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Bible Pathway - Jan. 2, 2013



Read Genesis 4


As the Lord continues to disclose mankind's lineage, He contrasts the ungodly line of Cain with the godly line of Seth. About sixteen hundred years between Adam's rebellion and the flood in Noah's day. Destruction of the wicked in the flood.

And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother's keeper? (Gen. 4:9).

Ever since Cain disavowed any responsibility for his brother Abel, we mortals have tried to deny our role in taking care of the vulnerable people around us.

During World War II in Germany, millions — yes millions of precious souls died at the hands of the Nazis, because of their Jewish heritage. Some were executed in gas chambers, some perished of hunger, while others were worked to death. Many church leaders in Germany were aware of these atrocities, but turned their heads and didn't speak out. Did God want them to be their brother's keeper? Some brave souls, such as Deitrich Bonhoeffer, did stand up to the regime, and paid with their lives. But too many remained mute, leaving their vulnerable and helpless fellow human beings alone in their time of need.

Sometimes we think that tragedy of such devastating and mass proportions could not take place in our world today. But sadly, that would be incorrect. In the Congo (an African country), alone due to malnutrition, war etc., almost 50,000 people a month are dying. That's equal to the population of an average-sized town in America — every month! And in fact, every night in the U.S., children go to bed hungry. In our own “backyard,” our brothers and sisters are in need. Should we be our brothers' keepers? Should everyone be subsidized? Absolutely not; that would be unbiblical. For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat (II Thes. 3:10). That breeds overdependence, which is actually not helpful to the empowerment of those “helped.” Not to mention that it's poor stewardship because it leaves less for those in dire need.

And to be sure, there is genuine need around us. Just as Henri Nouwen, a Christ-dedicated, Dutch-born, Catholic priest used to lose sleep over the needs of his brothers and sisters in “Third World” countries, and as the Apostle Paul told us we need to consider the problems of others to be our own. We should look to the interests of those who don't have basic provisions. The Lord does ask us to be our brother's keeper whenever He opens the opportunity to us.

I challenge you all, along with myself, to ask God to guide us to our roles. Perhaps yours is prayer, it's really the most important and powerful thing we do, of course! Or maybe your role is to volunteer one day a month at a food bank. Maybe you could lend a listening ear to someone who is hurting. Mentor a child. Teach an adult to read. Let God lead you to the one whom you might be their “keeper.”

And the people asked him, saying, What shall we do then? He answereth and saith unto them, He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise (Luke 3:10-11).

Thought for Today:

Attempting to allow Christ to be Lord of our lives without being obedient to His Word is futile (Luke 6:46).

Christ Revealed:

Through Abel's blood sacrifice (Gen. 4:4-7). Christ is the Lamb of God, sacrificed for man's sin (John 1:29; Heb. 9:22; 11:4). Man's best achievements can never take the place of Christ's atonement made through His own sinless blood.

Word Studies:

4:4 had respect = approved; 4:5 wroth = exceedingly angry; 4:22 artificer = craftsman in metal; 5:3 begat = fathered; 5:24 was not = was translated to (disappeared into) heaven; 6:6 repented the LORD = grieved the Lord; 6:9 perfect = blameless.

Prayer Needs:

Pray for Staff: Tifany Edwards • Country: Malawi (10 million) in southeastern Africa • Major languages: English and Chichewa • Religious freedom • 34% Protestant; 23% Roman Catholic; 16% Muslim; 16% animist; 4% cults • Prayer Suggestion: Thank the Lord that you have no need to fear. Trust Him one day at a time (Matt. 6:33-34).

Optional Reading:

Matthew 2

Memory Verse for the Week:

Matthew 4:4

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