Sunday, January 13, 2013

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?)
  • This chapter records the first murder. 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. Then Cain kills his brother Abel because he was jealous that God favored Abel’s gift. 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.
  • An obvious question is: Where did all these other people come from in this chapter? Honestly, we don’t know the answer. We might assume this event took place a long time after the first three chapters in Genesis. 
  • God puts a “mark” on Cain to show other people God was still protecting Cain even though he was kicked out of the garden.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
  • Cain and Abel give God offerings. First and foremost is to give our lives as an offering. Romans 12:1 says this is central act of worship. Colossians 3:17 teaches us that part of offering God our lives is doing everything for him.
  • Another offering we still give to God is our money. The Bible says we should give from our finances to God both generously and cheerfully.
  • We learn in this story that anything we offer to God needs our best. 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.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
  • What are you offering to God? Have you been holding back your time or resources from him? Or perhaps, like Cain, you're giving him your leftovers rather than your best? (Leftover time at the end of the day rather than the first minutes you wake up? Leftover money at the end of the month? Leftover attention after you check Facebook or other social media?) If so, since God rejected Cain's offering, would he reject yours too?
  • God accepted Abel's gift because it was a true sacrifice. How can you change your attitude towards God and giving towards him, so you can start cheerfully making sacrifices for him? What is a specific sacrifice you can make in offering to God this week? Do it, and don't hold back!