“And while they were in the field,
Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him”
After the Fall Scripture records how the social situation deteriorated steadily. It records anger, jealousy, arrogance, violence, resentment, revenge, fear and self-pity breaking out in the communities. The eventual consequence was God’s judgement and the horror of the Flood.
It began in what should have been the most unlikely of places – between two brothers. Cain hated and killed Abel. But these were not the only ones who did not get on well. Ishmael tormented his half-brother Isaac, Jacob stole his brother Esau’s birth right and blessing, Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery. Jesus story tells of a self-righteous elder brother hating his wasteful younger brother. And then the religious leaders hated Jesus and arranged for His execution.
What was happening in families was also happening in communities and then between nations. And we see it at work all around us today. After a century of the most terrible wars and atrocities we have started another in which there is warfare, persecution, corruption, immorality, violent abuse of woman and children, homelessness, starvation and poverty, the breakdown of marriage and family relationships, greed and increasing despair, and the terrible bondage of substance abuse. More and more the focus is moving away from the common good and onto private and personal satisfaction at any cost.
God is being legislated out of the public life of nations and communities and is being ignored, or even re-created, by groups and individuals. The clarion call of Scripture, the marvel and majesty of Creation and the still, small voice that so overwhelmed and invigorated Elijah are no longer heard or taken seriously. And the Creator and Saviour are in danger of losing their relevance and significance as they are re-created from their revelation as Person into the impersonal imagination of Concept.
The temptations of Eden became the temptations of the wilderness and Gethsemane for Jesus. We face them daily as individuals and as communities and the same source of evil is behind them all. It is small wonder that Peter and Paul refer to him in such striking terms.
- “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings” (1 Peter 5:8-9)
- “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armour of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes” (Ephesians 6:10-11)
The world is polluted with sin. We need a Saviour – and we have One!
Where do I look most – to me, to the world, or to the Lord?
When my life is all about me I lose out on God. When it is about God I find that His life is about me!
Lord God Almighty, in human terms we are facing personal and national disasters. But in You there is life and light and love and hope. Help me to focus on You and to live for You and in You, in Jesus Name, Amen.