Man continues his descent into sin, and separation from God. Quickly, anger and jealousy lead to the first murder, as Cain comes against Abel. And it continues from there until the time of Noah, when mankind was so wicked and self-serving that God could no longer stand it. But let’s backup and address a few questions.
What was so wrong in Cain’s offering? Why did it not please God? Some suggest that it was because Cain brought grain as an offering. This cannot be the real issue though. In the law of Moses and the sacrificial system of Israel, they were instructed to bring grains and fruit, oils and nuts as offering at different times and for various reasons. Obviously God was not offended by such an offering. Read it again. Cain brought “some” of the fruit of his crops; Abel brought fat portions from the firstborn of his flock. Now we see the problem. Cain did not bring the best of his harvest or the first gleanings; he brought what was left, what he felt like bringing. Cain kept the best for himself and sacrificed to God almost as an afterthought. That was how he offended God. Cain goes on to show that his thoughts and desires center on himself and not on God when he becomes so angry that he decides to kill his own brother.
We see this again in chapter 6 with the description of mans sinfulness. There is speculation and disagreement over the meaning, or implication, of “sons of God” and “daughters of man”. In places the term “sons of God” seems rather unquestionably to mean angels (such as Job 1-2). From this many believe the account in Genesis means that angels were intermingling with human women. I am not convinced of that interpretation, but prefer the understanding that this indicates that men followed their own desires, selfishly and without regard for right and wrong, especially in their relations with women. It could even indicate that the righteous and faithful line of Seth were marrying the hedonistic daughters of Cain, and were being led into sin by them.
Lamech’s bold and boastful claim finds its reverse in Jesus’ answer to Peter. In punishing Cain by casting him out to wander the earth, God also promised to protect him and to avenge him seven times over if anyone harmed Cain. Lamech (Cain’s descendant) told his two wives (perhaps giving support to my understanding of chapter 6) that he had killed someone for hurting him, and he claimed that if anyone came after him he would be avenged seventy seven times over. Lamech claimed protection and vengeance which God did not give him. When Peter asked Jesus how many times he should forgive a brother who wrongs him, Jesus says seventy seven times. I don’t know if Peter had this incident from Genesis in mind when he asked the question, but I am sure that Jesus intended Peter, and us, to think of Lamech. We have no right to hold a grudge or refuse to forgive. We must resist the ego and self-centered ways of Lamech and instead selfishly forgive all.
We’re setting off together on a bold and exciting journey! Our mission is to read through the Bible, in a year. This will be for us “a year in the word” – a year for the rest of our lives! I’m glad to join with you on this. This blog site is intended to help us stay connected and share discussion as we read together over this year. Feel free to comment and share your thoughts, to interact with me and each other.
Why read through the bible?
As evangelical Christians, we believe the Bible to be the very word of God – authoritative for our lives, helpful for our worship and spiritual growth, and a primary source of meeting and knowing the God we love. As Paul says: “Every scripture is inspired by God and useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness..” (2 Timothy 3:16).
Few of us can say we have read every word of the Bible – every word of God. There are parts of his word which many have never read, or even heard. Even preachers rarely venture into certain books, or chapters, of the Bible. We read to know God better. We read to better understand his nature and his instruction to us.
The good news is that anyone can actually accomplish this! It really only takes about 15-20 minutes of reading each day – 3-5 chapters. And hopefully, this experience will foster a discipline and habit which sticks with us for the rest of our lives!
Chronological means in the historical timeline of events. The books of the Bible are not presented in chronological order – and that’s ok. But there is also some benefit to reading the Bible in a chronological order. It helps us better understand the words, events, prophecies and teachings in their context. This means we will read the Psalms of David as we follow along the story of David’s life. We will read the prophets as we encounter the historical events of their time and the people to whom they spoke. Reading chronologically helps us to put some things into fuller perspective, and maybe even to see the Bible in the greater context of world history.
How to get the plan and stay on track
- Blue Letter Bible
o Access on their website – www.blueletterbible.org
▪ You can download the plan here
▪ You can also create a login and register for the plan
o On your Android phone – the Blue Letter Bible app
▪ Lets you access from your phone
▪ Shows daily readings and keeps you on track
▪ No login required
- The Bible App (Youversion)
o Under plans: “Chronological”
- Download reading plan from the resources on your left
Some advice as you read
- Set a time that works well for you and be consistent in reading at this same time every day.
- Pray before you start: ask for God to open your mind to comprehend and understand what you read
- Read to understand and even remember – not just for speed or to check today’s box
- Take notes as you read: What stands out to you? What is helpful? What is new? What is confusing? What questions do you have?
- Think about what your daily reading teaches us about God, his plan, Christ, yourself: How does this fit with the broader picture of the Bible? How is this encouraging?
- Pray after you read.
I am still amazed, every time I read the creation account in Genesis 2, about the implications of the creation of woman. God realized the need and importance of a companion for Adam – and one of his own species. We may say that a dog is man’s best friend, but God and Adam found a very different reality. Man needed a best friend more suited than the dog, or any other animal. Man needs the companionship and help of woman, to be his best and most complete self, according to the creation account. And woman needs man, to be her best and fullest self. “It is not good for man to be alone.” It is not good for man to live in isolation. It is not good for man to spend too many hours by himself, without someone to talk with, relate to, and to be close. And, the best created being for man, to fill this need, is woman.
The first sin, in chapter 3, depicts the root of all sin. At the heart of it all is doubting God and seeking to make ourselves on par with Him. Satan tells the first people that eating the fruit which had been forbidden would make them like God. This was only partly true, in that eating did open their eyes to know good and evil, as God did. Up to this point, they had only really known good. Now we know evil as well; in fact, we know it too well. We know it so well that evil seems a defining characteristic of mankind. Adam and Eve heard the tempting words of Satan (the Accuser, in Hebrew the word Satan means accuser) and decided maybe he was right. Maybe they had some reason to doubt God. Maybe it would be better to be more like him. I guess being made in the image of God – the only created beings with that distinction, and who were filled with the breath (or Spirit) of God – was not quite enough. They wanted to be fully like God; and in our own sin, we all try to achieve this same stature. By rejecting his design, intent and desire for us we assert that we don’t trust God, that we are better, wiser or have just as much authority as he.