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  • Luke Hamblett

This week we are going to take a look at Abel, the brother of Cain and son of Adam and Eve. Let's find out what we can learn from Abel.

The verse in which Abel is introduced is the same section as where we met Cain.


Genesis 4:2-8 (NIV)

2 Later she gave birth to his brother Abel. Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. 3 In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. 4 And Abel also brought an offering—fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, 5 but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.

6 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 7 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.” 8 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.


Abel (heh-bel) can literally be translated as 'breath'. Abel's name was a literal representation of him being born into life. Abel was the first shepherd, the one in the family that took care of the herd of sheep. This is a defining role for Abel, the role of the shepherd is a narrative that we see flowing throughout the entire Bible and it eventually leads us to Jesus, the ultimate shepherd. This also highlight the way in which we as humans are set apart, the nature of farming and tending to animals was with us from the beginning, whereas animals lives a complete hunter gatherer lifestyle.


We read that God looked favourable on Abel's offering, why is this? It's all about the intent behind it, Abel gave his offering not out of duty or a selfish desire, but out of faith. This is why God looked favourably on Abel's offering but not Cain's. This teaches us that God looks at the condition of your heart, not your sacrifice. Both of the offerings were equally valid, but God sees through the surface and recognises the intent behind the offering that is given, on this basis we can see that it's about our desire to worship, praise and seek God.


Hebrews 11:4 (NIV)

4 By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith he was commended as righteous, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead.


Here in Hebrews, Abel is listed as the first person in something we know as the 'Hall of Faith', where a number of key characters from biblical narrative are listed. The important bit that I want to draw out of this is the final sentence 'And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead.' Abel's heart and obedience still speaks to us thousands of years after his death, his legacy lives on. I think this is something that it is worth considering, what is the legacy that we will leave behind? Will our legacy speak favourably of us? If we are following the path that God has set before us then we will leave behind a good example for those who follow, just like Abel.


So, what are the key points from Abel's life?


- God sees through our offerings and examines our hearts

- What is the legacy we are leaving behind? Will it help those who follow on from us?

- Who are the sheep in our flock? Are we taking care of them?


I pray that as we reflect upon Abel's life and the statements/questions above that God will help us to follow the path that he has set before us.


Amen

  • Luke Hamblett

This week we are going to be taking a look at Cain, the first child, the first son of man and the first murderer. What can we learn from his life?

Cain is the first child born into the world, whereas Adam and Eve were both formed by god in adult form, Cain was born just as we are still today. Cain's birth is a massive point of significance for us as it is the beginning of the first family. The name Cain (kah'-yin) can be translated to mean 'possession' or 'I've got him' and is a literal name to signify of Eve's possession of the first son. It is believe that Eve thought that Cain was the Messiah that God had promised, and in her naming him she believed him to be the Savior of the world. We can see from this that Eve had the faith to believe that this small baby would become a man. As Cain was the first child born into the world, Adam and Eve wouldn't of known that he would grow to become a man, but they believed it due to their faith in what God had told them.


Cain follows in the footsteps of Adam and becomes a farmer, he tends the land. His brother Abel (who we will cover next week) tends the 'flocks'.


Genesis 4:2-8 (NIV)

2 Later she gave birth to his brother Abel. Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. 3 In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. 4 And Abel also brought an offering—fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, 5 but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.

6 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 7 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.” 8 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.


Here we see the first time that envy/jealousy presents itself amongst mankind. Cain, seeing that God is pleased by Abel's offering but not by his own, enacts his jealousy through violence. God challenges Cain's downcast attitude.


How do we react when we are told that we have done something wrong?


Sometimes its the easy option to react in anger, frustration or jealousy. But, we can see from God's challenge to Cain that there is always another option. This option may not always be glamorous or gain us plaudits and praise, but God is urging Cain to consider the eternal effects of his attitude here. If we do what is right then we will be accepted, we know now that Jesus has bridged the gap of sin for us, but the condition of our hearts is essential to forming the decision to accept Jesus' sacrifice and God's grace into our lives.


God goes on to ask Cain what he has done, again as we covered in Eve's blog, it's not because God doesn't already know, but because he is challenging Cain for his actions. God curses Cain and casts him out of the land, to wander the earth. Again, we can be thankful that Jesus' blood has paid the price for our sin and gives us the opportunity to reconcile with God. However, if we actively choose to commit sin, like Cain, then we will exile ourselves from God's grace and covering. It's not always easy to make the right choices but we have the opportunity to ask God for His help and He is always willing to provide it.


