Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Cain and Abel
The next story in Genesis after the fall of man is about two brothers, Cain and Abel. They were the first two sons of Adam and Eve, according to Genesis 4. I am not teaching this story next week for a couple of reasons, But mainly because I had to pick and choose what I would want to present in this Bible survey, and though I LOVE the book of Genesis, I couldn't include all the wonderful stories.
So I figured I would touch on the story here on my blog. Here is a brief synopsis of the account:
Two brothers, one a farmer (Cain), the other a shepherd (Abel), bring offerings to the Lord. Abel and his offering of a lamb were accepted by the Lord, but Cain and his offering were rejected. This upset Cain and his countenance fell and he became angry. This is actually the first biblical account of depression.
So God counsels Cain and tells him that he should try again - "If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it." But Cain does not heed the Lord's counsel and in a fit of rage, he murders his brother.
Because of his actions, God banishes Cain from his family and sends him out to wander as a vagrant. Cain fears that he will be murdered himself outside the protection of his home, so the Lord put a mark on him so that no one would slay him.
Now, there are two things I want to point out. First, did you notice what God's counsel for depression is? If you do what is right, your countenance will be lifted. Modern psychology today says that you cannot do what is right (be functional in society or your job) until you feel better. But God's counsel is absolutely the OPPOSITE of that - if you do what is right first, your feelings will follow.
Flesh that out a bit - if you are a teacher and are battling depression, often times your grading starts to pile up on you. You don't have the energy to grade after school and in a very short time you find yourself way behind. God says, do your work - force yourself to get going - split your pile into five smaller piles and do one pile each day and by the weekend, it will be finished! How will that make you feel? When you do what's right, your feelings will follow...
And second - people often ask who would kill Cain? Wasn't he the first child born to Adam and Eve? Well, it ends up being a math problem. After Abel died, Adam and Eve had another son, Seth. Genesis 5:3 tells us that Adam was 130 when Seth was born. Since Adam was created with age (not as a newborn), it is possible that Cain was 129 at that point. If Adam and Eve were fruitful for that 130 years, including multiple births, and once their children were of child bearing age, they married and had children, it is possible that by the time of Abel's murder there could have been anywhere from 20,000 to 420,000 people on the earth. (Depending on the age they started to have children.)
All this to say, when Cain makes that complaint, it was a valid complaint.
Enough on Cain...I'll write more on Abel another day...