Lot and the angels finished their feast and are getting ready for bed. But somehow, despite the guests’ attempt to hide their presence, the people of Sodom find out, and all of them come to siege Lot’s house. For them Lot is a criminal. They want justice.
Lot insists on inviting the messengers (or angels, as we have seen in a previous post). They accept and, not to be seen by the people of Sodom, they take the round route to Lot’s house. He offers them hospitality. Can we learn anything from the meal he prepares?
In addition to the regular blog postings, I also give online lessons. This is a video example of such a lesson in which I discuss the Story of Joseph.
During this lesson we will discover a new Joseph.
Starvation in the land of Israel drives his brothers to Egypt to buy grain. Joseph immediately recognises them. Yet they do not recognise him. All of a sudden he is flooded by his past, his suffering, his memories.
But he is no more the same arrogant young man of his youth.
Joseph has changed from an arrogant teenager to a wise, humble man
He now recognises that all comes from God. Despite his memories of his brothers’ betrayal and of his suffering during his years in the Egyptian jail, he gives his brothers a second chance.
In addition to our regular blog postings, I also give online lessons to help you gain fresh insights. This is a video example of such lesson discussing the story of Joseph, and how he turned from an arrogant, spoiled child to a humble adult who realises that all he has comes from God. His belief strengthen despite adverse circumstances in his life. Only then, was he ready to be saved and to become the second most powerful man in Egypt, second only to Pharaoh himself.
This is a story the Bible tells about a man who starts his life toiling in the fields as a farmer and ends up building a city. He calls this city after his son, and then he starts a dynasty that helps shaping human civilisation.
What an inspiring story it can be, what an inspiration it is for anyone that is facing a major life change, to anyone who mourns what they are leaving behind, and cannot see the opportunities ahead.
Only that this story has a catch. To start his transition into the position of power, the man must first get punished for a murder. But not just of anyone. He first has to kill his own little brother.
In our previous post we discussed Genesis 4:17. We saw that Cain built a city and called it after his son, Chanoch (Enoch). But that was not the end of Cain’s dynasty. His descendants were instrumental to the evolution of human society and culture. Not bad for a person who, without the punishment for killing his brother, would have remained working the soil for the rest of his life. The question we must never forget to ask ourselves when we read the Bible is why is it telling us this story. In other words, what can we learn from it, and how it is relevant to us?
Verses 18-22 are mostly a list of births. So instead of analysing it word by word, as we normally do, I will draw it as a chart.
In Gen 4:16-17 Cain’s trial is over. He is leaving God a free man, finds a place to settle, have a son and builds a city. But what about God’s punishment? Wasn’t Cain destined to be a wanderer, a nomad forever? How can a wanderer settle and build a city? Can he defy God?
In Gen 4:14 Cain, not accepting the consequences of his action, continues to plead for leniency. This, of course, supports our understanding that in verse 13 he was complaining about his punishment, not admitting guilt. But more than that, this verse teaches us that at times of change, as bleak as our future life may seem, end of one path presents us with new opportunities, often better than those we are leaving behind.
In Genesis 4:12-13 God continues to elaborate on the consequences of Cain ’s action. This verse makes us wonder, again, if a punishment was handed by God, or is God elaborating on the consequences as a matter of cause and effect?
Cain follows with an ambiguous defence statement, which can be interpreted either as an admission of guilt, or the exact opposite.
Clearly, we cannot attribute human feelings, like anger or even love, to God. The Bible, written for people, uses the words of human emotions to describe God, knowing well that it is only for the sake of our limited human understanding. But under this limitation, was it out of anger that God confronted Cain in Genesis 4: 10 and 11? Does the text tell us who punishes Cain?