Genesis 4:9-15 — “Where is your brother Abel?” “I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

“My Brother’s Keeper” by Ronnie T. Tres Reyes. Top Five finalist, 2008 Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office “Isang Pitik sa Charity” photo contest. Reyes describes his photo: “Taken one chilly night outside a McDonald’s along Mindanao Avenue in Quezon City. For over a year, this five year old boy has been taking care of his baby brother every night on the steps of the restaurant. Sometimes he lies on the concrete and allows himself to be the baby’s bed and source of warmth.”

Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?”
“I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

Genesis 4:9

Am I my brother’s keeper?” (v. 9) Cain’s insolent answer to God’s question reminds us of the same condition of heart found in Pharaoh when he said, “Who is the LORD, that I should obey him…” (Exodus 5:2) The difference is that Pharaoh didn’t have a direct awareness and communication with God like Cain did. Given the level of direct communication that Cain enjoyed with God, it’s hard to believe that Cain could answer God with such hardness of heart. But that’s one of the consequences of sin. Cain committed the first recorded murder, and his sin had the effect of hardening his heart toward God, causing him to question. Questioning God’s ways is no more rational than not obeying God in the first place. Listen to what God said to Job and his friends when they questioned Him:

“Who is this that darkens my counsel

with words without knowledge?

“Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?

Tell me, if you understand.

Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!

Who stretched a measuring line across it?

On what were its footings set,

or who laid its cornerstone—

while the morning stars sang together

and all the angels shouted for joy?

“Who shut up the sea behind doors

when it burst forth from the womb,

when I made the clouds its garment

and wrapped it in thick darkness,

when I fixed limits for it

and set its doors and bars in place,

when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther;

here is where your proud waves halt’?

“Have you ever given orders to the morning,

or shown the dawn its place,

that it might take the earth by the edges

and shake the wicked out of it?” (Job 38:2-13)

“Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct him?

Let him who accuses God answer him!” (Job 40:2)

Lord please keep our hearts tender toward You, keep us from questioning Your will, help us to give thanks in everything. (1 Thessalonians 5:18) Lord, please keep our hearts tender toward others, keep us far from the way of Cain. (Jude 1:11)

Am I my brother’s keeper?” (v. 9) The way of guilt is to deny responsibility. The truth is that God has in fact made us our brother’s keeper. God tells you and I that each of us should look not only to our own interests, but also to the interests of others. (Philippians 2:4) Notice that Philippians 2:4 instructs us to take care of our own responsibilities as well as those of others. Taking care of ourselves, our own family, our own brothers and sisters in the Lord, and also others, it’s all part of God’s plan for you and for me. Matthew Henry writes that caring for others is, “a great duty, which is strictly required of us, but is generally neglected by us.”

The church is God’s instrument to minister to the poor, the sick, the lonely, and the old of our world.

You are the church.

Love God.

Love people.


“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

“The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’

Matthew 25:34-40


References:

Blue Letter Bible

Bible Gateway

Ray Stedman

C.H. Spurgeon

Matthew Henry

Genesis 4:1-8 — 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.

Photo from “The Working Class” blog

Adam lay with his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain. She said, “With the help of the LORD I have brought forth a man.” Later she gave birth to his brother Abel.

Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the LORD. But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.

Then the LORD said to Cain, “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.”

Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.” And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.

Genesis 4:1-8

The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor.(v.4-5) It could be that there’s a problem with Cain’s sacrifice. It may be that a blood sacrifice was required, as the word says in Hebrews 9:22, without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. Different Bible scholars teach it different ways. But without question there’s a problem with Cain’s heart. The way of Cain is identified in Jude 1:11 as a way that is polluted by a problem with the heart. We don’t know for certain what that problem is but a clue is given in Hebrews 11:4 where we’re told that By faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. By faith he was commended as a righteous man, when God spoke well of his offerings. (Hebrews 11:4) We don’t know for certain what was at the heart of the issue, but Cain did, and God did. Two people standing next to each other in church, both singing the same praise song or hymn, perhaps God respects the worship of one but perhaps not the worship of another. Two give the same amount of tithe, perhaps God respects the giving of one but perhaps not the giving of the other. You and I may know that the same amount is given, we may hear the same song, but the LORD searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts. (1 Chronicles 28:9)

So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast. Then the LORD said to Cain, “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.” (v. 5-7) Here we are, barely four chapters into the Bible, and God’s grace is manifested yet again when he comes to Cain. Adam and Eve were hiding after their sin, and God came looking to help them. Cain is angry, having sin in his heart, and God comes looking for him. God always comes looking for sinners, but, unfortunately, not all sinners go looking for God.

