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You Don't Have to Take It

The message is coming to us in surround sound from Chapter 4 of Genesis. One voice cries from the earth itself and the other from the atmosphere. There is a sense of urgency in the tone of each because their experiences in life demand that they pass on this information. Perhaps someone will benefit from the testimonies.

This will come to you in the first person, and I, Cain, as the oldest will begin. As you probably have read, my brother and I have been raised outside the famous Garden. Despite that fact, my Mom believed that I was a gift from God and we still feel His presence here. There came a time in this outside world that we had to make career choices. When my Dad told me the story about how hard we would have to work and the obstacles we would have to overcome, my spirit rose to the challenge. I decided that I would plant a little garden of my own. My job description of “tiller” matched my restless and troubled personality. I felt that perhaps I could prove that it could be done. I would work and I would harvest some of the finest produce this world had ever seen. I guess my attitude hasn’t always been the best, but something is driving me. I get really frustrated with my passive younger brother. I feel like there is something more that I need. I want acceptance from God. Perhaps I can get God’s approval if I offer Him the best of what I do.

What Cain was experiencing was the same test his Mother encountered; being tempted to desire something he already had.

I Abel will now tell you my story. I am a thinker. My folks told me all about the “inside” life. They had some great chats with God back then. From what I understand, they were very close to Him. I was always intrigued about the part where God himself made them clothes. I wonder about the blood. I think about mercy and forgiveness. I dream often about how it would have been for me if they hadn’t “taken it.” My heart's desire, however, was to identify with the thing that God had used for a sacrifice. It seemed to be symbolic, and even though I didn’t fully understand, it captivated me. It caused me to hunger and thirst for righteousness. I wanted my career to be a “keeper.” I wanted to attend to and look after important things. It was a way of being prepared, anticipating the day when I could worship God in that way, with an offering. I know I probably annoyed my brother because I was content. I like being a shepherd; it gives me the time I need to have a relationship with God. I think I would have loved life in the Garden.

The examples of these two men are brought to our remembrance throughout scripture. There is a Biblical principle here concerning attitude and obedience. As sure as Abraham made up his mind to be totally submissive to God in the offering of his son, Eve could have made a similar choice when tempted. When confronted with Eve’s choice, Adam still had the option of standing firm. Sadly Cain followed his parents’ example and was deceived. He was very quick to tell God he was not a “keeper.” One of the saddest comments in the Bible describes the results: “And Cain went out from the Presence of the Lord.” Was he angry that God did not recognize his self-righteousness? Did pride keep him from repenting when he and God had their final conversation? To obtain a different sacrifice may have meant he would have to humble himself and ask his brother. That would be admitting failure to really make it on his own.

God made a special point in verse 7 of Genesis chapter 4. He said “if you don’t yield yourself completely to me, then sin, which is already on your doorstep, finds an opening, comes on in and takes over. In other words, you are always obedient to someone. You are a servant to the Master of your choice. It is inevitable that you will follow the suggestions and directions of “a” spiritual force. Be careful! Wisdom may be the oil that fuels your fire, but make sure you carry a container of understanding along with it. Both of these lifesavers are available “free” for the asking.

Whenever we face-off with the enemy, the reference mark called the “asterisk” should be flashing in our mind. It should indicate to us that there is an omission of letters or words. We need to look deeper. We need to remind ourselves that he is a destructive liar. He does not have our best interest at heart! We have the right to say, “know!” We do not have to “take it.” As sons of God, we can understand what is going on and base our choice on that knowledge. Through the wisdom of our God, we know our enemy. We don’t just take all of the things he tries to give us. The response to his attempts on our very lives is “know thanks.” It is all about knowing and thanking God that we do. It follows that Jesus would offer us this conclusion in Matthew 22:37-40 in response to a question regarding the greatest commandment. You should love the Lord your God with all of your heart, soul, and mind. This is the first and greatest, but the second is just like it. You should love everyone else as much as you do yourself. Everything is based on these two things. Know the policy and integrity of a “keeper” whose understanding is rooted in love, and knows...he doesn’t have to take it.

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