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“Oh, the unspeakable greatness of that exchange,—the Sinless One is condemned, and he who is guilty goes free; the Blessing bears the curse, and the cursed is brought into blessing; the Life dies, and the dead live; the Glory is whelmed in darkness, and he who knew nothing but confusion of face is clothed with glory.” Trailady

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A person God turned around many times.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Cain and Abel, pt. 2

Love to God possessed the second-begotten of the first Adam and made him the first-begotten of the second Adam.

Abel, the second child of Eve, resembled his mother in many ways. He inherited her mothering tendency and her deprecating nature, forever instilled in her since that fateful last day in the Garden. While her fallen nature also found its expression in Abel, the redeemed mind of Eve, being the “the weaker vessel,” as well resided in her younger son. (1Pet. 3:7).

Compared to his older, presidential brother, Abel was a runt, and like Jacob, “a plain man, dwelling in tents.” (Gen. 25:27). Nothing in Abel seemed to outwardly present greatness or majesty. All this God had given to Cain, being the crown prince. While Cain walked about in dignity, Abel was content to stay in his mother’s company. There he found society, comfort and affection.

The mothering of Abel trained him to love sheep. His tenderness could be accepted by the sheep under his care. Soon he developed his own herds and found them to give him his greatest joy. The Holy Spirit daily molded a Christ-like character into Abel, as he involved himself in the guidance and protection of his flocks. He named each of his woolly followers, and he knew each by its particular personality and character.

But a cloud tinged his joy. That cloud was God’s requirement that a lamb be slain upon any conviction of sin. Killing one of his precious lambs was a terrible ordeal to Abel. He wrestled days and nights before performing this horrifying requirement. But he obeyed; and each time he saw more clearly that his sinfulness caused the chastisement of God’s peace. Without the lamb slain he would never realize this or be humbled by the knowledge of it. So he accepted the divine mandate.

Cain had a strong sense of outward right and wrong. He had a great keenness toward justice; but that keenness was self-centered. Abel’s disposition was for justice mixed with mercy. This character resulted from the transforming power of the animal sacrifice and the brokenness it forced upon Abel’s naturally hard heart. Through his brokenness and humbling, he saw the necessity and beauty of justice. But he also saw the wonders of God’s mercy.

As Abel’s heart grew softer and increasingly pliable by the Spirit of God, his brother’s heart grew more troubled and intolerant. Love, joy and peace began to spread abroad in the soul of the younger brother, while hate, discontent and murmuring took hold in the elder. Week by week, month by month, the two fathers of contrary heritages diverged until they bore no resemblance.

Cain looked upon Abel’s self-deprecating nature as weakness, and the elder brother treated with disdain his younger’s tendency to give what Cain saw as unwarranted grace. Cain expected his sibling to act as his lieutenant, his second-hand man, in the leadership of all their growing population of brothers and sisters. A strong, inflexible arm must bear sway to keep sin from running out of control among their siblings and their future children, as Cain believed. But Abel failed in this form of judicial strength. He could not be of any support to a government Cain saw necessary to defend against transgression.

This grieved Cain greatly, so he attempted by insult and mockery to correct and mold his subordinate. Abel bore up under the often blast of open aggression and masked innuendos. He understood his brother’s mindset of leadership, but his career in herding sheep wouldn’t allow him to copy Cain’s harshness, which Abel viewed as cruelty. He loved his sheep and died with each one he was required to sacrifice.

This mingling of justice with mercy clashed with Cain’s methods. In every act of his brother he heard reproof. Somehow he knew Abel was right, but refused to admit to it. Daily he felt corrected and humbled by his younger brother who should keep his place of subordination as God had ordained it, and submit to the will of his older brother.

But the Spirit of God had full control of Abel’s heart and mind, and the love of Christ constrained him to resemble the Lord God in the dispensation of discipline. However, the spirit of Satan had possession of Cain’s heart and mind, and spiteful dissembling controlled this first-begotten of the first Adam.

As Cain departed from the Law of God, he sought out inventions that would satisfy his unreclaimed, unregenerate nature. What he desired was worship which excluded the convicting power of the lamb sacrificed in innocence and helplessness. He desired a religion that would forget about God, but pass as one that remembers Him. He desired a form of godliness but denied the power thereof.

Naturally he would look to the successes of his own hand. A farmer faithfully following in his father’s footsteps, his abundant and beautiful fruit would replace the disagreeable bloody service passed down from his parents. This system, newly come up, which his father knew not, would be a novel substitute and would spread in popularity to the burgeoning race. Cain would be hailed as a creative inventor and great benefactor and progenitor throughout all the earth.

His pride swelled, his frame already flushed with exaltation and applause, he prepared to unveil his new invention at the annual sacrifice quickly approaching.

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