One thing we do know for sure is that Cain is angry. Often times behind anger lies jealousy, and always behind jealousy lies pride. Isn’t it amazing, the things that make us jealous? We get jealous because someone gets a cubicle that’s a little bigger than ours, or someone gets assigned a better parking space than we did, or someone’s son or daughter plays a sport better than ours does, or someone makes more money than we do. God help us. We each have a little bit of Cain within us, don’t we. We all want our desires to be God’s desires, and when God does what God does that’s not consistent with our own wants, how angry it can make us. Each of us thinks that we should have an immunity from the problems, unfairness, and injustices that everyone faces in life.

First cousins Willy and Georgie never got along well. Willy was especially envious of his cousin Georgie, which isn’t all that unusual among cousins. But the consequences of Willy’s jealousy and envy were different than those of other children, it carried on into adulthood and ultimately effected most of the world. You see cousin Willy was Kaiser Wilhelm II, ruler of Germany. And cousin Georgie was King George V of England. Cousin Willy, in his adult years, was jealous of cousin Georgie’s far flung British Empire. Also, at the annual yacht races Germany lost regularly to Britain which contributed to cousin Willie’s intense envy of the British navy. Many don’t realize the great extent to which Kaiser Wilhelm’s envy of his cousin George contributed to the start of World War I.

God in His mercy warned Cain that “sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.” (v. 7) God is saying, don’t treat jealousy lightly. If you allow it to take up residence you’ll soon find yourself in the grip of a power greater than you thought possible. In Romans 12:15 God teaches us to rejoice with those who rejoice; and to mourn with those who mourn. But envy turns that all around. When we envy, or when we’re jealous we often rejoice when that certain person mourns and we mourn when that certain person rejoices. Therefore, rid yourselves of all envy. (1 Peter 2:1) Or you’ll find yourself doing things that you never thought you would do. I’ve lived it, I’ve been there, take heed. Rid yourself of it for who can stand before jealousy? (Proverbs 27:4) And envy rots the bones. (Proverbs 14:30)

If only Cain had responded differently. What might have happened had Cain asked God for His help. What might have happened if Cain had said, like David, Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love (Psalm 51:1) Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. (Psalm 51:10) This is what Cain should have done. This is what you and I must do whenever we encounter anger, jealousy, pride, envy, or any other sin. We must return to the Father like the prodigal son. (see previous post) But Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.” And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him. (Genesis 4:8)

Anger, jealousy, pride, envy, they’re all cousins. They’re all emotions that are related and intertwined with each other:

My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.

James 1:19-21


References:

Blue Letter Bible

Bible Gateway

Bob Davis

Chuck Smith

Ray Stedman

C.H. Spurgeon

Robert K. Massie, Dreadnought

Photo from The Working Class blog

Genesis 3 — The tree of the knowledge of good and evil and the tree at Calvary

Photo from thecrossweb.com

In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. (Genesis 2:9)

and…

Carrying his own cross, Jesus went out to the place of the Skull. The place that today we call Calvary. Here they crucified him. (John 19:17,18)

There’s an interesting contrast between the two trees. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the Garden of Eden, and the tree of Calvary on which Jesus died for your sins, and my sins.

  • The first tree was planted by God — the tree of Calvary was planted by man.
  • The first tree, man was commanded not to eat thereof — the tree of Calvary, Jesus commanded us to eat thereof when He said, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” (Luke 22:19)
  • The first tree, Satan enticed them to eat — the tree of Calvary, Satan will do everything he can to keep you from.
  • The first tree brought sin and death — the tree of Calvary brought life and salvation.
  • The first tree turned man out of eternity with God — the other tree is the path to eternity with God.

 

Choose the tree of Calvary. Join Christ’s Family.


 

References:

Blue Letter Bible

Bible Gateway

Chuck Missler

Photo from thecrossweb.com

Genesis 3:20-24 — he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life

Adam named his wife Eve, because she would become the mother of all the living.

The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. And the LORD God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.

Genesis 20-24

Adam named his wife Eve, because she would become the mother of all the living. (v. 20) Interestingly in January of 1987, three scientists, Rebecca L. Cann, Mark Stoneking, and Allan C. Wilson published an article in the journal Nature that announced that everyone in the human race descended from one mother. They called her Eve. Now they’ll argue about when she existed, and where she resided, but isn’t it remarkable that even science today recognizes that all of the human race is descended from one mother? I believe that over time, as scientific methods improve, science may ultimately confirm the accuracy of the bible.

