Day two...so far, so good!
Today's reading was from Gen. 4-5. This included the account of Cain and Abel, and the genealogy from Adam to Noah. A few things struck me as interesting in this text.
We get to hear God give his first advice on dealing with sin. After Cain and Abel made their sacrifices and God accepted Abel's but not Cain's, Cain was angry. God said to him, "Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it."
Unfortunately Cain did not follow this advice about mastering sn; rather, he killed his brother, Abel. God punishes Cain for this. Yet, this leads me to the second thing that jumps out at me in the text. God gives Cain a punishment, and Cain claims that it is too much for him to bear. So God eases the punishment a little. This is the second time in only two days of reading the Bible so far, that we have seen God show mercy. I just love the fact that we have a God who loves and actually enjoys showing us His glorious grace and His matchless mercy!
Finally, in this reading was also the account of one of only two men that were mentioned as having never experienced death. Of Enoch, the father of Methusaleh, the Bible says, "Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away." It makes me wonder what kind of a relationship Enoch had with God. The Hebrew writer only tells us that it was "by faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death; he could not be found, because God had taken him away. For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. And without faith, it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him." The one thing we know for sure is that Enoch was a man of faith.
The discussion questions for this reading are below:
1. Why did God accept Abel's offering but not Cain's?
--The Hebrew writer says Abel's sacrifice was better. I don't know if that means what he actually offered was better, or if his heart was better. (I know our God is obvious about the fact that in worship, obedience is important, but the attitude of the heart matters most to Him.) The text in Genesis reads interestingly enough, though. It says Cain brought some of the fruits as an offering, but Abel brought the fat portions of the firstborn of his flock.
2. Based on these chapters, would you describe humans as basically good, with some weaknesses, or basically evil, with some redeeming features? Or both?
--I think, based on thse chapters, humans are basically good, with some weaknesses. However, when Adam and Eve fell into temptation and sin entered the world, things became really skewed. Those "weaknesses" are heartbreaking, as the world and everything in it, which God created perfectly, now feels so messed up on some level.
Thankfully...this is only Day Two...and the Story doesn't end there! Stay tuned...