Friday, 12/24/21 – Why did the Lord not look favorably on Cain’s offering?

Why did the Lord not look favorably on Cain’s offering?

Brenda asks, “In Genesis 4:3-5 it tells us ‘The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor’ Why did the Lord not look favorably on Cain’s offering?”

One of the most awe-inspiring descriptions I find in scripture is what Peter states regarding Christ, the Lamb of God. “He was chosen before the creation of the world,” (1 Pet. 1:20). The term appears again later. In Rev. 13:8 John, under inspiration of the Spirit, writes “the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world.

Before God said ”Let there be”… anything, He knew He would make man, man would fall, and man would need a Redeemer. Long before God breathed life into Adam God had already planned for his redemption — and He scatters hints of it all through the Biblical narrative.

The first hint we see in Genesis 3:15. “…he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”  Called the protoevangelium this passage depicts the ultimate destruction of Satan by the woman-born Messiah. Redemption is hinted at again in that the skins of a slain animal (blood sacrifice) were required to cover the “nakedness” (sin) of Adam and Eve.

We see this truth underscored again in the Lord’s acceptance of Abel’s offering and rejection of Cain’s offering. The distinction lay in what each offered.

In Genesis 4 we read,

“Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. And Abel also brought an offering—fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.” (Gen. 4:2b-5)

God is here again teaching that only blood can atone for sin. Abel sacrificed from his flock, but Cain’s offering, ”fruits of the soil,” required no such blood sacrifice, and was refused.

All of this points to the sacrifice of Christ, the One True Lamb of God, the atonement for all who believe, and the one Whose coming we celebrate this day, the child-king born in Bethlehem.

Especially interesting on this Christmas Eve is that it was in the fields around Bethlehem that lambs were raised for temple sacrifice! The shepherds we read of in Luke’s account were very likely tending such animals. David, long before becoming king, tended flocks here as he wrote many psalms of praise and longing. And it was here that God orchestrated the birth of Jesus, the Messiah, the Lamb of God, “slain from the foundation of the world.

Merry Christmas everyone!

I’m taking a two-week break over the holidays, revamping a new blogsite with a new format. Join me again on January 10.

Press on…

Got a question? Use the Contact page and send It to me. We’ll search the Word for God’s answer.

Wednesday, 12/22/21 – Pressing on… On Intellect and Incarnation

On Intellect and Incarnation

Jerry and I were “deep thinkers.” After comic books, G.I. Joes, James Bond and Star Trek, he and I entered our philosophers and star-gazers phase. For hours most evenings we would sit on the large and accommodating clothestand in our backyard, lean back, stare at the stars and postulate our “deep thinker” thoughts. It was a stimulating time. Jerry was to me what I imagine William Kirkpatrick must have been to C.S. Lewis. Of him Lewis writes,

“If ever a man came near to being a purely logical entity, that man was Kirk. Born a little later, he would have been a Logical Positivist. The idea that human beings should exercise their vocal organs for any purpose except that of communicating or discovering truth was to him preposterous. The most casual remark was taken as a summons to disputation…. Some boys would not have liked it; to me it was red beef and strong beer.” – C.S. Lewis, Surprised By Joy, (1955).

Jerry sharpened my intellect, made me think of all angles and formulate a defense… in fact, though never himself a Christian, Jerry helped teach me the art of apologetics.

We were good buddies. Our backyards abutted each other making frequent visits easy through the old dilapidated gate. I’d often sit out on that clothestand waiting and watching for him.

But our exchanges were wholly intellectual. Emotion seldom entered into them. Jerry was Mr. Spock, and I just a crewman in red.* Everyone loved Mr. Spock, but I think few would enjoy being him. Humans were not designed to be computers, we were designed to love and love at its best is love for God.

Without Him we would never know love. In Him love was manifest in human form. “God is Love” and “Life has Meaning.” These were the two points presented to us last Sunday. Without love all intellectual activity is worthless. Life is meaningless. As said Augustine, “Thou hast made us for Thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in Thee.” – Augustine, Confessions. God Incarnate is Love Incarnate, and it is by Him that we know love at all.

Thank the Lord for Love, His Love, this Christmas!

Press on…

* Star Trek TOS fans will recognize my point. The guy in red was always the landing party expendable, never a regular, and most certainly the one to get zapped, disintegrated, crystalized or left behind.

To hear this past Sunday’s message, go to the Facebook page of Lincoln Baptist Church, or link to the livestream from the church website.

Tuesday, 12/21/21 – Pressing on… Incarnate 101

Incarnate 101

The word dates back to somewhere around mid to late 14th century. It derives from the Latin incarnātus, past participle of incarnāre “to make into flesh.” It carries with it the idea of being invested with human nature and form, to be made manifest or comprehensible.

