Daily Devotion for July 6, 2010
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
Prayer for the Morning
Oh Lord, most heavenly Father, Almighty and everlasting God, who has safely brought me to the beginning of this day; I give you thanks for my creation, preservation, and all the blessings of my life. Grant that this day I fall into no sin, neither run into any kind of danger; but that all my doings, being governed by your will, may be righteous in your sight. Through Christ our Lord, I pray.
Prayer for Grace and Strength
Lord God, I pray that you will fill my heart with the blessing of your Holy Spirit. Grant me this day the strength to be temperate in all things, diligent in my duties, and patient under my afflictions. Direct me in all my ways. Give me grace to be just and upright in all my dealings; quiet and peaceable; full of compassion; and ready to do good to all people, according to my abilities and opportunities. For the sake of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,
Community of Prayer
Heavenly Lord, I know I am not alone saying these prayers or reading your Word this morning, but many people unknown to me, from all stations of life, have joined together in this brief moment of devotion. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be among the community of all who pray in the name of Christ this morning, and remain among us always.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
I will declare that your love stands firm forever, that you established your faithfulness in heaven itself.
The heavens praise your wonders, O Lord, your faithfulness too, in the assembly of the holy ones.
For who in the skies above can compare with the Lord ? Who is like the Lord among the heavenly beings?
In the council of the holy ones God is greatly feared; he is more awesome than all who surround him.
Cain and Abel
Adam lay with his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain. She said, "With the help of the Lord I have brought forth a man." Later she gave birth to his brother Abel.
Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.
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."
Now Cain said to his brother Abel, "Let's go out to the field." And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.
Then the Lord said to Cain, "Where is your brother Abel?"
"I don't know," he replied. "Am I my brother's keeper?"
The Lord said, "What have you done? Listen! Your brother's blood cries out to me from the ground. Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother's blood from your hand. When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth."
Notes on the Scripture
Life is unfair. God is unfair. "Fairness" is a nebulous human concept. At its core, the idea of unfairness is that some action has failed to meet a standard of conduct that our brain has invented, and very often it either is sinful in itself, or leads to sin. This is the basic lesson of the story of Cain and Abel and its importance is emphasized by its very early appearance in the Bible.
If there is one place that the words "it's not fair" are likely to crop up, it's between children in the same family or schoolroom. So it's not surprising that the Biblical story concerns two brothers. God did not look with favor Cain's offering; we don't know why. Some theologians have inferred that Abel brought the best of his flock, while Cain simply brought a middling quality from his harvest,but that is speculative. The Bible does not give God's reason.
But the reason for God's favoritism is not the point of the story. The point is, that although God looked with more favor on Abel's offering, He still accepted Cain. But Cain was jealous of Abel. He committed the sin of pride and the sin of covetousness, because his only harm was to be humbled. And he thought that it wasn't fair. This led him to the terrible sin of murder, for which he was cast out of society and cursed in the sight of God.
Christ reiterated the unholiness of human concepts of "fairness" in the parable of the laborers of the vineyard in Matthew 10. "When those hired about the eleventh hour came, each one received a denarius. When those hired first came, they thought that they would receive more; but each of them also received a denarius. When they received it, they grumbled at the landowner, saying, 'These last men have worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden and the scorching heat of the day.'".