Monday, June 24 2024

January 2, 2016

Alternate Reading Plans
Chronological Order: Genesis 4–7
Old Testament Only: Genesis 4–5
New Testament Only: Matthew 2:1–15

What’s In Your Heart?

Today’s Passage: Genesis 4–7

Heart - PaintingToday’s reading, Genesis 4-6, covers the introduction of children from Cain through Noah and his three sons Shem, Ham, and Japheth.  What impressed me here is the affect the heart of the father had on the heart of the children.  Remember, Adam and Eve introduced sin to the world when they chose to defy God by eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  This sin came from their self-centered heart that desired to be God rather than under God’s authority.

Adam and Eve’s first born is Cain and he has a heart problem (I don’t mean cardiac, I mean his desires).  As we discover he carries anger and resentment in his heart.  There is a lot of debate about why God accepted Abel’s offering but rejected Cain’s.  It seems to me God is clearly rejecting Cain’s offering due to the condition of his heart. In the book of Matthew Jesus says:

Matthew 5:23-24 ESV
“So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” 

This seems to me to also speak to the condition of a man’s heart and his relationship with God.  In Genesis 4:5 we are told that Cain is “very angry” that his offering has been rejected and God says this:

Genesis 4:7 ESV
“If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.” 

Instead of ruling over his anger, however, Cain acts out on it and kills Abel.  Interestingly, my Bible (the ESV translation) doesn’t say that God sent Cain away from his presence but that “Cain went away from the presence of the Lord”.  It seems to me that the physical departure from the presence of the Lord was simply the result of a natural progression that started with a spiritual departure from the Lord.  When Abel brought his offering to God it was the “first born” of his flock.  When Cain brought his offering the Bible says he brought “fruits of the ground” not “first fruits”.  Is this yet another indication of the condition of Cain’s heart?

But look where all of this leads.  We are told of 5 generations of Cain: Enoch, Irad, Mehujael, Methushael, Lamech.  The bigamist Lamech boasts of killing a man for having struck him.  This is one bad dude.  The sins of the father seemed to be magnified in the later generation.  Now Seth is born to Adam and Eve as their third son and notice that with the birth of Seth’s first son, Enosh, “people began to call upon the name of the Lord” (Gen 4:26).  The 5 generations of Seth are: Enosh, Kenan, Mahalalel, Jared, Enoch.  Now Enoch “walked with God, and he was not for God took him.”  Wow!  Enoch walked with God and God took him.  No death, no struggle, just home with God!  The fifth generation from Cain produced a boasting, bigamist, murderer.  The fifth generation from Seth produces a man who walks with God.

Where is your heart?  Are there some things you need to straighten out so that you and your children might “walk with God”?  As men I believe we have too often abdicated our responsibilities.  Whether we like it or not, our children are watching our every move and we are responsible for what they see.  What we say, how we say it, what we do, and the attitude of our heart as we do it have long term consequences.  Let’s start living as the men God created us to be!

Have a blessed day!

Your brother and servant in Christ,

Bill

Dying to self, living to serve!

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