To all the heartbreaking sadness of the week I add 2 youngsters, ages 10 and 6, swept away over a waterfall at Yosemite while their parents watched helplessly - during a retreat @ a family camp. One child's body is yet to be found, please include them in your prayers. The mother was injured trying to save her sons.
All of this put me into a rage @Adam. (see the poem on the poetry page). I've been meditating on this for a while now, thinking through the scenario and its aftermath.
Eve sinned too, yes. But Eve was deceived. I don't think she tried to evade responsibility, as many seem to think. She merely stated what happened: the serpent deceived her and she ate. Why do I think this? Because even though her pain was increased in childbirth, it wasn't a curse.
Adam, on the other hand, had the whole earth cursed for his sake - thorns, thistles, drought, marauding insects, and the biggie, death. Why was he cursed? Because he tried to point the finger at Eve ("The woman You gave me...") and, incidentally, at God.
But Adam went one further than disobedience. Adam went into full blown idolatry.
He saw Eve, "his woman". He saw she was naked - the implications of the Hebrew are that Adam and Eve were clothed with light, like their Father. Without that clothing Adam knew she would die. So now the question is, do I choose to love God more than Eve and obey? Or do I choose to put Eve before God?
We know his choice.
Adam doesn't even pretend he didn't sin, he just tries to shift the blame, something Cain picked up to follow in dad's footsteps.
It boggles the mind to think of all the repercussions. In one fell swoop, Adam unleashes sin in all its infamous forms - and the very next generation begins the manifestation : murder, lies, evasion, jealousy, and all beginning, again, with disobedience.
Cain knew that all sacrifices to God must include the shedding of blood: that was the consequence of sin, as God killed an animal to provide them with clothing. He had to shed blood to "cover" their sin. So without shedding of blood there is no remission of sin. Cain knew this.
But Cain was a farmer. His produce fed everyone - remember, this was before the flood so all - even animals - were vegetarians (which explains how Noah could have lions and sheep on the boat and enough food for everyone without slaughtering any other animals to feed the lions - but I digress) So Cain, proud of supplying all the food for his family, didn't mess with that untidy blood spilling, he just brought the best of his harvest, soooo much better than a dead sheep.
And better than that dumb Able, who raised sheep which, yes, provided clothing too, but what good was clothing without food? Cain's stuff was much more important than Able's stuff, wasn't it?
Well...no, in this case, it wasn't. Without shedding of blood the sacrifice couldn't be acceptable. Once again, disobedience enters the picture. Cain wanted to be accepted on his own terms. Wasn't he as good as Able? (so here comes "Mom always liked you best.") The problem was that his eyes weren't on God as much as they were on Able. He wasn't sacrificing, he was showing off.
And God shot him down.
So instead of repenting, he got mad at Able- because at least he knew enough not to get mad at God, or blame Him like his dad , Adam did. And envy did what it always does: it kills. It colors situations and insinuates evil motives into the most innocent of occurrences. And Cain did, literally, what envy always does in the heart. He killed that uppity Able.
While I was contemplating these beginnings of "the pride of life" that is so rampant in our culture, I stopped a moment to consider the One Who created these children, to love and nurture them, teach and guide them, and how heartbroken (understatement) He was, watching satan's evil permeate the hearts of His kids. Cain's cry of "unfair!" echoes down through the centuries, as satan begins to poison the heart of man against his Creator, camouflaging his own sinister attacks as being God's fault.
satan made Cain feel "less than" by his disobedience - and when God told him he would be accepted if he simply did it right, even warning him about satan waiting to devour him, Cain heard none of it. To him, it was a slap in the face. His produce was perfect. He was so proud of it. That was a part of himself he brought to God, and God wouldn't take it.
I find it really interesting that part of Cain's punishment was that he could never grown anything again - which, finally, broke through his sullen, silent rebelliousness against God as he cries "This is more than I can bear!"
Poor me. Poor, poor me.
And the evil one has been so successful with this strategy that God is never thought of when abundance and mercy are overflowing - only when something horrific happens do we say "How could a merciful God allow this to happen?"
It happens because mankind has said, over and over, "Don't tell me what I can and can't do - who made you God?"
So God stepped back and said ,"Go for it."
As the result of all this, dear Grandfather Adam opened the door for our CI as well. And as I contemplated in anger all of the pain and sorrow and anguish he unleashed with his one act of disobedience, my Papa gently tapped me on the shoulder to show me my own - waaaaaaaaaaay more than one act of disobedience - and the pain I have caused others.
God says "I desire obedience more than sacrifice" - to clue us in. His laws are meant to protect us, not hem us in or be a killjoy. He wants us to have true joy, not satan's sated imitation. He wants us to be unburdened by memories that make us cringe with guilt, embarrassment, anguish. He wants us undeceived and in love with Him - not trying to see how much we can get away with. He wants us filled with true peace, not simply an absence of discomfort.
He has given us free will - and taken His hands off, giving us the privilege of truly choosing which way we will go.
CI doesn't negate that gift of choice. From deep in the morass of CI, we can still choose - choose to honor Him from the midst of pain or restricted movement or solitary confinement.
I know this is not a simple thing. And I am grateful that Blood was spilled for me to not only cover my sin, but wash it away - an incredibly amazing gift that could only be born of a Great Love. A speaker at a women's retreat once said "We have noooo idea Who we are dealing with ."
And it's true - a Being so immeasurably powerful beyond our conception, Who created our immense Milky
Way - one of the tiniest in the solar system - and knows every single solitary star by name, and has placed them "just so."
But He knows our names too - and has placed us "just so," including our CI. He asks us to trust, to endure, to bless, and to return the love He lavishes upon us - by being obedient.
As of old, we are given the choice to obey and live, or disobey - and die a little every time.
"Choose this day whom you will serve: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD."