By: Darrelyn L. Tutt

And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering; But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth and his countenance fell. And the Lord said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? And why is thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? And if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire and thou shalt rule over him. And Cain talked with Abel his brother; and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and slew him. And the Lord said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not; am I my brother's keeper? And He said, What hast thou done? The voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto me from the ground.
Genesis 4:3-10

By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and by it he being dead yet speaketh.
Hebrews 10:4

Today's Read: Genesis 4; Hebrews 10; 
Psalm 145
A most curious and provoking read;
The story of two brothers.
Compelling. Gripping. Captivating.
 Two men grow up as brothers under one roof and yet couldn't be more different.
Hmmm ...
The familiar pattern of diversity between Cain and Abel is one that most of us can readily identify with. We quickly see, within our own family unit, the threads of diversity woven into genes from birth separating, dividing, and distinguishing us from our siblings.
There is a reason, after all, that books, themes, and movies composed of the most interesting and engaging plots hone in on subjects contained, at least for a time, under one roof.
 Opposing outlooks,
Polarizing personalities,
Variations in vocation,
Diverse desires,
On and on the list grows and goes ... of differences dividing and differences unsettling the fragile unit called the family.
While our differences were not intended to divide, they many times do.
Cain and Abel were not the exception and the consideration that they were the very "first" brothers on earth makes their relationship unique, at least in my mind.
While there's plenty to exhaust the mind and pen I draw on two poignant realities.
1) Jealousy is an evil thing.
Small wonder that James identifies it as a fearful killer and fearsome evil amongst brothers.
But if you have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.
For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.
James 1:16
Confined under the roof of Christ's church is a diversity of brothers.
Division occurs most often, not because of doctrinal dispute, but because of unredemptive qualities born between brothers;
A jealousy so vile that its end results in division, death, and destruction.
Consider carefully what drove apart God's most beautifully chosen:
-Abel and his brother.
-Jacob and his brother.
-Joseph and his brothers.
-The prodigal and the older brother.
-The Jewish nation and the world.
I could create a great list but I'll stop there.
Hmmm ...
We have a heck of a time with favoritism.
The man who wears the colored robe from the Father generally garners the ill behavior of the brother.
Blessed be the "Abels" who continue to offer their beautiful sacrifices.
2) Don't interfere with God's business; He will justly attend to the "offerings."
 Jealousy will always be a theme amongst God's elect and as it was then, so it shall always be. The chosen shall remain the chosen and the jealous shall reap their own consequence.
Abel wasn't killed because he was evil but, on the contrary, because of the envy of another.
Cain's retaliation of the "accepted brother's" offering landed the beautiful brother in the grave but he's still speaking and his message goes on.
Mmmm ...
God has personal ways of tangibly addressing and "dressing" His beloved ones.
Cain would wear a "mark" for the rest of his life (read his story) and God would benevolently provide him with a special protection that he pleaded for upon his violent killing.
But the "grace" factor and the "robe" factor would never be removed from the Abel, the Joseph, and the prodigal.
To those of you who have felt the gravity of jealousy ...
Wear your coat beautifully, suggestively, and colorfully.
It was made for you until eternity.
The grave asserts this resurrected reality.
Study suggestions:
1) Read and reread today's passages and reflect on the two brothers in the story.
2) Consider the Biblical realities of God's "elect" as mentioned above and highlight the differences that fostered disunity and every kind of evil.
3) Be careful how you treat your brother; it's a serious thing in the eyes of God.