Monday, January 3, 2011

January 2 - Cain, Abel, Seth, Noah

Genesis 4:1-5:32; 1Chronicles1:1-4; Genesis 6:1-22

Banished from the perfect life in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve are now clothed in animal skins fashioned by the Creator Himself. I think it is safe to assume that when these animals were offered up to make coverings, God was instructing the first family of the necessity for blood sacrifice as a form of redemptive worship. The couple then carries on with the command to be fruitful and multiply. So with God’s help, enter Cain, the firstborn. Next up in the first family, is Abel.

The essential part of sacrifice is handed down to the offspring, but something happens. God finds pleasure only in Abel’s offering, but not Cain’s. The conversation gives us clues, that perhaps it is not the gift of the crops Cain offered, but the attitude of his heart that was the problem. “Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you.”

Cain, in his anger, kills Abel and denies to the Lord what happened to him. Cain’s casual dismissal is met with God’s divine curse.  He is cast out away from his family, decreed that his farming efforts will be futile, and his attempts to find good soil will cause him to become a “restless wanderer on the earth.” This wandering brings him to the land of Nod, where he takes a wife. The most talked about wife in all of history is Cain’s, and the question is,  "who exactly is she"? Adam lived to be 930 years old, and other records indicate that he had many offspring. So the most likely answer to this question is that she is a sister or a niece. If you would like to read more about it, you can check this out...Cain's Wife: It Really Does Matter.

 As Cain starts a family and generations pass, a prosperous city takes form in the land of Nod. His descendants are entrepreneurs, musicians, engineers and craftsman. But the founder is a known murderer and the record also includes the first mention of multiple marriages, along with an incident where unwarranted violence is justified. One can surmise, that education, skill and giftedness are not necessarily a guarantee for godliness.  “It’s not how close we live to a great city, but how close we live to a great God.”

Meanwhile, Eve gives birth to Seth, and after his son Enosh is born,  “people first began to worship the Lord by name.” As we continue on in history and population increases, it becomes apparent that God is not happy with the spiritual condition of his people, There is some discussion among scholars as to just how the corruption and increased moral depravity transpired. What we do know, is that God decreases the mortality rate to 120 years, and His heart breaks over having created them. If it were not that Noah (a descendant of Seth) was found to be righteous, every living thing would have been destroyed. But God, in His mercy, decides to spare Noah, his family, and a boat full of animals. He gives instructions and in obedience, “Noah did everything exactly as God had commanded him.”

Coming soon to the Heartland,  Planned Noah's Ark Park .

These Biblical records give me pause, especially in this New Year, to ask God to reveal the answers to two questions. First, are my attitudes and motivations pure as I live and breathe and enjoy this gift of life in God’s world?  And secondly, am I using my gifts, talents and resources for the benefit and influence of the culture in positive, God –honoring ways? This is my heart's desire.

Be Blessed…and stay tuned!

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