Kung sinoman ay nag-iisip na siya’y relihioso samantalang hindi pinipigil ang kaniyang dila, kundi dinadaya ang kaniyang puso, ang relihion ng taong ito ay walang kabuluhan.
Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.”
Genesis 4:6-7 (NIV 1984)
God said this to Cain after Cain’s offering was rejected and before Cain went and killed his brother. Cain did not master sin crouching at his door.
On why Cain’s offering was rejected: I’ve learned that it’s because he did not give the first fruits of his crop. Abel gave of the firstborn of his flock.
I attended a sermon given by Pastor Robert Morris before, and he said that God is big on tithing: the first of whatever you get is God’s. If you don’t give that to God, you’re stealing from God. This makes sense. It explains a lot of things in the Bible. Stuff like, why Achan and his family had to be stoned, after stealing some of the spoils from Jericho, which the LORD had said were to be His. Tithing is that important in the Bible. You’ll notice a lot of references to the “firsts”, when you read the Bible. I didn’t think much of it then. Afterwards, it all started to make sense.
Back to Cain.
He didn’t do what was right by not bringing the first fruits. He could still do right after that. The LORD was concerned about Cain. He knew that Cain was bitter. So He cautioned Cain with these words, but Cain failed to heed them.
I think a lot of times the LORD is also cautioning us with these words. We do something wrong, and the LORD wants us to ask forgiveness and move on. But we – I, at least, do this, I cannot speak for everyone – I do not always seek forgiveness and move on. I wallow in my mistake and berate myself. It’s a vicious time for me. And if I let it go on, I end up sinning more.
Perhaps Cain experienced something similar. I don’t know for sure.
But I think he knew what was right and what was wrong, even though the Law had not yet been written. Abel was able to do right after all. I do not think that was a coincidence. And all the times before that one time mentioned in the Bible when Cain did not bring the first fruits – surely they have given offerings to the LORD before then.
Perhaps Cain thought that he was doing right by not giving the first fruits. But I learned that God wants the first, and the first is not necessarily the best. Maybe Cain gave the best, and it was rejected because it was not the first.
By giving the first to God, we are returning what is His, and we are trusting Him to provide us with the rest of whatever it is we gave. It is just the first, after all. The other nine-tenths of the, shall we say, fruits are ours, but the first is His. We give Him the first, and we can be assured that we shall receive the rest also.
The rest is a blessing from God. If they’re better, praise God. If they are not better than the first, praise Him still, because He provided.
Tithing applies not only to objects, but to time as well, and to everything else we receive.
The first of our time should be spent with God. The first of our money should be given to Him. The first of our talents, the first of our gifts – all to Him.
Cain was angry after his offering was rejected. He wanted to do something about it. The LORD cautioned him to master sin crouching at his door, but Cain did not. Perhaps he would not.
We’ve all been there, haven’t we? We do something wrong, or something doesn’t go our way, and it angers us so much we just want to keep doing wrong – for a false sense of satisfaction. I know I’ve done something like that. I have acted in anger, and in my anger, I thought it would satisfy me, if I worsened the situation.
So my lesson from this: When I do something wrong, if I do something wrong, ask forgiveness, and move on. The devil can’t hold that against me anymore. God has erased my sin. I shouldn’t hold that against myself, either, because God has erased it.
Well, it certainly has been some time since I last updated. Several reasons, the main one being – I’m not really into all this blogging. But I have recently heard that I do actually get readers. So here goes nothin’.
On the [Kitchen Adventures] series: If you’re wondering why there does not seem to be a lot of variation in what I make – that’s because I use up all existing ingredients before going out to buy some new ones.
[Book Chronicles]: I’ve definitely been reading more regularly, still not daily, though. 😦
I have this book called How to Study Your Bible Workbook. I’m trying to go through that, but it takes a lot of time, so I don’t get to do so often.
I’m considering another series of sorts: it’s gonna be called “Shopping Cart” and it will be about … yep! you guessed it! Groceries!! 🙂
(Give me a break. I like coming up with these names.)
Anyway, I was out grocery shopping the other day, and I was looking for rice. On the shelf with the packs of rice, I saw a pack of Basmati Rice – that made me laugh. I remembered this.
The 10 Chapters of the Bible that I read in this Chapter of the first Book of Open Book Chronicles: (Whew, that’s a long heading. Next time, it’ll just be “The 10 Chapters.”)
- Matthew 5
- Genesis 5
- Romans 5
- I Thessalonians 5
- Job 5
- Psalm 5
- Proverbs 5
- Joshua 5
- Isaiah 5
- Acts 5
As I have already mentioned, I begin (at least online) from Day 5. The chapters to be read for the previous 4 days, if you want to read them are the 4 previous chapters from these same books.
I really like how it all comes together when I read the Bible like this.
In Matthew 5 are the beatitudes and the Sermon on the Mount. Then a leap back in time to Genesis where there is a family line listed (from Adam to Noah). Someone once told me that in the names listed here is the Gospel … or a version of it, at least. The meaning of the names in Genesis 5 tell a story.