The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. (v. 21) God, in His grace and mercy, clothed Adam and Eve, not for His benefit, for Hebrews 4:13 says, Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. But God in His grace clothed Adam and Eve for Adam and Eve’s sake. Close your eyes and envision with me that your going out into the woods, finding fig leaves or leaves of any kind for that matter, and attempting to clothe yourself with them. Obviously it was a pathetic attempt made by Adam and Eve then, and still today, whenever you or I attempt to cover our sin in our own energy, it’s feeble at best.  God had to do it, God had to clothe Adam and Eve after their sin. God offers to clothe us today. He provided His Son and offers Him to us so that we can be clothed with His righteousness if we but ask. (Isaiah 61:10, Revelation 3:20)

Now close your eyes again and imagine with me what Adam and Eve saw when they turned to look back as they left the Garden. There at the East side of the Garden they saw the bloody remains of the animals that were sacrificed so that they could be clothed, and they saw cherubim standing over the sacrifice. It’s interesting that later we see the same picture of cherubim and sacrifice in the tabernacle, and then again in the temple, and then again at the empty tomb where two angels would stand post over the slab stained with the blood of Jesus Christ. Animals were sacrificed to clothe Adam and Eve and Jesus died died for your sin and for my sin because, without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. (Hebrews 9:22) Sin requires sacrifice.

And the LORD God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life. (v. 22-24)

Thank God for driving Adam and Eve out of the Garden and blocking the physical way to the tree of life. Can you imagine what it would be like to live forever in this world polluted by sin? Apparently God could. His grace and mercy continues in that He found a way to limit the pain from all of the sin, guilt, shame, and destruction that all of humanity would endure after the fall of man. Because Adam and Eve no longer had access to the tree of life they would, mercifully, die after a time and enter into their rest.

Since the fall, the way, the physical way, to eternal life with God has been cut off.

But in His grace God provided another way. Only one way, and not a physical way, but a way none the less. Jesus said,

I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

John 14:6

Jesus is the way. Find Him and you’ll find the way to eternal life with God.

Go to Join Christ’s Family to learn how.


 

References:

Blue Letter Bible

Bible Gateway

Ray Stedman

In Christ Alone

Dr. J. Vernon McGee

Chuck Missler

Nature.com

Jon Courson

Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven — Matthew 6:20

Heaven and Time

But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.

Matthew 6:20


Self discipline with your time: (continued from October 6, 2010 post)

“In most cases, time is the only finite resource,” my son Nate informed me the other day. He was sharing something he learned while working on his degree in economics. He went on to explain that you can lose all your money, but if you work hard and invest wisely, you may be able to recover it, you might even gain far beyond what you lost. But once you’ve spent time, you can never get it back.

How we spend our time is one of the most important areas of discipline there is. Showing up on time, spending our time preparing properly, and scheduling are all important areas of self discipline that are keys to success in life.

But right now I’d like you to think about time as a resource. As something you spend. As a resource you invest. I believe that when we enter into heaven, the answer to the question, how did you invest your time, will be of the utmost importance.

Imagine with me if you will, that you’ve just died in a car wreck and you find yourself at the gates of heaven.


You are welcome at my house,” the angel said. (Judges 19:20) Was he an angel? What is it about him? Or is it Him? He threw His arms around me and kissed me. (Luke 15:20) I all but disappeared in his (His?) giant embrace.

“Tell me about yourself,” he said warmly. Why this tremendous being is interested in me, I can’t fathom.

“Well,” I started tentatively. “I feel like I’m kind of young to be here.”

“I get that a lot,” is all he said. “Where have you come from? (Job 1:7) Tell me about your life on earth.”

“I, um, I grew up in…” I spent an hour or so sharing with him all of my life story. The longer I spoke, the more I became aware of a loving quality about him. By the end of my story it seemed that his love was palpable, I could feel it exuding from him. Just then the thought entered my mind, And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love.” (1 John 4:16)

It was Him. I was sure of that now.

After I thought I had told Him all of my life story, at the end, after the description of how I died in the car accident, that’s when he asked the big question.

“So how did you spend your time on earth?” He asked.

“What do you mean?” I asked right back. “I just told you my life story.”

