Raising Cain

(This was my post today on another blog I do with some of my accountability brothers – I wanted to share it)

I’ve spent this week in Genesis 4 in my BSF study.  I knew early last week I’d be writing about  Cain, but didn’t quite know what… not exactly sure how this post will shape up but let’s see where it goes.

Genesis 4:1-5 Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, and said, “I have acquired a man from the LORD.” 2 Then she bore again, this time his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. 3 And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the LORD. 4 Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the LORD respected Abel and his offering, 5 but He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell.

The New King James Version. 1982 (Ge 4:1–5). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

We all know Abel raised livestock and Cain tilled the ground.

One question not answered here is this.  “How did Cain and Abel know to bring an offering to the LORD?”  Is this something the LORD taught Adam and Eve during or after the process of killing an animal to clothe them (cover their sin)?  Or did the LORD sometime before this recorded episode instruct Cain and Abel on what a proper offering was and how to bring it before Him?  The details don’t really matter because what is implied is that Cain and Abel were versed, or at least instructed  on a proper offering to God.

For years I’ve tied the acceptance of Abel’s offering to the fact that Moses calls out that it was Abel’s first fruit (v4). That implies (as I’ve heard taught for years) the tithe – the first part of what God brings – even without knowing if there will be anymore to come – which requires faith.  Hebrews 11:4 “By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and through it he being dead still speaks.”  The first fruit offering requires faith.  I still believe that to be a powerful truth.

However, something I read in my notes really caught my attention.

“If Cain already knew God’s will concerning sacrifices, then he may have been too proud to trade with his brother for a lamb.  He would have asserted his independence by choosing to worship God in his own way”  BSF Lesson 6, Series 1, Genesis, p.3

God says something similar to Moses in Deut 9:12 when the Israelites made a golden image against God’s explicit command.

12 “Then the LORD said to me, ‘Arise, go down quickly from here, for your people whom you brought out of Egypt have acted corruptly; they have quickly turned aside from the way which I commanded them; they have made themselves a molded image.’

I wonder if I have a little Cain in me.  It’s certainly a thread woven through the pages of the Bible – mankind worshiping God in their own way.  Is it any wonder that there are now (reportedly) over 41,000 Christian faiths in the world today?  Not to mention all the various non-Christian faiths… each starting with someone worshiping God in his or her “own way.”

Isaiah 53 says:

6 All we like sheep have gone astray;
We have turned, every one, to his own way;
And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

Not at all where I thought this post would go… but glad it got here.

God, help me to worship you exactly as you command me to – nothing more – nothing less – nothing to do with me.  Amen.

Day 17 – Worship in the midst…

I apologize.  I haven’t posted in a few days.  Partly because I was busy traveling , partly because I’m lazy, and partly because I got really complacent.

In short, I got really complacent thinking that I had received all that Papa wanted me to get.  I literally cannot get over the fact, and still cannot quite fully comprehend His Omnipresent Presence – that God’s presence is always everywhere and he doesn’t come and go but I open and close myself to Him.  It has really rocked my world.

Because of that complacency, coupled with a hectic end of quarter life for a sales guy – I honestly have wasted the little time I have had – which is entirely opposite of this experiment that I set out on.

I received an encouraging note from a dear friend while I was on my trip and realized that there is at least one person walking with me on this journey.  That’s just enough accountability to get me back on track and a welcome surprise on a roadtrip.  Thank you Carl.  You’ll never know how much your note meant to me.

SO…. this morning I made time.  I realize now that I have just over four pages of stuff I’ve written today in my journal – don’t worry… I’m not going to type it all up!  🙂

Here are the salient points of today.

1.)  God never stops speaking!

This is such a salient point for me today.  Here I was – thinking that I had gotten all He was giving…   This became a predominant thought this morning – God is always speaking and always has something to say that brings life, encouragement, and revelation to me or for someone around me.

So why then do I stop listening?  Isn’t this the same fundamental question as “Why do I close myself off from his ever-present presence?”

