Summary: This is the 10th installment in our series on the Book of Genesis. In this sermon we contrast faithful Abel with unfaithful Cain
Genesis (10)(Faith is the Victory)
Text: Genesis 4:1-15
By: Ken McKinley
One day there were three Scotsmen sitting in a pub watching the news and they became concerned with the fact that Iran was, within a short period of time, going to be one of the nuclear powers of the world. So after a bit of digging and searching, the three friends finally found the telephone number of Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad , and they gave him a call. Mahmoud answered his phone, “Hello?” And on the other end he heard a voice in a heavy Scottish accent say, “Is this the girl scout cookie who thinks he’s capable of being the leader of a nuclear powered country?”
Ahmadinejad answered, “What? Who is this?”
And the voice on the other end answered, “This is Angus McKee from Scotland. And I just want ye ta’ know that we’re’a be waging war against ye soon.”
Ahmadinejad Said, “Scotland is declaring war on Iran?”
“Nay, notta’ Scotland, we are.”
“And just who exactly are you?” Ahmadinejad asked. The voice on the other end answered and said, “I told ye, I'm Angus McKee. And it would be me, Duncan McCrae, and Robert MacArthur, that are declaring war on ye.”
Ahmadinajad rubbed his chin and said, “You know that Iran has one of the worlds largest armies. We have 10,000 tanks, 5,000 jet fighters, and over 100,000 men?” There was silence on the other end of the line until finally Angus said, “Hold on, we’ll be’a callin’ you back.”
A few days passed and the phone rang again. Angus said, “Alright ye camel ridin’ sand flea. We’ve managed to get ourselves a tractor. What do ye’ think about that?”
Ahmadinejad answered, “Well, I too have increased the size of my army. I have added 500 armored personel carriers and 200 scud missles.” So Angus was quiet for a moment and then said, “I’ll be’a callin’ you back.”
And sure enough, in a couple of days, the phone rang and Angus said, “We’ve added two to our number, Alistair McCoy and Mickey O’Toole – a mad Irishman has joined us.”
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said, “Again I have increased my army as well. 5,000 more men have been drafted into service, and we have chemical weapons as well.” Again Angus was quiet for a moment and then said, “I’ll call ye back.”
Then a couple of days later the phone rings, Angus says, “Well ye giant, stinking particle from an Englishman’s nose. We’ve decided not ta’ invade.”
Ahmadinejad asked, “And why is that?” Angus snorted, “Because ye’ oaf, I donn’a think we’d have enough room ta’ house all the prisoners.”
Now despite the willingness of those Scotsmen, that is not reality… we all know it would take at least 5 Scotsman and one mad Irishmen to defeat Iran – (HA!). Seriously though, war is costly. It costs money, it costs resources, and it costs human life.
Now last week we talked about how we have been engaged in a war since the fall of man. It’s a spiritual war, and its caused because there is enmity between the seed of the serpent and the seed of the woman. And it is a costly war.
Now in our text here, when Eve gives birth to her first born son, Cain; she says, “I have acquired a man from the Lord.” 1st of all, what that tells us is that Eve understood a basic principle in life, and that is that we all owe our existence to God. 2nd it shows us our mutual need for one another. First the woman came from the man, Eve was taken from Adam and then brought back to him. Now man is coming from woman. We are mutually dependant upon one another. And 3rd it tells us that Eve may have thought that Cain was to be the promised Messiah, the One who would crush the head of the serpent. After all, he is a “man from the LORD.” And then when her second son is born, she names him Abel. The name Abel has three meanings; it can mean – “Breath”, it can mean – “Vapor”, or it can mean – “Nothing.” And so Abel’s name can refer to three things as well.
1. If you take the meaning of his name to be “breath” then you are also probably taking Cain’s name to mean that “all life is a gift from God.” With “breath” referring to the breath of life that God breaths into every living soul of man that comes into this world.
2. If we take his name to mean “vapor” then we are thinking that Eve was, like so many in the OT, able to name their children in a way that corresponded with their lives. And so “vapor” would correspond with the shortness of Abel’s life on earth.