Adam means ‘man,’ Seth means ‘compensation’ …
Wanna know the rest? Look it up yourself. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it. I suggest looking them up on BlueLetterBible.org.
If you don’t see how Matthew 5 is related to Genesis 5, you’ll start seeing so when you read Romans 5, which is about Law and Grace. And so on. I like how everything relates to each other so much, I’m worried this is all I’ll talk about in this post and in those to come. See for yourself, then.
Some things I learned, then:
- It is only through God that the Law can be obeyed to the very last stroke.
- God’s love and grace are what allows us to seek Him and compels us to obey Him.
- Since we are God’s children, we are compelled to let our light shine for all to see.
- Be salt. Be light. Be different in a good way, so that others will praise God.
- If you’ve sinned, repent and turn to God, and ask God to lead you righteousness.
- Praise God for when you suffer for His Name’s Sake.
I really don’t like the list I just made. I don’t know how else to summarize what I know I should do after reading this, you see.
It’s really easy to read, and then go along doing just what I’ve been doing before. It’s easy also to say, “Okay, I’ll do that.” What matters is whether or not there is change in my actions? Do I obey or do I merely think of obeying?
I know these. It frustrates me that I forget when it counts.
Since I have Kitchen Adventures, I figured I should also have Open Book Chronicles. Learning about the Bible is more important than cooking properly, anyway. The Word of God is Spiritual Food – the nourishment it gives us is more important than the nourishment from food for the body.
As Jesus said in Matthew 4:4,
Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.
The way my Open Book Chronicles works is this:
Every “book” is every reading plan I decide to take on – be it one of those reading plans readily available at YouVersion or Olive Tree, or one where I decide to read through a certain book of the Bible and study it. So I may go through more than one reading plan at the same time, and you, my dear readers, shall see updates for more than one “book” of the Open Book Chronicles! 🙂
Every “chapter” is every day I read from the Bible, as I follow the reading plan.
I start with Chapter 5 of Book 1 of the Open Book Chronicles, because I am on the 5th day of my current reading plan, which is from Olive Tree and is called Prof. Grant Horner’s Bible-Reading System.
I recommend this reading plan. Going through this plan allows you to see how the Bible is all interconnected.
I know that all the books in the Bible are interconnected, but I have never seen that as a fact as clearly as before I started this. It is absolutely beautiful seeing the work of God like this. So I highly suggest you give it a go.
It may be a bit too much at first, though, since you read 10 chapters a day, but it is worth it. 🙂
I went on a date with God. The very first one I had with Him. I had never before gone out of my way to spend time with Him like this.
April 5, 2014: Saturday morning
Before the sun rose, I got up, left the dormitory, and headed to the hill on the park – where I had planned to watch the sun rise as I read the Bible.
It did not go as I had planned. I had wanted to sit on the wooden chair by the trees that I had seen the last time I was there, but I could not find it in the dark, even with my flashlight. So I sat on a bench.
I did not know what to read, but I was certain God would lead me to the passage He wanted me to read.
I opened my Bible, and noticed a passage that I took interest in. It did not make sense to me reading just that part of the chapter, so I read the whole chapter. That was Joshua chapter 22.
It was not what I expected it to be. In all honesty, I was looking for a guilt trip. I had not been perusing the Bible with zeal, as I should be, I had been more likely to compromise. I had started to lose interest, though I wanted to be interested in Him and His Word.
However, a guilt trip wasn’t what God had wanted for me. Neither was the following chapter, apparently, coz I did not finish it. I went right back to the 22nd chapter, and looked up a passage referenced in it. That passage is found in Numbers 25.
I’ll back up a little here and talk a little about what is mentioned in those chapters. If you want the full story, go read them yourself. I’m sure what God has prepared for you to learn is different from what I had learned.
Joshua 22 is about the time when Israel almost went to war against itself, when the majority of the tribes thought the others had rebelled against God. The passage in Numbers 25 that was mentioned in Joshua 22 is about the time when Israel was with harlots from Midian (‘the iniquity of Peor’). That act by the Israelites caused a plague among them.
Some things that stood out to me in these passages:
- It is good to create monuments and altars and symbols to remind us of and point us to God, as long as we do not replace God with them.
- When in doubt about what fellow brother or sister in Christ is doing, go talk to them about it first. You might be misreading the situation, and could be causing strife between you, if you do not try to get their side of things first.
I remembered these as I prayed Psalm 5.
I had gone and looked up a psalm to pray after reading the first 2 chapters, and found Psalm 5. I added to it and personalized it as I prayed.
And my prayer included these:
- I asked God to give me monuments in my life that point to Him. I get distracted easily, so I like to have things that remind me of my path.
- In my prayer, I said I’d look to God and follow and trust His leading. I said I’d go out and make Him my only audience. Though others may see and watch what I’m doing, God will be the One I’m performing for.
- I asked that He help me not to go to the left or right and stray from the path He has set for me and follow the counsel of the wicked.