Why Did Cain Kill Abel?

Abel brought the best of his flocks as a sacrifice to God. Cain brought some of his crops to offer to God.

It wasn’t that Abel offered an animal and Cain offered some of his crops. After all, Moses later gave commands for grain offerings as well as animal sacrifices.

Abel’s sacrifice was acceptable to God. He, however, brought the best.

Cain’s wasn’t. He brought some of his crops. Not the best perhaps.

Maybe it was because of the attitude of their hearts when they brought the sacrifices.

Cain became angry because of God’s reaction. And God warned Cain about his anger and that what was in his heart was going to cause Cain problems.

Cain didn’t listen.

Instead he deceived Abel into going into the field with him, and he killed him.

Cain was angry that God did not accept his sacrifice. But he could have changed his heart and offered what was right.

But he didn’t.

He took out his anger with God on Abel.

Cain was perhaps jealous and felt that God loved Abel more than he loved him.

The very first murder was in one way over religion.

Jesus said:

But I tell you, everyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. And whoever says to his brother, Fool!’ will be subject to the Sanhedrin. But whoever says, You moron!’ will be subject to hellfire. (Matthew 5:22 HCSB)

Murder begins with anger. Anger is very dangerous. Cain killed Abel, because he was angry.

He was angry that God did not accept his sacrifice.

He was angry that God accepted Abel’s sacrifice.

This led to jealousy.

Genesis 4:7 tells how God tried to warn Cain that his behavior was going to led to sin, and that is was waiting to attack him. The person who attacked was first attacked by sin.

Cain could have made a different decision. He could have changed his life and repented before it was too late. But he didn’t.

If you are angry with someone, be very careful. It may take you somewhere you do not want to go, and leave you with regret.

It might not be murder, but it could be assassination of character, or words that you can never take back once said.

We can learn from Cain’s mistake and choose to repent.

Make Your Mark: Getting Right What Samson Got Wrong

What You Thought About Samson Might be Wrong

I remember thinking while reading Judges that God was using Samson’s strength to conquer the Philistines. Brad Gray tells us we may be looking at Samson’s story wrong.

The stories of people in the Old Testament often showed how people’s lives were without endorsing all of the things they did.

In fact, the New Testament in Romans 15:4 (HCSB) teaches:

For whatever was written in the past was written for our instruction, so that we may have hope through endurance and through the encouragement from the Scriptures.

Mr. Gray reminds the readers (if they forgot) or tells them (if they don’t know) that Samson was a Nazarite from birth. He tells the significance of this:

Numbers 6 lists three restrictions a Nazarite must adhere to. First, a Nazarite must not consume anything from the grapevine, including wine, or any other alcoholic drink. Therefore, no grapes and definitely no wine. Second, a Nazarite must not cut their hair. Their long hair is a visible identifier of the vow taken before God. And third, a Nazarite is not allowed to be in the vicinity of a dead body. (Page 6 in paperback edition)

If you recall the stories if you went to Sunday School, it seemed that Samson was killing people – a lot. And the Bible mentions God’s Spirit coming over Samson a couple of times before he did it. So, I assumed it was God’s intention that he conquer the Philistines.

Mr. Gray says he believes that because of Samson’s calling, it was actually the Spirit warning him not to do it, and Samson refused to heed the warning.

In fact, the entire story of Samson in Judges tells one after another things that Samson does that breaks his Nazarite calling.

The book, though it focuses on Samson’s miserable failures, uses them as a jumping off point to teach how our lives should be instead. He talks about humility, what it is is and isn’t, and about revenge.

The book gives background information of word meanings in the original language, fascinating facts about the layout of the land, and the paperback version includes maps throughout the book. He uses these to show why some of the things Samson did were outrageous.

The author also explains the significance of letting the hair grow long in Nazarites, background history of the culture. It is a very researched book.

Mr. Gray points out that with all of the failures that Samson had in his life, he appears in a list of people who are used as an illustration of faith.

Perhaps this is why we can get hope and encouragement from the stories of people’s lives in the Old Testament. The Bible doesn’t leave out the sins of people who were great men of faith (or even those with little faith).

We can learn a lot from Samson’s life, and I learned a lot from Brad Gray.

Here is a link below to the book at Christian Book if you want to purchase the book. It is also available as an ebook:

Make Your Mark: Getting Right What Samson Got Wrong

Note: The above link is not an affiliate link.

What Can You Learn from Eve’s Decision?

The very first woman, Eve, was approached by a smooth salesman: Satan.

Satan promises Eve a lot of things that were really enticing:

  • Secret Knowledge
  • No Consequences to her behavior
  • Being a god

Secret Knowledge

Some ads use the word “secret” in them. We have this knowledge that is secret that is going to solve your problem. You can’t find it anywhere else. Only we have it.

The thing is, knowledge that is wonderful often it isn’t hidden at all. It just takes work. Losing weight is eating less calories and moving more. No secret to that. But it’s hard. So, instead, people sell you a pill, or a new diet plan that is going to work when the last one didn’t, or some easy exercise equipment that looks like it just helps you melt pounds off just by looking at it – ha!

Some religious groups do the same thing. They claim to have hidden knowledge of God, or will tell you the Bible has hidden codes in it.

However, God didn’t reveal himself in the Bible to make himself hidden.

The Gnostics who were around during the time John wrote his short letters in the Bible claimed to have knowledge about God that you could only get through them.

No Consequences

Many things that are bad for your body are “sold” to people without telling you there are severe consequences.

We are seeing this with the drug epidemic. “This drug will make you feel better.” What it really does is numb you to the reality that you aren’t facing. It doesn’t make you feel better in the long run. It hooks you, and many of the ones out there on the streets are killing people or hooking you severely – sometimes on the very first use.

The same thing is seen in drinking, smoking, etc. It is made to look cool, fit in with others, enjoying life, but often it leads down a very sad path with lots of bad consequences.

Make no mistake, God is not mocked. A person will harvest what they plant. Those who plant only for their own benefit will harvest devastation from their selfishness, but those who plant for the benefit of the Spirit will harvest eternal life from the Spirit. (Galatians 6:7-8 CEB) Galatians 6: 7-8 (Bible Gateway)

There are consequences to behavior. Sometimes, the consequences are deadly as in the case with Eve. Her decision led to death. Not immediately, but eventually. This is the same way that consequences often work. Sometimes the results are not immediate, but they do come.

Being a god

This promise was very subtle. Eve was told that God was holding back on her, keeping her from enjoying life.

Being responsible is not “fun” sometimes. It may look like changing diapers, going to work every day, studying for an exam instead of going to a party. In other words, being an adult.

It seems that it would be more enjoyable to do what’s fun and use that as a criteria to making decisions. This is what being a god is really offering: Make your own decisions, live life the way you want to, and everything will work out anyway.

The consequences to that type of life may make it enjoyable for you, maybe even a lifetime, but it leaves behind scarred children, broken hearts, and a difficult world to live in and, eventually, eternal consequences.

This doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. But all fun needs to have boundaries. So, the next day, you wake up with good memories and not a lousy-feeling body, or consequences that follow you or someone you love for the rest of your life.

God puts boundaries in place and tells us not to “eat from that tree,” because he made us, and he knows what’s good for us.

If you are looking for wisdom to live life, a great book of the Bible to read is the book of Proverbs. It has 31 chapters. So, you can read one chapter a day. It has advice for life in many categories.

I hope that the next time someone comes to you promising you one of the above things, you’ll take a closer look at their promises. Perhaps, they are offering you a piece of fruit that looks great, tastes great, but will leave a sour taste in your mouth in the long run.