to God and is one of the reasons we still do that in the church today. Us giving at church is one more way we worship God. But notice God didn’t want to be “tipped out” by Cain. Rather, God accepted Abel’s gift because it was a sacrifice. Abel could have given God the old sheep who were about to die but instead, he chooses to give God his best newborn sheep. God accepts our gifts to him when they’re not an afterthought because then he knows we really want to worship him.

NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)

  • Have you ever heard someone use the phrase; “I’m not my brother’s keeper”? This is the phrase Cain used when God asked Cain about his brother that he had killed. So, next time you hear the phrase, think about this story and the principle we learned. God deserves our best and won’t settle for anything less.