Genesis 4:1-8: Keeping short accounts.

“Adam made love to his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain.  She said, ‘With the help of the Lord I have brought forth a man.’ Later she gave birth to his brother Abel.  Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. But Abel also brought an offering – fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favour on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favour. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.  Then the Lord said to Cain, ‘Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.’  Now Cain said to his brother Abel, ‘Let’s go out to the field.’  While they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.”

At Christmas, I was given a daily calendar, with a Bible verse for each day of the year. The texts are taken from the ‘King James’ version of the Bible. Today’s happens to read: ‘’Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother’’ (Matthew 18:15)

It is important that we should ‘keep short accounts’ with one another. Don’t let resentment smoulder. It is likely that it will eventually erupt into a hot (and potentially destructive) flame. There are appropriate ways to nip things in the bud, to sort out differences early on. Cain’s way is not God’s way.

Anyway, his brother had done nothing wrong!

‘Satan is a serpent that deceives and a lion that devours (1 Peter 5:8-9). He used eve to tempt Adam and Cain to destroy Abel. The two ‘’seeds’’ of Genesis 3:15 came into conflict, for Cain was a child of the devil (1 John 3:10-12) while Abel was a child of God (Matt.23:35). Like his father, the devil, Cain was a liar and a murderer (1 John 8:44).’’ Warren Wiersbe: ‘With the Word’, p.17.

Jesus warned about the danger of hatred in the heart (Matthew 5:21-26). It can be the first stirrings of murder. The famous story of Cain and Abel graphically illustrates this.

It is a good start in the right direction if you can begin to sincerely pray for those people who anger (and hurt?) you. Pray God’s blessing on them.

PRAYER: Holy Spirit, how we need your help. Help us to control anger, to love those who offend us, and to regularly practice forgiveness.