If you are joining the challenge you are supposed to be reading Genesis 13-24 today :)
If you don't know what I'm talking about, read yesterday's post.
If you read the first 12 chapters of Genesis yesterday with me, wasn't it full of action!? The creation of the world, the fall of man, Cain and Abel, the flood, the splintering of the people groups, the Tower of Babel and the very beginnings of the story of Abram (Abraham). Wow - all packed into 12 chapters. Many theologians say that the first 11-12 chapters of Genesis are the foundations of society today.
Some of the principles found in these chapters:
1. Our God is powerful and creative - He spoke the world into existence and everything has been made with thought and purpose.
2. All life has value - people are made in the image of God and He views us as His creation as very good.
3. Marriage is important and ordained by God.
4. People will mess up - God gave us free will so that we may choose to love and follow Him, but we can also choose to gratify our own desires. Many wonder why all of mankind was cursed just because of the mistake of two people - it's because we all would make the same mistakes eventually.
5. The curses cause us to look for a Savior - because we are all in need of one.
6. The flood explains many of the questions concerning the earth's current form and fossil records.
7. God had a plan from the beginning - Abram becomes the family line in which all people will be blessed.
And that's only the tip of the iceberg!
A couple of random observations I had concerning the story of Cain and Abel:
First, so many children's Bibles and Sunday School lessons show the first family as a family of four - Adam, Eve with their two sons, Cain and Abel. This is where I need to remind myself and caution others to always go back to Scriptures when teaching our young people. It does not say that Cain was the first born it just basically recounts a dispute between two brothers. They could not have been the only children at the time... some clues are found in Genesis 4:14 and also in verse 17. After God cursed Cain for his wicked deed against his brother, Cain responded with fear for his life. In verse 14 he says, "I will be a restless wanderer on the earth and whoever finds me will kill me." Who would be around to find him? Obviously the earth was quite inhabited by this time. Also in verse 17 it speaks of Cain's wife. Cain had to have married a sister. So let's be careful as to what we depict and teach our children, because false details of stories can become stumbling blocks in later years.
Second, in regards to the sacrifices presented by Cain and Abel. We need to trust that God is faithful and consistent. I am sure Cain knew what was expected of him when he made his sacrifice, for a reason not fully explained, God refused his offering. When reading these chapters last night a new thought entered my head... and I'm not sure if it has any significance in regards to Cain and Abel or not. In Genesis chapter 9, when Noah and his family were able to exit the ark, God made a covenant with Noah. At this time God also now broadens the food supply for humans. If you remember God had only given Adam and Eve the permission to eat plants (Genesis 2:8-9, and 16-17), but in 9:3 God said to Noah, "Everything that lives and moves will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything." He then goes on in the following verses to establish the importance of the "lifeblood" - maybe Abel's offering had that much more significance because he offered portions from the firstborn of his flock at a time when the killing of animals was rare since they were not used for food consumption? Abel's offering at least shows he either felt the severe weight of his sin or he realized the holiness and glory of God. Once again, just an observation I had.... which does not make it a correct one.
So I hope you're reading and making connections and seeing things in a new light. And I hope you continue on for today (only 99 days left until spring! yay!!).