Monday, March 14, 2016

PRAYERS OF THE BIBLE SERIES: THE BOOK OF GENESIS #1

THE FIRST PRAYER OF THE BIBLE
13 And Cain said to the Lord, “My punishment is greater than I can bear! 14 Surely You have driven me out this day from the face of the ground; I shall be hidden from Your face; I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond on the earth, and it will happen that anyone who finds me will kill me.”  15 And the Lord said to him,  “Therefore, whoever kills Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold.” And the Lord set a mark on Cain, lest anyone finding him should kill him. (Genesis 4:13-15)

The very first prayer in the Bible was the end result of a rebuke from God to the first murderer in history. Cain had just killed his brother Abel, when worship and sacrifice to God went awry, due to jealousy. Cain also lied to the Father insisting he did not know where Abel was, using those immortal words "Am I my brother's keeper". Because of his vile actions, God banished him, cursed him and sent him on his way to roam the earth as a fugitive, who will even a hard time growing his own food.

This shook Cain to the core.  He obviously had not thought of the consequences of his action and in shock, sorrow, fear and sadness, Cain offered the very first prayer of the Bible from a human. From the tone of this prayer and the very fact that Almighty God heard, listened to and responded to it, it does appear to be a prayer of repentance. Looking at this prayer closer, we see the following:
- Cain accepts his punishment but it dawns on him it is more than he can possibly bear. (Verse 13).
- Cain then grasps what being cast from the very presence and protection of God really means....that is, the Hand of God will be withdrawn from him, thereby leaving him in real danger . (Verse 14).
- Cain experiences the grace, mercy, compassion, blessing and protection of our Heavenly Father, when God chooses Cain as one of his elect and gave him a new life away from farming. Cain built a city and started a family. (Verse 15).

This is just an amazing situation, right off the bat. When we get to the very next prayer of the Bible, the Prayer of Noah, we see things get even worse...and not too long after God had cleansed the earth of evil and bad people in the Great Flood.

The Fall of Man led to ungodly conduct even in service to God. Abel was killed because he revered, loved and honored God more with this offering, obedience and willing heart of sacrifice where he earned the love and favor of God. He did not give what was left over from his earnings, or paycheck or after he had taken care of his own needs, as most Christians do today. Abel was a perfect example of a man of God whose faith is counted to him as righteousness. He even made it in the Great Hebrews 11 Hall of Faith - "By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous, God testifying about his gifts, and through faith, though he is dead, he still speaks" (Hebrews 11:4).

But God is a good, good Father, that's Who He is. He is a gracious God, full of mercy, patience and long-suffering. Even though Cain shed innocent blood out of pure jealousy and hatred....even though Cain dishonored and slighted the Father, God listened to the first recorded prayer in the Bible and turned Cain around. He then proceeded to give him a life as the builder of cities and even His Hand of protection. The lesson here for us is that human beings in can be like Cain.

We can use words and conduct unbecoming a man or woman of God to hurt others. Words and actions can destroy another's life. Still there is forgiveness if there is a repentant heart and the willingness to make things right with those whom you have hurt, if you just turn it over to God. He is a just and loving God and stand with open arms to love His prodigal children.


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