“Yes, of course you did,” He didn’t react at all to my defensive tone. “You grew up, you had to work to support yourself, you had certain obligations to family and friends, you needed time for rest, you died. Your time on earth is a finite resource, I understand. Since the fall, that’s how it’s supposed to be. It’s the rest of your time that I’m interested in.”

“The rest of my time?” I asked. Just then the thought As for man, his days are like grass…” passed through my mind. (Psalm 103:15)

“Yes, the rest of your time. How did you spend it?”

“Hmmm, let’s see, on Sunday mornings I went to Your house, to church.”

Thou hast well said.” (John 4:17 KJV) You did go to my house, to a church that teaches My word, My whole word from cover to cover. Good choice. And you were there on many Sunday mornings. What you have just said is quite true.” (John 4:18)

I swallowed hard. Many Sunday mornings, He had said. That was a generous way to put it, I knew. In reality I was there mostly when a close friend, who was much more devoted than I, talked me into going. I had attended church on Sunday less than half of the time.

“How else?” He asked. “How else did you spend your time?”

“Well, socializing, I said. Visiting with friends and family.”

“Ah,” He smiled widely, a great and wonderful smile. “Socializing, with a generous dose of loving people. Truly an excellent use of your time – loving people.” His smile made my heart soar. I was filled with joy to the point where I thought my chest would burst. The look of pleasure on His face was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen by far. I heard the words in my mind, God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.” (Genesis 21:6)

“And how else?”

I thought for a moment but couldn’t come up with anything else I’d done that was of, well, of any value to anyone in this place. I heard in my mind, What is highly valued among men is detestable in God’s sight.” (Luke 16:15)

Suddenly without warning I heard myself saying out loud, “Watch TV.” I didn’t want to say it, I didn’t mean to say it – it just seemed to come out. And it was true. Most days I spent at least a couple of hours watching TV.

“You’ve answered well again. And what did you watch?”

I didn’t answer. I didn’t have to. The expression on my face must have said it all, for nearly everything I watched had no redeeming value.

I wasn’t ready for what happened next. A look of sadness washed over His face. His face, looking like that, looking so very sad. I suddenly felt altogether unhinged – I felt sick. I averted my eyes. “Anything but,” I thought. “please, anything but that look. I don’t ever want to see that look again.” I was reminded of how I felt when I saw the look of disappointment on my best friend’s face, that day I betrayed him. But as bad as that was, this was much more painful. My sorrow was so great that it hurt. The pain was so intense that I thought I would perish, but somehow I knew that couldn’t happen here, not in this place. I was struck by how One so magnificent could look so hurt. He looked wounded. The words entered my mind, “these are the wounds I was given at the house of my friends.” (Zechariah 13:6)

Very softly, very gently, He asked, “What else, my child?”

“The computer,” I said, barely audible.

Without warning the images and sounds of every television program I had ever watched, every website I had ever visited, every song I had ever listened to, every thought I ever had was before me. And before Him. He was showing me how I spent my time. I said, O LORD, you have searched me and you know me.” (Psalm 139:1)

I don’t know how I got there but I suddenly found myself at His feet. I was sobbing with my face pressed into the ground. “Mercy, mercy,” I was repeating over and over and over. “Mercy,” I thought. I was completely and utterly at His mercy. Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him.” I thought. (Job 13:15)

Then God’s hand touched me and instantly the words came into my mind, A hand touched me and set me trembling…” (Daniel 10:10) He wiped every tear from my eyes and gently turned my head to see Another coming. (Revelation 21:4) And when I turned I saw …someone “like a son of man,” dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance. (Revelation 1:12, 13, 16)

“My child behold, your Champion,” God said of the Other. “My Son and My lamb.”

When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades. (Revelation 1:17-18)

Then my eyes were opened and I recognized him who came. (Luke 24:31) It was Jesus. I felt my heart swell because I was at once very afraid yet filled with joy that was almost unbearable. (Matthew 28:8)

In an instant, and without knowing how, I was walking next to my Lord. He was telling me, graciously and gently telling me, how the time God gave me on earth was one of His most precious gifts, and how I chose to use it was of the greatest importance.

“Time,” He said. “Use it well. Store up for yourself treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.” (Matthew 6:20)

Invest your time in eternity.


References:

Bible Gateway

Photo from Inside Out

Jon Courson

2 Timothy 1:7 — Discipline — For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.

2 Timothy 1:7

David Smith, a friend of mine, asked me today, “What’s the value of discipline as it relates to success in life?”

Thank you for the question David, I hope you don’t mind receiving your answer in a blog post.

