Saturday, March 13, 2010

The 21st Century Cain

Genesis 4:1-12

Hmmm, interesting quote here from Cain is it not.  In his jealousy and rage over being rejected, instead of bearing the responsibility for change and correction, he lashes out in self-centered antagonism and destroys the one who reflects back at him his failure and shortcoming, his Brother, whom he is juxtaposed against in his own mind.  The Lord approaches Cain and asks the question He already knows the answer to and Cain defends himself with that infamous response which even today echoes, "Am I my brother's keeper?"  He disavowed any responsibility for his brother; Abel was Abel's responsibility and Cain was Cain's responsibility.

But, despite the ruthlessness of the act, at least Cain only went after Abel.  I wonder if today's rendition of this passage would have went something more like this had it occurred with a 21st century Cain.

8 Now Cain said to his brother the Cain, "Let's go out to the field."  And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel's faith and told him he had killed God.  He left God slain in the field, a bloody victim of Cain's attack on Abel's faith.  Abel and Cain left the field, and forgot about offerings altogether and enjoyed their new found freedom.

 9 Then the LORD said to Cain, "Where is your brother Abel's faith?"

      "I don't know," he replied. "Am I my own keeper? Am I responsible for what I do?  If you are real, aren't you responsible for this mess we're in?  And if you aren't real, what difference does it make anyway?"

 10 The LORD said, "What have you done? Listen! Your brother's blood and those all around him and the blood of the culture cries out to me from the ground. 11 Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother's blood from your hand. 12 When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth.  Cain said, "I didn't care much for farming anyway.  I think I'll start writing philosophy books instead.  It's easier than working the land and it pays a lot better as well."

Friday, March 5, 2010


Matthew 4:1-11

Something struck me about method while I was reading this passage.  The enemy chose an opportune moment to attack Jesus.  After forty days in the desert, His physical weakness would have been great even if he would have had something to eat.  But interesting to me, is that we see the enemy trying to destroy Jesus from the inside in these passages.  Then, for the rest of His ministry, the enemy spent his time trying to destroy Him from the outside.

Methods haven't changed much over history.  If the enemy can't get you to surrender, then he'll enlist other people or circumstances to destroy you.  Jesus spent the rest of His ministry warding off the attacks, verbal and physical and emotional and psychological, from other people around Him.  He wouldn't surrender, so He had to be crushed by His circumstances.  Satan spent the next three years striking Jesus' heel.  Jesus spent one day on the cross and crushed Satan's head.

Making Things Complete

Genesis 2:18-25

Recently I was in Grayson Highland State Park in Virginia doing a bit of camping and hiking with some Brothers.  It was wet, cold and windy, just what you're looking for in a day of outdoor adventure.    I love being in the woods.  There is something comforting and warm about being amongst the trees, even when it is cold.  There is a sense of closeness, as if the wilderness is some how holding you or protecting you.  (I wonder if this is the way Adam felt in the Garden and then was struct by the stark contrast of the outside world when they were forced to leave.)

One of the park trails takes you through the woods alongside a beautiful stream with some nice waterfalls. The sights and sounds of the flowing water were beautiful. I could not help but be awed in some sense by this small part of Creation.  I could only think of one thing that could have made it more beautiful, more complete.  That one thing was to have my wife with me.  I was with great, dear friends who love the Lord Jesus, but somehow there was something, no someone, missing that could complete the moment, complete the Creation.  It was my wife.  (And I'm thankful to still be so mushy in love with my wife after eighteen and a half years.)  In those moments, I couldn't help but think back to the Garden.

Here's Adam living in a beautiful, literally unspoiled creation

In the Garden Adam existed in relationship to both Creation and the Lord who created it.  But something was missing because the Lord said that it was not good that man was alone.  There was something missing.  Even in relationship with the Lord, there was still something missing.  Even in a Creation not yet flawed by the Fall, there was something missing.  It was Eve, a partner, a mate.  A unique relationship was missing that, in my heart and mind, not only completed humanity as a species, but completed creation, completed Adam.

That waterfall was missing something on that cold, wet, rainy day.  It wasn't complete.  I wasn't complete. It was missing my wife.  It wasn't quite as beautiful without her.  I'm so glad the Lord thought so too.