Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, “I have gotten a man with the help of the Lord.” And again, she bore his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain a worker of the ground. In the course of time Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground, and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell. Genesis 4:1-5
Most of us know that Cain killed his brother, Abel. But why? God regarded Abel’s sacrifice, but not Cain’s. Why not? This was the first recorded offering man makes to the Lord, but it is safe to say that by now many had been made. Cain and Abel were either adults or older adolescents by this time, and there was probably a pattern already set for what was an acceptable offering. The only other sacrifice recorded was when Adam and Eve sinned. The Lord slew an animal and made clothes for the couple from the skins. That animal was the first blood sacrifice for sin, and Abel’s sacrifice was after that pattern. And since it’s safe to say there had been other sacrifices since then, Cain and Abel had seen this pattern and understood why. Cain decided to do something different, that did not commemorate the substitutionary sacrifice for sin.
Today, we all have the same choice. We can either honor the sacrifice Christ made for us, or, we can make our own sacrifice. Maybe you believe that doing your best is all that matters. Although doing your best is a good thing, it does not take away sin. And sin is what separates us from God, not our to-do list.
And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Genesis 3:2-5
The serpent was right. Their eyes would be opened, and they would be like God, except for that whole disobedience thing. To the innocent humans, the serpent was pitching knowledge, and being like God. I mean, it wasn’t the Tree of Evil, it was the Tree of the Knowledge of Good…and evil. You could even call it the Tree of Compromise.
As long as I can remember, experiencing evil has made you worldly-wise and more grown-up. What teenager hasn’t said, “I don’t care what mom says. I wanna make my own mistakes!” Or, “Dad hasn’t smoked dope or snorted cocaine. What does he know?”
Even in the church, we turn a blind eye to evil. We have totally rejected the ministry of the prophet because hes, “harsh and judgmental.” You can be too good, but you can never be too evil. This is because the knowledge of evil is so corrosive that it eventually corrupts the good. And it’s the reason God will exclude all of it from heaven.
When no bush of the field was yet in the land and no small plant of the field had yet sprung up—for the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the land, and there was no man to work the ground, and a mist was going up from the land and was watering the whole face of the ground— then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Genesis 2:5-9
God set the stage for man to be able to choose Him from the beginning. But that choice does not come until after the woman is made from Adam. I believe Satan waited until he could temp someone who, perhaps, had gotten the command second hand. Adam had, after all, gotten to name all the animals. God must have warned him about the tree and it’s fruit.
In this way, we are all like Eve. We only know God’s commands and warnings and promises because they are in a book that was written long ago. The command is no less valid, but it seems to carry less weight be than if we had heard it ourselves. Disobedience plunged the world into darkness. The Good News is that Christ’s act of obedience brings light to everyone who believes. You did not have to be there at the cross to get the benefit.
I have been posting Bible verses on Facebook for a few years as I read through it. I just finished and I’m starting again. It was only a few months ago that I started adding my commentary to the verses I chose. It was my wife’s suggestion because it would give some context to why I chose them. And it was a great idea! So, I will be starting to repeat them here on my blog. This will make them easier to find and search for particular chapters. Eventually, this may be useful to you. In the meantime, this is my personal devotional made public.
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day. Genesis 1:1-5
This, the beginning and what we think of it, can determine our eternal destiny. It is the place where many of us decide who or what God is. To believe the Bible’s account of creation is to believe in a God who is above and beyond creation, and not just a part of it. He creates light before the sun comes on the scene. Everything He does defies our minute understanding. Or, you make God a mere force, impersonal, that must bow it’s knee to your understanding. The Bible gets thrown out as evidence, and you are left trying to explain everything on your own.
“The first gulp from the glass of natural sciences will turn you into an atheist, but at the bottom of the glass God is waiting for you.” -Werner Heisenberg, Nobel Prize for physics, 1932.