I would start by saying that the Bible in Proverbs 6:23 says that “…the corrections of discipline are the way to life…” I don’t think it’s a stretch to extrapolate from there, that self discipline is one of the keys to a successful life.

An old New York City Deputy Fire Chief once told me that he noticed a pattern in the successful leaders at FDNY. They either rose earlier than most and spent time working in the early morning, or they spent time working into the evening. We see this pattern in our Lord, in the book of Mark it says Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. (Mark 1:35) And we see in Proverbs 31:18 that the virtuous woman’s lamp does not go out at night. Thomas Edison said that “Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.” Hard work and persistence born of self discipline are certainly keys to success in life.

For the Christian, self discipline is a gift from God. Self discipline is born of the Holy Spirit as we see from 2 Timothy 1:7 where God’s word says, For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. Of course the Holy Spirit is holy, so for the Christian man or woman, self discipline also means holiness. With that in mind we should maintain self discipline in the following areas.

Self discipline with your mind:

In Matthew chapter 5, speaking on murder, Jesus admonishes us not to be angry with our brother. (Matthew 5:21-26) In the same chapter, speaking on adultery, Jesus instructs us not to look at a woman lustfully. Mark Twain once wrote, “What a wee little part of a person’s life are his acts and his words! His real life is led in his head, and is known to none but himself. All day long, the mill of his brain is grinding, and his thoughts, not those other things, are his history.” (Reader’s Digest [1/93], p. 155 as cited in The Christian’s Thought Life by Cole). I wouldn’t go as far as Mark Twain and say that our actions and words play such a small role, but the point is, based on Jesus’ teachings from Matthew 5:21-30, the Lord cares very much what our thoughts are.

All of our actions and words begin with our thoughts. Self discipline with your mind is essential.

Self discipline with your money:

Proverbs 22:7 says, The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender. CH Spurgeon said it another way, “Money is the servant of the wise, and the master of fools.” Have integrity with your money. It’s a very novel way to look at finances in our culture today, but God would have us live within our means and avoid credit. By the way Tom Rath and Jim Harter cite a study in their book Well Being that found, when it comes to finances, a sense of well being is not associated with how rich you are, rather a sense of well being is found in those who carry little or no debt. Not surprising at all in the light of scripture.

Self discipline with your eyes:

Job said, I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a girl. (Job 31:1) and David said in Psalm 101:3, I will set before my eyes no vile thing.

Make a covenant with your eyes. Avoid that TV program that you know is wrong for your you. Avoid that website that you know is damaging to your mind. Ladies, avoid spending time on Amazon, eBay, or craigslist. Improve your self discipline with your eyes and your thought life will improve, your self discipline with money will improve, your walk will improve.

It’s amazing how much easier self discipline is with your mind, your money, and your Christian walk, when you have self discipline with your eyes.

Self discipline with your word:

Jesus said, “…let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.” (Matthew 5:37) Say what you mean, and do what you say. Maintain the integrity of your word.

In closing, I’d just like to comment on how all of this relates to your work life. As someone who’s involved in the hiring process in my own organization, I can tell you with certainty that, every employer is looking for the person with the qualities described above. Think about it: what employer wouldn’t want someone who works hard, is not distracted by financial problems, won’t cause trouble by entering into inappropriate relationships at work, and keeps his or her word. I think it’s obvious that discipline in all of these areas will result in success at work and in success in your life in general.

As usual, God’s way is the best way.

(You may have noticed that one of the most important areas of self discipline was not discussed in today’s post. I’ll address self discipline with your time in the next post Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven—Matthew 6:20)

References:

Bible Gateway

Steven J. Cole

Spurgeon

Rick Warren

Photo by tpuyol – Creative Commons

Genesis 3:14-19 — Because you have done this…

So the LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, “Cursed are you above all the livestock and all the wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life. And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”

To the woman he said, “I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”

To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat of it,’ “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.”

