2024_01_03 Insight Post- Rusty Coram


This week’s reading- Genesis 4:1-16, Matthew 23:35, Hebrews 11:4, Hebrews 12:24, 1 John 3:12, Jude 11

I am really looking forward to our Bible Reading Plan this year. It is the first one we’ve done that focuses on individual men and women profiled in the Bible. We will be looking at a wide variety of people – good examples, poor ones, and mixed ones. By examining their lives, we can learn a lot about God and ourselves.

This first week we read about Cain and Abel, the first sons of Adam and Eve. In Genesis 4, they are introduced as newborns and then we fast forward to them as adults – Cain as a farmer and Abel as a shepherd. I immediately had questions: How old are Cain and Abel at this point? How many other siblings are there? What was their relationship with God like? And many more!

What stands out as key though, is the brokenness in the relationship between the two brothers. We read that Abel is righteous, meaning not necessarily perfect, but humble and surrendered to God. In contrast, Cain is insecure and jealous of his brother and is hurt, angry, and set to harm him. Human nature – beauty and brokenness are on full display even in the first family. There is a quote attributed to Sun Tzu, the famous Chinese military strategist, philosopher, and author of The Art of War: “If ignorant both of your enemy and yourself, you are certain to be in peril.”  But long before Sun Tzu, God lovingly and clearly said to Cain, “Why are you so angry?” the Lord asked Cain. “Why do you look so dejected? You will be accepted if you do what is right. But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master.” Genesis 4:6-7 (NLT) As we continue reading, we see that Cain ignored God’s wisdom, gave in to his anger, and murdered his brother.

This image of sinful desire, as an enemy looking for an opportunity to overtake us, is powerful. Notice also that Cain is not an innocent victim of sin’s power, and by extension, neither are we. We are called by God to “subdue it and be its master”. The way we do this is what we see in Abel – by humbly coming to God being open, honest, and teachable. The rest of our reading this year will reinforce this truth, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and God will come close to you.”  James 4:6–8 (NLT)

Rusty Coram
Senior Pastor