A Too Human Tragedy

A Too Human Tragedy

It seems like the bible has too many examples of human tragedy – of the consequences of our own poor choices. Take Cain for example – choices that cursed him and brought grief to his family. The story starts out, in the beginning that is, after Adam and Eve were cast out the garden they had two sons – the first brothers. The scriptures tell us that Cain was a farmer and that Abel was shepherd, i.e one had animals and one had grain and such.

The next part of the story begins when they bring sacrifices to God. We have no indication here of the requirements of the sacrifice – this is long before Moses & Abraham. Here is what we do know:

  • Cain brought some of the fruits of his labor from the soil
  • Abel brought was it described as some of the best of what he had in terms of his animals
  • God was pleased with Abel & his sacrifice
  • God was not pleased with Cain & his sacrifice
  • God warns Cain that his “wrong” sacrifice is a dangerous opening to sin in his life

I have been taught before that Cain should have brought animals instead of grain as his sacrifice – that he did it the wrong way in that sense. While that could be true I don’t see that here and I don’t know of any later biblical comments to that effect. So I’m not sure if that’s really what God was displeased with, especially as the concept of bringing a sacrifice to God just jumps out – no instructions from God on how or when preceed it – just time.

That said, we can infer a little bit from some of the adjectives describing the sacrifice. Cain’s sacrifice is described in many of the version as “some” of what came from the ground. Abel’s sacrifice, however, talks about fat and firstborn. There seem to be an inference that Abel brought his best and Cain did not. I don’t think I can say that definitively from the text but it seems to come across in a number of different translations.

But now we move closer to the tragedy – our reaction to our own mistakes. Cain is not happy that God wasn’t pleased with his sacrifice – which seems like a normal human reaction. God tells him that if he would just do what is right that he will be right with God – things will be OK. However God warns him – not threatens him – that his choice not to do right is opening a dangerous hole to sin in his life that could destroy him.

I think you know the next part of the story – Cain kills his brother – not by accident or getting into a fight with him- but in cold blood – he’s a murderer now. God’s prophecy comes true and sin takes him down a disastrous course. He curses himself and brings grief upon his family (his mother and father who have to live with knowing one of their sons is dead and by the hand of another).

So here’s our tragedy – our own poor choices take us down road of pain and grief, not just for ourselves but for others. The example here is both fascinating and chilling – it wasn’t the choice of lying, of murder, adultery, stealing, etc. that begins Cain down the path but a choice of worship. I believe that Cain chose to hold back from worshipping God – he didn’t give him his best. That choice didn’t immediately cause God to curse him, but to warn him. The heart attitude he chose to not honor and worship his Creator was a terrible opening to sin which lead to murder.

This is my opinion – as it’s not clear biblical knowledge.  But I do believe the call of God in our lives – to pay attention to him – to honor him – is not something to be taken lightly.  I don’t think God looks at this to punish us – but to warn us about how our hearts function.  There is  an anger that can develop in us when we don’t do what we should – an internal conflict.  I think that anger can be a barrier in our relationship to God – which leaves Satan an opening in our lives – one that we may welcome more than turning back toward God.

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  • Understandingtheword says:

    I love the book of Jude. It is my favorite book speaking of those who speak evil of the things they know not, but what they know naturally as brute beasts. It speaks of these following Cain and Balaam, both of which deal with cursing. The bible tells us they who are of the works of the law are under the curse. Those who teach the works of the law do so through natural understanding. They do not understand the law of God is spiritual and is fulfilled through faith in Jesus alone. These seek to please God with their own works of righteousness in the flesh, the works of the law, the curse. For example, the bible tells us not to lie, 1 John 2:22 tells us the spiritual definition of a liar. This verse tells us a liar is one who denies Jesus is the Christ, which is unbelief in the gospel. When we believe the gospel, we do not deny Jesus is the Christ, which in turn makes us no longer liars. The same for stealing. Jesus told us to climb up any other way than through him makes us theives. If we go through faith in JEsus, we are no longer theives who steal spiritually. All the commandments are fulfilled through faith in Jesus. Salvation is by grace through faith, not works. Those in the book of Jude are those who do not understand the bible spiritually and seek to please God as Cain and Balaam by their own works of righteousness in the flesh, the works of the law, the curse as Balaam tried to curse Israel, these try to bring men under the curse of the law by works through false teaching, they bring cursed works to God as an offering as did Cain. God had cursed the ground from which Cain brought his offering representing these who follow the bible based on natural understanding. Here is an interesting bible study website that opens up the spiritual wisdom of the word of God.

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