June 28: Acceptance or Envy

Read Genesis 4:1-26

It certainly didn’t take long for the first sibling rivalry to show up in human history. Among the first two siblings in all of Creation, Cain’s sense of antagonism toward his brother was epic in proportion . . . or at least in its expression.

“While they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him” (v. 8b).

If we take the black box from the crash debris and attempt to examine what went wrong, we discover that we have insufficient data to draw all of the conclusions we want. Clearly, God’s response was based on their offerings. Hebrews tells us the thing that set Abel’s offering apart was the fact that it was offered in faith (Heb. 11:4). God must have given clear instruction not recorded in the early chapters of Genesis about such offerings.

  • Was it the fact that it was from flocks and not from the fruit of the ground? Was God already beginning to point to the superiority of Jesus’ once-for-all sacrifice as the perfect Lamb of God?
  • Was it the fact that Cain’s was an “offering” while Abel’s was from the “firstborn?” Had God already begun to elevate principles of priority and trust?

While these are reasonable speculations, the bottom line is that it was an issue of faith.

Cain was fully aware of God’s disregard for his offering. And his response exposed his second mistake. Rather than sorrowful repentance over the factors that had caused God to withhold favor, Cain allowed his emotions to turn to anger. Rather than rejoicing in his brother’s blessing, he allowed his response to turn murderous.

Be careful here. We may be tempted to assess God’s favor or disfavor in our lives or the lives of others in terms of visible and tangible evidence. But that’s not always the true test.

Can you accept the fact that God’s response in the unfolding details of another family member’s life is different from your own? Can you accept the fact that someone else may seem to have the perfect life and never seem to experience major difficulties while yours is far from that? Don’t let observable differences in external situations cause you to become jealous, angry, or even murderous towards others.

Accept them. Rejoice with those who rejoice instead of letting envy take root.

sbk

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