Cain and Abel

Devo Scripture: Genesis 4:1-7
Key Verse: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” Matthew 22:37

“It’s a boy!” declared Adam to Eve. It was a tremendous moment. God was gracious and the cries of a baby filled the earth. The first baby the angels had ever set eyes on. The first baby to be fashioned gently and lovingly by God in a mother’s womb. And not just any baby, but a baby boy! I can’t help but wonder what it was like for Eve to give birth without another woman by her side. Was Adam a good birthing coach? Regardless Eve was ecstatic for this little one. “I have gotten a man with the help of the LORD” (Gen. 4:1). She was optimistic that already God had given her a man to “bruise” the head of Satan (Gen. 3:15). Makes me wonder at what point her optimism over Cain weakened and her hope became Abel, “God has appointed for me another offspring instead of Abel” (Gen. 4:25). When did she first see it? When did she know Cain was not “the man”? We know nothing of Cain and Abel’s growing up years. Did they fight constantly? Did the jealousy go back to when they were small boys? Did Cain struggle with anger as a child? Was he the strong willed type that fought against his parent’s every directive?

Can you imagine the focus of Heaven and hell on this little family? I wonder, did Eve see the serpent slither by from time to time? Did he make himself known? Reminding. Pestering. Prodding her boys away from God. There is a reason Jesus said to pray for deliverance from the evil one (Matthew 6:13). “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). And Satan didn’t know any better than Eve if one of these boys was the seed God would use to crush him (Gen. 3:15). His only hope, so he thought, was to turn them from God or destroy them. Thus began his quest to thwart God’s plan and prevent the seed. (i.e. Certainly Satan was behind Pharaoh’s command to kill all Hebrew baby boys at the time of Moses’ birth and again Herod’s similar command at the birth of Jesus.)

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Eph. 6:12). Satan’s already been defeated but he’s still very much hard at work. He holds no power over a follower of Jesus but would love nothing more than to render you useless to God’s kingdom by distraction, despair, and discontentment. If you want Satan to leave you alone then simply live as the world lives. Do what you want, when you want, however you want to, and he won’t bother with you. But if you want to be a threat to the spiritual forces of evil who hate you. Who want nothing more than to see you fall flat on your face and stay there sad, dejected, and distracted by self-pity. Then get up and worship. Get up and be thankful. Get up and be obedient and “in all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one” (Eph. 6:16).

Get up my friend! I ask you today (and I ask myself) just as the LORD asked Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. It’s desire is for you, but you must rule over it” (Gen. 4:6-7).

Has your face fallen? Are you angry? At what? God? A brother or sister? The government? Life? I gotta tell ya. I lost many battles last week. It was a long week. I was very distracted. I was tired and felt like waving my white flag of surrender. I was angry at my situation. God brought these words to my mind on more than one occasion. And to be honest I didn’t want to hear it. I wanted to be mad. I wanted to throw a pity party for myself. But what did it accomplish? Nothing. It rendered me useless. Useless for the Kingdom. But I will not let the evil one win. I’m getting back up. My God is greater! And I want to choose to do well. I am a daughter of the King and I will live like it. Victorious! Joyful! Content! Obedient to my Father! Get up with me friend! Get up!

Rejoice! For there IS a way to rule over sin. In Christ we are no longer slaves to sin. We are bondservants of righteousness. The word of God is your sword (Eph. 6:17). Fight with it! “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success” (Joshua 1:8). Hide it in your heart. Meditate on it. Know it. Live it.

And give God your best. The problem with Cain’s sacrifice was not that it was fruit instead of blood. For both are sacrifices later recognized in the Levitical system of offerings. The problem was his heart. Notice that Cain gave God some “fruit of the ground.” But Abel gave God “the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions.” Abel gave God the best he had to offer. While Cain handed God some leftovers. God doesn’t want our leftovers. God doesn’t need our leftovers. Everything already belongs to him (Ps. 50:8-12). But what pleases God is a willing spirit (Ps. 40:6), a heart of thankfulness (Ps. 50:14), and a humble repentant attitude (Ps. 51:16-17). What pleases God is when we “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matt. 22:37); by giving him our best. The best of ourselves. The best part of our day. The best attitude. Being the best mother I can be (with his help.) Doing work to the best of my ability (for his glory). When I finally realize my day is not about me but about Him. That’s when I will finally start giving God my best. He doesn’t want our leftovers. He wants and deserves our best. And when you give your best you’ll be a valuable and effective child of the King. May we never be rendered useless.

Contemplate and Evaluate:

  • Does God get the best you have to offer? or does he get the leftovers? What does giving God your best look like today?
  • What Scripture verse can you memorize today to help you conquer the sin that crouches close by?

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