2.) Worship in the midst…

Tonight on my run home, the same song that has so ministered to my soul “God I Look To You” by Bethel Live came on and I wanted to stop and just worship and focus on it.  But I specifically heard God tell me to keep running.  “But I just want to worship,” I said.  Then He said, ” I want you to learn to worship through it.  You have to be able to worship in the midst of it all – the good, the bad, the difficult, the trying – whatever comes.”

That is great key and revelation for me.

3.) Move toward the word…

This one has much more explaining than I can do here – but God brought to mind passages of where obedience was required BEFORE the hand of God or miracle happened.  For example when Jesus told the lepers to go to the river and do their thing and then go to the priest – their healing from leprosy happened during their obedience.  When God told Israel to cross the Jordan, the river didn’t part until they priests first stepped into the water.  The walls of Jericho only fell after complete obedience.  In the light of those examples (and I’m sure there are more – which would be an interesting study) – I am to move toward the words that God has given.

God I Look To You

I was running the other night listening to a new worship CD from Bethel Live called “Be Lifted High (Live)” and was so overwhelmed with this song I had to stop running just to worship… needless to say, I repeated that song all they way home.

I’ve you’ve been keeping up with the last 11 days of my quest, you’ll understand just how hard this song hit me.

I encourage you to close your eyes, listen and sing along with it… it will change your life when you really start processing the words to the song.

YouTube: God I Look To You – Bethel Church

I highly recommend the entire CD, it’s fantastic.

Leave a comment and let me know what you think of this one.

… Running After Papa

The Ministry of Worship

Why do I worship? It’s my life-sentence.

As many of you know, I’ve been on the worship team at my current church for several years and was on the worship team for 9 years at the church before that. At our current church, being on the worship team is a fairly demanding endeavor and when you’re “on” for the weekend, it literally can consume 6+ hours on Saturday and 4+ hours on Sunday, not to mention the required practice before and any mid-week commitments of 1-2 hours each.

I say that because I’ve often been asked how I can make such a time consuming commitment with 4 active teens, and while “it’s my passion” suffices for most people, I found something in yesterday’s reading that really anchored it for me.

1 Chronicles 6:31-32 (NKJV)
‎31 Now these are the men whom David appointed over the service of song in the house of the Lord, after the ark came to rest. 32 They were ministering with music before the dwelling place of the tabernacle of meeting, until Solomon had built the house of the Lord in Jerusalem, and they served in their office according to their order.

Interesting words here translated as “served“, “office“, “order” and “song” in v32.

“served” – amad – 308 of the 521 references are translated as “stood” or “stand” and the implication is the same as in Ephesians 6:13-14 “when you’ve done all you can do to stand, stand therefore…” What is the implication of this service called worship? It is persistent and enduring…

“office” – abodah – “‎1 labour, service. 1a labour, work. 1b labour (of servant or slave). 1c labour, service (of captives or subjects). 1d service (of God).”

I love this! A labour of service of captives or subjects – what a fitting description of our condition! We are forever captives of the love of God who sacrificed himself to save us. We are subjects to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!

“order” – mishpat – the implication of this word is that of a sentence mandated by a Judge. A legal remedy or decision. An edict handed down by a greater authority.

“song” – sir – ‎1 song, i.e., music including lyrics and instrumental elements (Ps 28:7); 2 singing, i.e., the act. of using the voice in a melodic and rhythmic manner, usually expressing verbal content (2Ch 23:18); 3 musical instrument, i.e., an object of any kind that produces a musical sound (1Ch 15:16; 16:42; 2Ch 5:13; 7:6; 23:13; 34:12; Ne 12:36; Am 6:5+);

1 Chronicles 6:48 goes on to state that these men were called from the Levites – so it is part of the Levitical calling. The word translated as “brethren” means “of the same father or tribe.”

So what is the ministry of worship?

The Ministry of Worship is a persistent, enduring, edict of service to our Conqueror and King – for we are voluntarily both captives and loved subjects to Him – to sing and play instruments in expression to who He is and what He has done and is doing and will do.

Why do I worship? It’s my life-sentence.

Running After Papa…