The Bible verse for prayer, meditation, and reflection for the week of January 8 - 15, 2017, is Genesis 4:1-15, taken from the Amplified Bible. It is about family jealousy; it is about killing; it is about disobedience to God’s word. On January 11, 2017, the first execution of the year in the United States, that of Christopher Chubasco Wilkins, is scheduled to take place. Wilkins was convicted of murder whereas in the Bible passaged that follows Can is found guilty of killing - not murdering - his brother Abel.
Now the man Adam knew Eve as his wife, and she conceived and gave birth to Cain, and she said, “I have obtained a man (baby boy, son) with the help of the Lord.” And [later] she gave birth to his brother Abel. Now Abel kept the flocks [of sheep and goats], but Cain cultivated the ground. And in the course of time Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground. But Abel brought [an offering of] the [finest] firstborn of his flock and the fat portions. And the Lord had respect (regard) for Abel and for his offering; but for Cain and his offering He had no respect. So Cain became extremely angry (indignant), and he looked annoyed and hostile. And the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you so angry? And why do you look annoyed? If you do well [believing Me and doing what is acceptable and pleasing to Me], will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well [but ignore My instruction], sin crouches at your door; its desire is for you [to overpower you], but you must master it.” Cain talked with Abel his brother [about what God had said]. And when they were [alone, working] in the field, Cain attacked Abel his brother and killed him.
Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” And he [lied and] said, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?” The Lord said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s [innocent] blood is crying out to Me from the ground [for justice]. And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s [shed] blood from your hand. When you cultivate the ground, it shall no longer yield its strength [it will resist producing good crops] for you; you shall be a fugitive and a vagabond [roaming aimlessly] on the earth [in perpetual exile without a home, a degraded outcast].” Cain said to the Lord, “My punishment is greater than I can bear. Behold, You have driven me out this day from the face of the land; and from Your face (presence) I will be hidden, and I will be a fugitive and an [aimless] vagabond on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.” And the Lord said to him, “Therefore, whoever kills Cain, a sevenfold vengeance [that is, punishment seven times worse] shall be taken on him [by Me].” And the Lord set a [protective] mark (sign) on Cain, so that no one who found (met) him would kill him. (Genesis 4:1-15 AMP)
Wow! This verse gives us a glimpse of world of Adam and Eve’s time. The fact that people were making offerings to God leads to the belief that the people of Adam and Eve’s time had to make offerings to God to atone for their sin. Abel’s offering, a blood sacrifice, was pleasing to the Lord and Cain’s offering, the fruit of his field, was not acceptable. This demonstrates that only a blood offering is acceptable for atonement for sin.
God speaks to Cain about the insufficiency of his offering. God cautioned Cain that failing to following His teaching allows sin to park itself near Him. Cain is angered. Rather than repenting, Cain became jealous of Abel’s relationship with God.
The verse goes on to explain that Cain spoke with Abel about what God had told him. Cain, apparently unpleased with the way the conversation was going, killed his brother.
When Cain is confronted by God about his brother’s absence, Cain lies to God. The words selected for this text indicated that Cain killed Abel. It does not indicate that Cain murdered Abel. The distinction is very important - murder is intentional and would require Cain’s life. The often mistranslated 7th Commandment found at Exodus 20:13, “You shall not murder,” leads us to believe that although Cain was very angry with his brother, he did not intend to murder him. Things went terribly wrong.
Cain did not escape punishment. He was sent away from his homeland, he was given a mark to protect him from those who would seek him to avenge Abel’s death (foreshadowing of the six cities of refuge). Most significantly - he was removed from God’s presence and he took his family with him.
Throughout the entire discourse between the Lord and Cain; Cain showed no remorse for what he had done to his brother, his brother’s family, and to his parents. Cain was only looking for a way out. It appears in an effort to safe his life he lost it eternally. Obviously, only God is the judge of that.
If you are wowing - this short review of this verse doesn’t even scratch the surface of what is going on here. There is so much more.
Take some time this week to pray over, meditate over, and reflect upon this scripture passage. Do a little background research if you like! Pray over it all and ask God for His guidance in understanding this Bible passage.
The Scripture passage for prayer, meditation, and reflection for the week of January 1 - 7, 2017, directs us to be strong in God’s purpose for our life, to be confident in His promise to us, and to be courageous in obedience to His word when challenged to waiver from His direction. Study, meditate, pray, and reflect upon Joshua 1:6-9.
Be strong and confident and courageous, for you will give this people as an inheritance the land which I swore to their fathers (ancestors) to give them. Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do [everything] in accordance with the entire law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may prosper and be successful wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall read [and meditate on] it day and night, so that you may be careful to do [everything] in accordance with all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will be successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not be terrified or dismayed (intimidated), for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:6-9, AMP)
Moses led the Children of Israel out of Egypt on a forty year journey to the Promised Land. Unfortunately for Moses, along the journey he chose to do things his way - not following God’s direction - depriving Him the opportunity to lead God’s chosen into the Promised Land. God allowed Moses to look across the Jordon River into the Promised Land but did not allow Moses to cross over into to it.
Joshua was selected to lead the Children of Israel across the Jordon River, to a land flowing with milk and honey, the home of God’s chosen, the Promised Land. Today we know it as the Nation of Israel.
Why Joshua over Moses? Moses almost followed God’s plan. Almost! Almost!
Joshua pursuant to God’s instruction studied and meditated upon the scripture, seeking a perfect understanding of God, not only in his (Joshua’s) life, but in all things. Joshua understood that he was under obligation (duty) to the entire scripture of the Lord and not only the parts of scripture that didn’t require him to make personal sacrifices or turn from things that, although enjoyable to him, were offensive to God. Finally, Joshua understood that following God’s scripture requires courage. It requires the courage withstand scorn when God’s way challenges the ways of an unenlightened world. It requires courage to say no when saying yes offends God’s word. It requires courage to follow God’s word when it cannot be understood in the contemporary world view - it takes courage to live a life of faith. Be Strong - Be Confident - Be Courages - Live God’s Word - Be Faithful!
Today is the first day of 2017. Start your new year by committing to come to The Forgiveness Foundation Christian Ministries website and print the weekly passage for prayer, meditation, and reflection, further committing yourself to reading it every day for the next seven days - while praying for God’s direction in His meaning of the verse(s). Close your eyes, relax, and meditate upon the verse(s) allowing your mind to focus on the verse(s), asking God to take you where He wants with the scripture. Finally, reflect upon how you apply the scripture to your life. Only 35 minutes a week for the ultimate life changing experience.
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