10 Jan Christi’s Bible Journal Jan 7-13
Reading Genesis has been full of life reminders for me as I read about the first humans on the planet and God’s special love and care for them. I do love the realness of these characters…beauty and ugliness right from the beginning of mankind – the realness of it all. It helps me see myself in it all and helps me see how much God loves me and has something really, really good for me if I CHOOSE HIM. He will never force me to follow Him, but He will lead me and draw me close to Him and give me opportunities to CHOOSE Him. Let me share how what I learned from the first 2 children / manchildren (Gen 4:4) born on the planet:
Heart Attitude is a Choice: Gen 4
Cain. And Abel. Brothers. The first 2 humans born, ever. Cain the eldest and Abel the younger brother.
Cain gives an offering to the Lord. And Able gives an offering to the Lord. And the Lord had regard for Abel and for his offering; but for Cain and for his offering He had no regard. V3-4
What is clear from scripture is that for some reason, the Lord did not accept Cain’s offering. We know that the Lord is just, kind and full of loving mercy. We also know that He knows our hearts. He sees what our motives are. I must assume from the story that Cain’s offering was NOT from a pure heart, or was NOT from his first fruits, or something that would cause the Lord to disregard it. Cain messed up. He sinned.
Contrast that with Abel: “Abel brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions”. V4
“Cain became very angry and his countenance fell” v5.
I’ve been angry before, a lot of times. I know what that feels like to have my countenance fall. It feels good for a second- just a second, and then – not really good at all – just seems like itmight be good to justify what I thought was right, when now I have an inkling that it was wrong. It’s embarrassing to see yourself in the wrong. Humiliating. Sometimes Self doubt, self hatred and other wrong views of myself crowd my mind when I’m confronted with my sin, caught in the act. It’s hard to just listen to God’s voice and let go of the anger.
“Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen?”
Cain was confronted with his heart attitude, his sin and his anger with God for not looking the other way or “letting him off the hook this time” or whatever reason was running through Cain’s mind to justify why God should have let him get away with his sin. God asked him the obvious question: “why are you angry?” Cain was probably thinking – “Really Lord?, can’t you just overlook this, just this once? You’re making me look stupid in front of my younger brother. I didn’t really do anything that bad, right? Why are you calling me out?”
I also know how that feels too. Sometimes it’s easier to stew for a while and be angry, and to be bummed and not sorry for what wrong I’ve done. I think that’s what Cain was doing. He was angry and he wanted God to overlook his wrong sacrifice and wanted God to be happy with what little or wrong thing he had done – he was justifying his sin and his wrong thinking – instead of changing his heart attitude…his countenance. Soooo he got angry at God for not approving his sin.
God wanted a changed attitude. A countenance that was not fallen. A pure heart.
The question the Lord asks Cain, “Why are you angry and why has your countenance fallen?” seems to imply that Cain had a choice to do something about changing his countenance – like he has a choice in how he responds right now. He messed up. He got found out. He also got compared to the only other human besides his mom and dad- on the planet – his little brother. And his little brother was being honored above him. That stung. Ouch! So…how does Cain respond? With Anger. Sinful anger.
How does Cain respond when the creator God of Heaven speaks to him directly and asks him about it? With more anger. Cain CHOOSES to let his countenance – his attitude- fall down.
Again – I know how that feels…to nurse that anger and justify my own actions, when something inside of me is telling me to apologize, to change my “countenance”, my heart attitude, to turn back and repent and listen to the Lord. Uggh
Cain. Abel. Countenance- heart attitude. Choice. God lets us choose HIM.
Cain chose sin and death.
What will I choose?
Thank you, Lord for that quiet, strong voice inside myself. Your spirit speaks to me. You teach me and guide me. You lead me in the right ways. I chose to follow you. Please keep me from my anger and my self-righteousness. Cain was not happy, he was not fulfilled. He chose wrong. His wrong choices led him to make more wrong choices and kill his only brother. Help me chose right. I choose you, Lord. Amen
Have a Great Week! I look forward to hearing about what God is speaking you this week!