I pray that we might turn to God in our moments of need and that we might find our strength in Him. I pray that we might strive to be better brothers and sisters and work to uphold one another in God's love.


Amen.

  • Luke Hamblett

Updated: May 24, 2021

Welcome to the second part of our God's people series, this week we will be taking a look at Eve. Eve can be a very polarising individual when we look at the history of creation. So let's take a look at what we can learn from her story.

The name Eve, חַוָּה (Chawwah), comes from the Hebrew word (chawah) which means, ''to breathe''. It is also very closely linked to the Hebrew word (chayah) which means ''to live''. Eve's name signifies the beginning of human life and is a foreshadowing of her role in creation and becoming the mother of all.


The first time we encounter Eve in scripture is Genesis 2:20-25;


20 So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals.

But for Adam no suitable helper was found. 21 So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. 22 Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.


23 The man said,

“This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.”


24 That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.


25 Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.


The first point I want to draw out is how important Eve is. Just as Adam was the first man, Eve was the first woman, the first wife and the first mother. Being the first woman, she shared a special intimacy with God and had a joint responsibility alongside Adam for the stewardship of creation. In the same way that Adam was made in the 'image of God', so was Eve. Meaning that the importance and nature of being set apart is of equal value to both males and females.


Eve was the missing part to the union of marriage. God created us to be relational, he created us not only for a relationship with Him, but also a relationship with one another and Eve was the missing part of the puzzle. "But for Adam no suitable helper was found." - This section of the scripture clearly tells us that we need one another. Adam couldn't fulfil his purpose alone and neither can we. It doesn't matter how skilled, dedicated or fortunate we are. We need one another to complete God's work and we need one another to live a fulfilled life. The fact that God took part of Adam to create Eve just shows the intent for oneness. I really love this quote from Barnhouse on this subject:


"There is a beautiful Jewish tradition saying God made woman, not out of man’s foot to be under him, nor out of his head to be over him, but “She was taken from under his arm that he might protect her and from next to his heart that he might love her”


There is a deep biblical discourse around the concept of 'subordinate wives' and status between husband and wife in terms authority. Here's another quote that I found particularly useful from Boice, quoting and building on the words of Elisabeth Elliot:


If men and women are different, are they equal? Elisabeth Elliot said: “In what sense is red equal to blue? They are equal only in the sense that both are colors in the spectrum. Apart from that they are different. In what sense is hot equal to cold? They are both temperatures, but beyond this it is almost meaningless to talk about equality”


In a nut shell, one without the other isn't complete. We can't compare the value of men and women, let alone one another. For me, this is surmised in the New Testament in 1 Corinthians 12:12-26. If you've never read that passage before, it provides a lot of wisdom around this idea and if you have read it before, it's only going to do you good to read it again!


To add to all of this, Eve was the first mother. Since we've had a child of our own I've really grown to see the wonder of motherhood (and it's made me appreciate how much patience my own mother had!). Think about the fact that Eve was not only the first woman, the first wife but also the first mother. How much pressure was she under? What a level of responsibility that is. She gave birth to the first children, along with Adam she was the first parent. Thinking about all of these things in the context of our own lives we can recognise that she truly was amazing.


So, what can we learn from Eve's mistakes?


First of all, let's draw back to the final verse of the passage above; 25 Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame. Knowing what happens next that sentence feels so ominous. Eve is tempted by Satan and gives in, instead of turning to her husband or to God for advice she acts on her impulse and eats the forbidden fruit, allowing sin into her life. She also then goes on to share that sin with Adam by feeding him the forbidden fruit too. Finally, when she was confronted, she blamed the serpent (Satan); Genesis 3:13.


Here are a few bullet points to draw out some lessons for us from the mistakes Eve made:


- Keep God in your decision making process.


- Keep your spouse/those around you who provide wise counsel in your decision making process, check things out with people you trust.


- Own your mistakes, God knows all, God sees all. There is no value in us portioning blame onto others for our actions. Instead, do something about your actions and repent of your sinful ways, our God is gracious and He will make a way for you, no matter what kind of messy situation you've got yourself into.



I pray that we might learn from the life of Eve, that we might keep God essential in our decision making, that we might treat one another with the grace that God gives to each one of us, regardless of class, race, ethnicity or gender. Lord, we also pray for all of the women in our lives, the mothers, daughters, sisters and friends. That you might bless them for the pivotal roles they play in the building of your kingdom.


Amen.