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.

Demons do it naturally…

Mark 5:1-20 (Read it here)

What a great passage… Particularly the last verse, verse 20. It reads: “And he departed and began to proclaim in Decapolis all that Jesus had done for him; and all marveled.

Here is a guy who could not be bound because of the many evil spirits living in him. He was living in a graveyard. He had ripped off any shackles and chains other people had used to try and subdue him with. All day and night he tortured himself – cutting himself with stones.  He was a mess.  He was possessed by many evil spirits.

HOWEVER! When he saw Jesus from afar (v6) – he ran to him and worshiped Him.  That’s crazy!

Did the thought ever occur to you that this was quite possibly the very first time this man had ever laid eyes on Jesus? If this man was living in the graveyard, ostracized by everyone, then it’s highly likely no one had ever told him about what Jesus was teaching or who Jesus claimed himself to be. He probably hadn’t heard that Jesus was performing miracles of healing and freedom.

But something in this man knew.

Something in this man knew Jesus.  Something knew his power, his authority, and his might. Something in this man revered Jesus and acknowledged his royalty. I believe that the evil spirits knew Jesus.  They also knew they were subject to him and were following protocol that they had observed and practiced millions of times in Heaven.

When in the presence of the King, you bow down and worship. See Phil 2:9-10.

Why don’t I follow the same protocol?

Why do I sometimes have difficulty doing what demons do naturally?  

OUCH!  That stung just writing it.

Jesus delivered him. Jesus freed him. Here was a man who had a brief encounter with Christ and was freed from a lifetime and lifestyle of bondage and harm.  Jesus changed him.  Jesus changed me.  Jesus can change anyone who submits to him.

When Jesus and the disciples were about to leave. The man begged to go with them. (v18)

How often do I do the exact same thing? When I have a life-impacting encounter with the Lord, how quickly I want to just tarry there and stay in his presence. But that’s not what we’re to do.

Jesus would not let him go with them.

v20 says “And he [the formerly demon-possessed man] departed and began to proclaim in Decapolis all that Jesus had done for him; and all marveled.”

He told his story and all marveled.

That’s it.  It’s that simple.  That’s all we have to do. Proclaim all that Jesus has done for us.  I tell my story.  You tell your story.

No person can argue, refute, or deny what one man had experienced.

We don’t have to be gifted orators or preachers or evangelists. We simply have to tell our own story.  I can’t tell yours.  You can’t tell mine.  We are the only ones who can tell our own story.

Tell your story.

Running after Papa…

New Worship Song!

I’ve written basically the same song, but two different versions. Please listen and imagine yourself singing it at church and tell me which one is your favorite and the one you would want to sing at your church. Vote on my website!

Vote for your favorite version:

Hi kiddos… I’ve written basically the same song, but two different versions.  Please listen and imagine yourself singing it at church and tell me which one is your favorite and the one you would want to sing at your church.  Thanks for your help!

All words & music written by Bryan Shoemaker (c) 2009

Bryan Shoemaker - Declaration Bryan Shoemaker - You Are Worthy

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