Carn“… the flesh… that life in-breathed tissue in which dwells the human soul… that nature, once glorious, now fallen, that shell through which the soul manifests and becomes comprehensible to other like souls.

in·car·nate – adjective (inˈkärnət, inˈkärˌnāt)

Related words: carnal, carnivore, reincarnation

Into that temporal, fleshly thing it’s Creator stepped. Not full grown and regal and by some cataclysmic moment, but offstage, as an infant, humble, and by natural gestation. A full 30 years He contented Himself within this form, limited as never before. Then, at the Father’s fullness of moment, He commenced His three-year mission… a mission to which He had been appointed “before the foundation of the world” (Eph. 1:4).

And now He desires to incarnate your flesh also, with you, making you a holy temple and Himself manifest and comprehensible through new expressions of your soul. This is His intended mission for you… since before the foundation of the world!

“But now He has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight… This is the gospel… — the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people. To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Excepts from Col. 1:22-27)

This is God’s Love for you. This is God’s plan for you. This is the reason you were created, the significance and meaning of your life. This is the hope for all humanity, and both the meaning and purpose of Christmas!

More tomorrow…

To hear this past Sunday’s message, go to the Facebook page of Lincoln Baptist Church, or link to the livestream from the church website.

Monday, 12/20/21 – “Luv?”

“Luv?”

“There you go, Luv,” she said as she handed me my breakfast sandwich. Yet, I’d never met the woman previously, had no relationship with her whatsoever, and… in fact, I didn’t even know her name! Yet, not only now but throughout our brief conversation she had repeatedly referred to me with the endearing term “Luv.” Not “Love,” or “My dear sir,” or just “Dear,” but the more intimate, colloquial form, “Luv” — as though we had known each other for years, long enough to have imbedded the term into the relationship.

As I wandered off, breakfast bag and coffee in hand, I wondered… Had she mistaken me for someone else? Or worse: had I suffered some severe memory loss… perhaps had a stroke?

Sitting down at the nearest available table, and very much to my relief, I heard her say to the man next in line, “What can I get for you, Luv?”

In time I would learn the commonality of the phrase in maritime Canada. “Buddy” was another such term, used mostly among men, but requiring no previous relationship with the party being mentioned.

“Do you love Me?” Jesus asked Simon (John 21:15-17)… three times He asked, pressing Peter to search his heart the more deeply with each interrogative probe.

“Lord, Lord,” some will cry, but to them the Lord will say, “I never knew you… depart from Me!” (Matt. 7:21-23).

To Whom do you call when you pray? Is it to One of Whom you have true knowledge?… relationship?… love? Is it the “Abba” cry of sonship, or the scripturally correct yet somewhat aloof “Our Father…” a term more suited to the lips of a pharisee?

Have you ever truly met Jesus? Do you have a relationship with Him? Do you know His Name?

“Do you love Me?” He asks us all, for He indeed loves us… each one at a time. To answer this is the purpose of life, and the reason of Christmas.

More tomorrow…

To hear this past Sunday’s message, go to the Facebook page of Lincoln Baptist Church, or link to the livestream from the church website.

Monday, 11/29/21 – Pressing on… 1st candle: “Hope”

1st candle: “Hope”

The first candle of Advent represents Hope. It is called “the prophet’s candle” for it was the hope in the coming Messiah which characterized much of their messages. Christmas celebrates that coming for in Christ the approximate 456 scriptures referencing this Messiah are fulfilled.

A hoax, you say? Let’s consider a very few points an alleged “imposter” infant would have had to manipulate…

To fulfill just a few of these prophecies he must be born to a virgin (Isa. 7:14), born in Bethlehem (Mic. 5:2), yet spend time in Egypt (Hos. 11:1). He must be a descendant of King David (Ezek. 37:24). He must begin his ministry in Galilee (Isa. 9:1-2), teaching “hidden things, things from of old” (Ps. 78:1-2), he would need to live a completely holy life, become a rock over which many would stumble (Isa. 8:14), yet one worthy of the names “Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace” (Isa. 9:6). God would speak from heaven and call him “My Son” (2 Sam. 7:14) (Ps. 2:1-9) and in time he would gather his people together again (Isa. 11:12).

Let’s not forget the astrological manipulation this child would, from the womb, need to accomplish: signs in the heavens, observable by Magi, the star which heralded his birth and led the shepherds, the darkness which some 33 years later accompanied his death upon the cross. The miracles he performed and his storm stilling, fish drawing power over nature. I could go on and on…

But of course this child is no hoax. Rather, as we sing, “This, this is Christ the King..” He is Lord of all lord’s and King of all kings, our HOPE and Deliverer!

Do you have this Hope? When all else fails is there yet something… Someone… within you… to sustain you… to cry to… cling to… Someone to Whom you can abandon…. Yes, entrust, your soul?

This first candle of Advent represents such a One…. Our Hope, and Deliverer.

More tomorrow… 

To hear this past Sunday’s message, go to the Facebook page of Lincoln Baptist Church, or link to the livestream from the church website.