Monday, January 16, 2006

Genesis(Bereshit) My Three Sons - Part 1

In Genesis chapter 4 we read the narrative of Adam and Eve consummated their marriage, conceiving and bearing their first son, Cain. The name is a word play meaning "I have gained (or made) a male child with the help of the Lord." This is significant because of the Hebrew custom of Pidyon ha Ben, the redemption of the first born son.

The next son "Abel" could be translated "breath" or "puff" and could be indicative of his future. Ps. 144:4 "Man is like a breath, his days are as a passing shadow" or Job 7:16 "My days are as a breath."

In meditating about the sin of Cain I have arrived at these insights. Cain's sin was threefold.

The First Sin.
In the profession I have chosen, I have learned that you have to chose your attitude.

Cain's first sin was his attitude. Both brothers brought acceptable offerings to the Lord. Cain brought the fruit of the soil. Abel brought the firstlings of his flock. We have no knowledge of why an offering to the Lord was mandated, only that it was required. Cain went through the motions, but Abel's offering was from his heart. The Lord paid no heed to Cain, but consoled him that "if you do right, there is uplift, if you do not sin crouches at your door. And you can be it's master." Already we see that man has choices. A choice of attitude and a choice of response.

The Second Sin.
Cain murdered his brother

The Third Sin.
The Lord asks Cain, "Where is your brother Abel?"
Cain replies, "I do not know. Am I my brother's keeper?"

We often read this as, "I don't know, that is not my job to keep track of my brother's comings and goings." But what Cain is really saying is, "It is not my job to watch over my brother, it is your job God. Are you not doing your job?" So Cain's third sin is putting God in a box. He is saying, "God it's your job to watch over us. If something happened to Abel then it is because you weren't watching."

As in a ballgame, three strikes and you are out. The Lord removes Cain from his land and His Presence. He takes away his chosen profession and sends him to be a ceaseless wanderer of the earth. So great was Cain's fear that he would be killed that The Lord marked him.

An unfortunate truth that still exists is that the acorn does not drop too far from the tree. Of Cain's greatgrandson Lamech we read that he commits double homicide.

We conclude chapter four by reading of Adam's third son Seth. It is Seth who carries on the faith, for we read that Seth had a son named Enosh. And it was then that men began to invoke the Lord by Name.

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