Mankind in the Old-Testament

A. THE STORY OF CAIN AND ABEL

QUOTED FROM THE BIBLE

Genesis 4:1 The man knew Eve his wife. She conceived, and gave birth to Cain, and said, “I have gotten a man with Yahweh’s help.” 2 Again she gave birth, to Cain’s brother Abel. Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. 3 As time passed, Cain brought an offering to Yahweh from the fruit of the ground. 4 Abel also brought some of the firstborn of his flock and of its fat. Yahweh respected Abel and his offering, 5 but he didn’t respect Cain and his offering. Cain was very angry, and the expression on his face fell. 6 Yahweh said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why has the expression of your face fallen? 7 If you do well, won’t it be lifted up? If you don’t do well, sin crouches at the door. Its desire is for you, but you are to rule over it.” 8 Cain said to Abel, his brother, “Let’s go into the field.” While they were in the field, Cain rose up against Abel, his brother, and killed him.

9 Yahweh said to Cain, “Where is Abel, your brother?

He said, “I don’t know. Am I my brother’s keeper?

10 Yahweh said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood cries to me from the ground. 11 Now you are cursed because of the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. 12 From now on, when you till the ground, it won’t yield its strength to you. You will be a fugitive and a wanderer in the earth.

COMMENTS

We will deal very briefly with this portion of Scripture. The two main revelations we gain from it, are:

  • The sinful nature of parents is inherited by their children. The evil to which Adam and Eve had opened themselves, was transferred to their children by their blood. Their firstborn son became the murderer of his younger brother.
  • Secondly, we see that every human being can choose whether he will serve God or not. We have the story of two boys having the same parents and growing up in the same home. Abel made the right decision and the Lord confirmed to him that he was accepted by Him. This, the Lord did by accepting his offer. Cain, however, was a proud man and hardened his heart even though God spoke to him personally. By his own choice, his life was ruined.

All through the rest of the first part of the Bible (the Old Testament) we see the same thing happening repeatedly – some people reject God and ruin their lives, while others choose God and receive His blessing.

B. THE GREAT FLOOD

The following major incident that is recorded in God’s Word is that of the Great Flood by which all the people, excepting eight, were drowned because of their sin. God saved the eight, that is Noah and his family, by taking them into a wooden ship which they had to build beforehand (Gen 6-9).

C. THE TOWER OF BABEL

 Then follows the story of the Tower of Babel when the whole human population again rebelled against God in trying to build a tower that would reach right up to heaven (Gen 11).

Their action was motivated by pride. They wanted to make  a name for themselves so that their descendants would look at the tower and speak well of them. It also was an act of rebellion towards God Who had ordered them to spread out and fill the earth.

God stopped them by confusing their language so that they could no longer communicate with one another and had no choice but to disperse over the earth. They were greatly shamed for their descendants would, for many generations, look upon the uncompleted tower and think of their ancestors as people that had failed.

Sin always ends in shame for the sinner. A very rich man’s corrupt dealings may be disclosed and he lands up in jail, disgracing himself, as well as his family.

Note also how effortlessly, and without the shedding of blood, God stopped their rebellion. When we are wronged we need not resort to violence. If our own lives are right with God, we can pray, then leave the matter in His hands and let Him sort it out.

The Tower of Babel is where the different nations originated.

D. THE CALLING OF ABRAHAM

Another incident that is important for our study, is the story of Abraham. God chose him to be the father of a godly nation which God would call His own. Through this nation God would bless all the nations of the earth (Gen 12 etc.).

Abraham indeed was a great man of God. He trusted the Lord like few people ever did. Having waited on God for 25 years to give him a son, he was willing to sacrifice that son on an altar when called upon by God to do so. He did this because he continued believing God’s promise that He would raise up a mighty nation through Isaac. He wholeheartedly believed that God would again raise Isaac from the dead.

This was however just God’s way of testing Abraham’s love, faith and obedience. Where Adam and Eve failed their test in respect of a fruit, Abraham passed his involving his own son. God saw inside his heart that he was committed to sacrifice his son, therefor, before he brought down the knife to end Isaacs life, He stopped and showed him a ram to sacrifice in Isaac’s stead.

That ram was a picture of God’s only begotten, beloved Son, Jesus, Who would more that 2000 years later, be sacrificed on a cross. By the shedding of His blood, many, many people would be saved, become God’s children and grow into a mighty nation, just as God had promised to Abraham.

Abraham’s descendants indeed multiplied and became a mighty nation with their own country, but they gradually drifted away from God and had to be chastised by Him every now and then.

One of the good things that came from this nation, the nation of Israel, was that some two-thousand years after the birth of Abraham, the Son of God Who would come from heaven to give His life as a ransom as said above, would be born from a woman that would be a descendant of Abraham.

We will deal with that in the following chapter.

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