The spiritual lessons this week will be taken from Genesis 4 in the New Living Translation, the story of Cain and Abel. As you will probably discover throughout the week, there is a little of Cain and a little Abel in all of us. The story is about how Abel died at the hands of his brother Cain. This huge mistake left Cain with a mark that would always remind him of Abel. It seems to me that Cain deserved to die but God gave him grace. The story of Cain is really a story of grace. We have a choice in our lives. We all have Cain and Abel inside of us. Who will we choose to be?
As the story goes, one day, “while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother, Abel, and killed him.” (Genesis 4:8b)”
It would have been so much better that day in the field if Cain would have allowed his pride to die. Instead, for the first time in history Cain would experience the sting of death. Up until that point, the only things that had died were animals that were used either for sacrifice or for food or clothing. Cain and Abel’s parents, Adam and Eve, had been told that they would die, but they were still alive at that point. Intellectually, they must have known it was possible to die but since no one had died, they had never experienced death. The first death would not come from old age or sickness. It would come from murder.
The brothers presented gifts to the Lord; Abel brought the best portions of the firstborn lambs while Cain brought the best of his crops (Genesis 4). The Lord accepted Abel’s gift, but not Cain’s. The Lord later discussed the issue with Cain further.
‘Why are you so angry?’ the LORD asked Cain. ‘Why do you look so dejected? You will be accepted if you do what is right. But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out!”(Genesis 4:6-7a)
However, still furious, Cain invited Abel out to the field. As you read the story you can sense that something bad was going to happen. It is the horror movie scene where everybody knows what is next and doesn’t want to watch. You want to cry out “Don’t go, it’s a trap!” Suddenly Cain rose up in a fit of rage and murdered his him. His pride got the best of him that day and he killed his brother. Cain chose to blame Abel for his own poor choice rather than face the consequence and swallow his pride.
Pride has been killing people ever since. We do not always physically hurt people, but with our words and our thoughts we murder them in our hearts. I wish Abel hadn’t died that day, instead I wish that Cain had dealt with his dangerous heart condition. All of us have that same condition of the heart. It is our pride that is killing people and our pride that is killing us.
We all need a day where we admit our failure to control our lives without hurting anyone. Our ideas and plans only bring pain and death to others and ourselves. This day is a defining day for us. It is the day our pride dies. It is the day we seek and find the grace that comes from Jesus who defeated death on the cross. Often times this day comes in a moment of humiliation. All of the sudden our sins are not hidden anymore. The pain of our choices becomes real to us. We have no choice but to let our pride die and bend our knees and ask forgiveness. Then a miracle happens. We come to life through Christ.
Proverbs 16:18 (MSG) says, “First pride, then the crash – the bigger the ego, the harder the fall.” Can you think of a time when you have “crashed” due to your own pride (with your kids, spouse, people at work, etc.)?
James 4:7-8 says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and God will come close to you.” How do you “resist the devil” and “come close to God” in your own life?
Have you ever done something hurtful and mean (physical harm or hurtful words) out of anger to loved ones? Were you able to admit you were wrong? And if so, was it hard to do?
Our devotion series this week is adapted from the new book ‘Tale of Two Brothers’ by Dan & Ron Kellogg. Find out more and purchase the book here! You can get the book FREE on Monday, 09/26 and every Sunday from 09/25-10/16 on Amazon Kindle. Don’t miss out on this free download!