Genesis 14-19

In the last post we learned about three of the consequences of sin: self centeredness, separation from God, and the blaming of others. Adam and Eve attempted to hide from God after their sin. Of course that didn’t change anything. You can’t hide from God. (Jeremiah 23:24, Psalm 139:7-12, Isaiah 29:15-16, Amos 9:2) Unfortunately, those three consequences were just the beginning of the repercussions that resulted from the sin in the garden. In fact the very next verse after where we left off ends with God saying, “Because you have done this…” (v. 14) Additional consequences include…


Affliction

“Because you have done this, Cursed are you above all the livestock and all the wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life.” (v. 14) In the beginning, the serpent wasn’t limited to slithering. In the beginning, the serpent didn’t have to eat dust every day. In the beginning, the serpent didn’t look like a snake. In Matthew 18:6 Jesus said that, “…if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.” The serpent caused God’s original children to sin, and he paid dearly. Even in the millennium described in Isaiah chapter 65, after the world is restored to a Garden of Eden like condition, the serpent will continue to eat dust. (Isaiah 65) Sin is debilitating. Sin changes the way we walk. When we sin, rather than walking uprightly, we crawl around. Afflicted by sin we slither, snake, sneak, and squirm. We worm, wriggle, and writhe our way. Sin changes the way you move through life.


Enmity

“Because you have done this,” (v. 14) “…I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” (v. 15) Sin causes enmity. The most common casualty of sin is a relationship, between a husband and wife, between friends, between family. This verse also speaks of the struggle that would ensue from this point forward between good and evil. Most importantly this verse refers to Eve’s seed. This is a rather curious reference because women of course don’t have any seed, women receive seed from men. Normally when God refers to seed in the Bible He’s talking about the seed of a man. Of course every woman needs the seed of a man to conceive a child. Every woman except one, Mary, the one, the only one, who miraculously conceived without the seed of a man. This verse is a prophetic verse that speaks of Jesus’ glory and victory. Mary’s seed would ultimately have victory over that evil one. Mary’s seed did ultimately crush the head of Satan when Jesus defeated Satan on the cross.


Pain

“Because you have done this,” (v. 14) “…I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.” (v. 16) As a result of Eve’s sin, birth, the very act that brings joy into our lives, and the very act that continues the human family can now only come with pain. It wasn’t supposed to be that way. Sin causes pain — the pain of regret, the pain of guilt, the pain of shame. Things God never intended to cause pain, things God intended to be nothing but a blessing are broken by sin.


Toil

“Because you have done this,” (v. 14) “Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat of it,’ Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. (v. 17) First of all this is a great reminder that as men, it can be so easy sometimes to listen to our wives, other family, or friends, to go along to get along, even when we should really be listening to God. Before we listen to our wives, before we listen to anyone, we need to listen to God and put His word first. Also notice that Adam’s work changed at this point. In the Garden of Eden he was blessed with the work of tending a garden that responded to his touch in ways that we can only imagine. But as a result of his sin Adam had to, and you and I have to, earn our way through painful toil. Because of the fallen state of the world, everyone now must deal with thorns and thistles in their work life. (v. 18)


Death

“Because you have done this,” (v. 14) “…dust you are and to dust you will return.” (v. 19) And there it is, Satan was wrong after all, Adam and Eve and the rest of the human race would from that point forward return to dust. As God said in Genesis 2:17, “…you will surely die.” (see previous post You will surely die) But even before their physical death, Adam and Eve experienced spiritual death the moment they sinned against God. In the parable of the Prodigal Son, when the son repents and returns to the Father, the Father says in Luke 15:24, For this son of mine was dead and is alive again. When we sin, from God’s perspective, we experience a spiritual death. And no one’s perspective is more important than God’s. Of course sin also causes the death of relationships — the death of a marriage, the death of a family relationship, or the death of a friendship.

For the wages of sin is death… (Romans 6:23)


What a terrible, terrible mess sin makes in the end. Self centeredness, separation form God Himself, blaming behavior, affliction, enmity, pain, toil, and ultimately, death result every time — spiritual death and the death of relationships. Dear reader, please understand what’s happening here in our story. Sin isn’t bad because it’s forbidden. Sin is forbidden because it’s bad. It’s bad for you and it’s bad for me. Because God loves us He has identified for us what sin is and He forbids us to engage in it. God forbids it because sin destroys you.

And He doesn’t stop there. Even beyond His efforts to keep us from sin, God loves you so much that He’s provided a way for you to reconcile yourself to Him in spite of your sin. Did you know that the only place in the entire Bible where God is seen running is in the parable of the Prodigal Son? In Luke 15:20 Jesus said, “…while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.” Perhaps you’ve recently decided to change your life but you’re still “a long way off.” God earnestly desires reconciliation with you. He’s given His only Son as a sacrifice for every sin you and I have ever committed, are committing, or will ever commit.

Accept Jesus and His sacrifice on the cross for your sins. Go to this link: So Your Life Is Falling Apart.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 6:23



References:

Blue Letter Bible

Bible Gateway

Dr. J. Vernon McGee

Jon Courson