Sunday School Notes 12-21-2014

Topic: Envy

Scripture: Genesis 4:1-16

Adam was intimate with his wife Eve, and she conceived and gave birth to Cain. She said, “I have had a male child with the Lord’s help.” Then she also gave birth to his brother Abel. Now Abel became a shepherd of flocks, but Cain worked the ground. In the course of time Cain presented some of the land’s produce as an offering to the Lord. And Abel also presented an offering — some of the firstborn of his flock and their fat portions. The Lord had regard for Abel and his offering, but He did not have regard for Cain and his offering. Cain was furious, and he looked despondent.

Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you furious? And why do you look despondent? If you do what is right, won’t you be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.”

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 guardian?”

Then He said, “What have you done? Your brother’s blood cries out to Me from the ground! So now you are cursed, alienated, from the ground that opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood you have shed. If you work the ground, it will never again give you its yield. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth.”

But Cain answered the Lord, “My punishment is too great to bear! Since You are banishing me today from the soil, and I must hide myself from Your presence and become a restless wanderer on the earth, whoever finds me will kill me.”

Then the Lord replied to him, “In that case, whoever kills Cain will suffer vengeance seven times over.” And He placed a mark on Cain so that whoever found him would not kill him. Then Cain went out from the Lord’s presence and lived in the land of Nod, east of Eden

What is Envy? (vv. 5)

  • Envy accuses God of comparing us to others.
  • Envy attempts to ignore the shortfalls of self.
  • Contentment recognizes current status.
  • Contentment drives us to become better without comparing ourselves to others.
    • This means we should (1) always measure ourselves according to God’s standard, not according to human acceptance or in comparison to other people (2) recognize where we are and work to please God more.

Why did God not have regard for Cain’s offering?

  • The offering of the two brothers
    • Able gave the firstborn while Cain simply gave “some”.
    • God looked on Able’s offering with favor, most likely because Able gave God the best that he had.
    • God did not favor Cain’s offering, most likely because Cain did not give his best to God.
    • God does not measure us in comparison to other people. He measures each one individually and impartially. God is a good judge.
    • No matter what others around us are doing, we should always seek to please God with the best that we have!
    • When we do not give God our best, He does not favor our worship to Him.
  • Cain became jealous of his brother…
    • Even though God judged rightly, Cain began comparing his sacrifice to his brother’s, seeing that his brother’s sacrifice was accepted by God.
    • When we compare ourselves to others, we rarely achieve what God has for us. In fact, most times we will get worse.
    • We must remember that God is impartial as He relates to each of us. “
  • Genesis 4:7- “If you do what is right, won’t you be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.”

Questions for class discussion:

  1. Envy causes us to see others rather than look to God. How have you struggled with envy in the past?
  2. We can find a lot of envy in the music industry. What are the marks of a truly great musician?
    1. Does he try to do what everyone else is doing, or is he true to himself?
    2. What might this mean for us as we live our lives?
  3. Finally, a question for self-evaluation: Do we look at others to measure our spirituality, knowledge, skill or status? How might this affect our relationships with God?

Homework!

Read through the entirety of Genesis 4:1-16 again. Think, journal and/or blog about the fact that God placed a mark on Cain so that no one would attack him and kill him.

  • Is there redemption in Cain’s story?
  • God always judges justly when we do wrong. How does he also show us mercy?
  • In the world today, where do you see God’s forgiveness for the envious nature of mankind?
    • Does God use the music industry to glorify His name?
    • Did Christ’s coming enhance mankind’s ability to see God in this world?
    • How does God use our own envy to humble us?
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