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M'Cheyne Reading Reflections - Jan 4

By heath - Posted on 05 January 2010

Gen 4

It is puzzling to think about what Cain did wrong. It is obvious from v6 that he was not "doing well." Something about his offering or the way he offered it was not satisfactory. God's address to Cain seems to indicate that he knew what the problem was. The warning is worth taking to heart. If we are not doing well, and we probably know what that means, watch out. The question is, "How do we get from not doing well to doing well?"

In my OT Class, we talked about how Cain is a symbol for Egypt and Abel for Israel.

Cain/Egypt Abel/Seth/Israel

Agriculture Shepherds

City Builder Simple People

Rejected by God Accepted by God

This story instructs Israel to be wary of Egypt and not desire to return. There is danger there.

It is interesting that God does not exact the death penalty on Cain. Does God purposely allow evil to grow in the line of Cain? Why didn't he put it to a stop instead of letting it grow until Noah's time? Is this God's mercy on Cain because of his plea? This shows that at least for now, God has mercy even on unbelievers. I would say this is true especially with those that are apostate. God always wants those who have been part of his family to return.

Ezra 4

Apparently the "people of the land" were not Israelites but people displaced from other regions. It was the policy of the Assyrians to mix up the populations thinking that this would prevent political unrest and rebellion. Strangely enough, Cyrus and Darius believed the exact opposite; however, both agreed that the god of the land should be honored in the way he demanded. This ran counter to Israel's god who claimed to be God in all places as opposed to other ANE gods who were regional. Isaiah and Jeremiah hold out the promise that God will be worshiped in all lands instead of the false idols worshiped there. That time is now.

I wonder if the opposition during Ahasuerus' reign was the decree in Esther.

The letter to Artaxerxes definitely shows that evil can be political. I think God would have us be political as well. "Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves." Matt 10:16

Matt 4

Gage asked, "What is wrong with Jesus making some bread?"

Satan was tempting Jesus to follow a path of rulership and kingdom that was contrary to the one he came to establish. Satan was basically tempting Jesus to act like he would. Later, Jesus does a miracle with a fish and money for taxes. In a sense, the outcome is similar. It makes me think of times when I was younger and "friends" tried to get me to say cuss words just to hear me do it.

Acts 4

It is interesting how the Jews link the power and the Name by which the signs were done. It shows that they were just that-signs. They were to prove that the Name was true.

Catch the social insult. The Jews couldn't believe the uneducated fishermen were so uppity.

“But Peter and John answered them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.””

(Acts 4:19–20 ESV)

This has to be one of the best quotes from the disciples in acts. It shows just how honestly they knew God in Christ. It makes me think of the boys when a peer (or someone they consider a peer) tells them to do something. "You're not my authority," they say with all sincerity and proceed. It is an interesting contrast to their praise in 28 about God executing the plan he had predestined to take place. Actually this reinforces the correct idea of God's sovereignty. Predestination is about what God has planed he will do. Sovereignty is about his authority and power make it so. God does not set up the dominoes and tip the first one. He is down in the dirt executing his plan with us.

The state of the church at the end of 4 makes me think of the Resident Aliens book. Become the community that reflects the new Kingdom, and the world will become the kingdom.

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