The most important message I picked up from today’s readings overall is lean in toward God.
My primary takeaway from each of the passages was this:
- Genesis 3-4: 1) We have a spiritual enemy and he is continuously temping us into rebellion against what is good for us. Steven Pressfield calls this Resistance. God makes it clear what we’re supposed to do but when we allow ourselves to be led astray, there are consequences.
2) It wasn’t the offerings of Cain and Abel that were rejected or preferred, it was the attitude of their hearts in the offering. Abel leaned toward God. Cain leaned inward toward himself. His resentment of his brother’s relationship with God is what led him to murder. (I imagine Eve spending her whole life as Cain’s parent saying, “Stop focusing on what your brother is doing! Focus on what you’re supposed to be doing!”) If Cain had been leaning toward God he would never have been resentful of his brother.
3) Yes, we are all our brother’s keepers. It is our responsibility to be mindful of our attitudes and behaviors toward others. This passage strikes me as a foreshadowing of the teaching Jesus will give us later, when he says that there are really only two commandments, not ten: to love God with all our heart, soul mind, and strength, and to love our neighbor as ourself. That’s what it means to be our brother’s keeper. Who is my brother? I’m sure Jesus would answer that the same way he answered the question, “Who is my neighbor?”: everyone.
- Matthew 2: 1) People who are in conflict with God’s will may go to great lengths to bury the truth. Herod was willing to murder an entire generation of boys from one village n order to remove what he perceived as a threat to his power.
2) Dreams are important! Read Morton Kelsey’s, Dreams: A Way to Listen to God for more on this. Rarely, if ever, do we have dreams giving us clear instructions like Joseph received. However, dreams can and do inform us when we are on or off the right track in our lives. Pay attention!
- Psalms 2: Earthly power is fleeting but God’s plans will prevail. Taking refuge in God is the only wise course of action.
- Proverbs 2: Wisdom begins with seeking God. When we center ourselves in the word and the way of God, we are centered in the way of wisdom.
That’s what I got out of it. What did you get out of the readings today?
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This post is part of the series, “Read the Bible in a Year.”