Summary: Comparing ourselves to others creates problems-anger, envy, hatred, division and even murder. There are solutions to the problem: Take the Eternal Perspective 2. Count others as better 3. Follow Jesus 4. Be so busy being cool that you don’t notice what others are doing 5. Give Thanks
Today I’d like to tell a few stories from the Bible,
As well as read some of the Bible’s teachings concerning comparisons.
Then, at the end, I’d like to consolidate some of the lessons we can learn from what the Bible teaches concerning comparison. This 5-Point message you’ll only get the points at the end, and then we’ll find there’s really only one point. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, “I have gotten a man with the help of the Lord.” And again, she bore his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain a worker of the ground. In the course of time Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground, and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell. ...
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 rule over it.”
8 Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.” While they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.
9 Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?”
“I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?”
10 The LORD said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground. 11 Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. 12 When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth.”
. . . 16 So Cain went out from the LORD’s presence and lived in the land of Nod, east of Eden.
The first murder, first sibling rivalry, first comparison, first death in the Bible.
It should be clear that the results of the first comparison were catastrophic. The Bible begins with a story that teaches
But this is not the only story of comparison in the book of beginnings. There is Sarah, comparing herself to Hagar, Esau comparing himself to Jacob, and, most notably, there is the story of Joseph.
3 Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age; and he made an ornate robe for him. 4 When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him.
Then Joseph had some dreams, in each it seemed his brothers and even his parents would bow down to him. Of course he told his family about these dreams. And the response was not good.
8 His brothers said to him, “Do you intend to reign over us? Will you actually rule us?” And they hated him all the more because of his dream and what he had said.
Joseph’s dad sent him to check on his brothers . . .
So Joseph went after his brothers and found them near Dothan. 18 But they saw him in the distance, and before he reached them, they plotted to kill him.
19 “Here comes that dreamer!” they said to each other. 20 “Come now, let’s kill him and throw him into one of these cisterns and say that a ferocious animal devoured him. Then we’ll see what comes of his dreams.”
21 When Reuben heard this, he tried to rescue him from their hands. “Let’s not take his life,” he said. 22 “Don’t shed any blood. Throw him into this cistern here in the wilderness, but don’t lay a hand on him.” Reuben said this to rescue him from them and take him back to his father.
23 So when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe—the ornate robe he was wearing— 24 and they took him and threw him into the cistern. The cistern was empty; there was no water in it.
25 As they sat down to eat their meal, they looked up and saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead. Their camels were loaded with spices, balm and myrrh, and they were on their way to take them down to Egypt.
26 Judah said to his brothers, “What will we gain if we kill our brother and cover up his blood? 27 Come, let’s sell him to the Ishmaelites and not lay our hands on him; after all, he is our brother, our own flesh and blood.” His brothers agreed.