Summary: Creation, Pt. 4
There is a beautiful Hebrew legend of how the location of the Jerusalem temple was determined. Two brothers lived side by side on adjoining lands in the past. One was the head of a large family, and the other lived alone. One night, the former lay awake and thought: “My brother lives alone, he has not the companionship of wife and children to cheer his heart as I have. While he sleeps, I will carry some of my sheaves into his field.”
At the same hour, the other brother reasoned: “My brother has a large family, and his necessities are greater than mine. As he sleeps, I will put some of my sheaves on his side of the field.” Thus the two brothers went out, each carrying out his purposes and each laden with sheaves, and met at the dividing line. There they cried and embraced each other. The place they met was the very spot the altar of the Jerusalem temple was placed years later (7,700 Illustrations # 3214, Paul Lee Tan).
Adam and Eve had two sons, Cain and Abel. The older Cain was a gardener and the younger was a shepherd. And Adam and Eve’s marital conflicts in Eden were taken up by Cain, who was outraged at Abel’s sacrifice. The first sin of man in the garden was disobedience against God, and the second was bloodshed against brother. It’s been said, “Sin never stands still- it always continues to grow.” The sin against God was, inevitably, spilled over to man.
Abel’s sacrifice was acceptable to God, Cain’s was not, and the outcome was jealousy and envy, anger and hatred, foul play and cover up. What did God see in Abel that was missing in Cain? Why was Abel commended as a righteous man? How should we approach God, please and dignify Him?
Sacrifice Your Gifts in Faith
4:1 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." 2 Later she gave birth to his brother Abel. Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. 3 In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the LORD. 4 But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering, 5 but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast. 6 Then the LORD said to Cain, "Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 7 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." (Gen 4:1-7)
Cyrus, the founder of the old Persian Empire, once had captured a prince and his family. When they came before him, the monarch asked the prisoner, “What will you give me if I release you?” “I will give the half of my wealth,” was his reply.
“And if I release your children?” “Everything I possess.” “And if I release your wife?” “Your Majesty, I will even give of myself.”
Cyrus was so moved by his devotion that he freed them all. As they returned home, the prince said to his wife, “Wasn’t Cyrus a handsome man! What impressive soldiers he had! Did you get a view of the big palace, the busy city, and the beautiful streets?”