Genesis 3 December 30, 2021
Recently my wife opened her tablet to the sound of a very beautiful voice. I paused to listen. That voice sounded like an extremely talented woman. This young girl was only 15 years old. She was in competition before an audience consisting of a dozen ladies and gentlemen. All were admiring her young talent. The moderator joined them lavishing praise upon her talent. Then, he asked this teenager to answer a grown-up question—what do you consider the worst of all issues in our country this year? She paused, dug deep into her soul, and said one word:
Her answer covers here, there, and everywhere. Selfishness is as young as toddlers: they learn to shout “me, my, mine” over dollies or toy trucks. Adam and Eve were deceived to pluck and eat that fruit tree (Genesis 3:13). Cain coveted the applause Abel earned from God (4:1-4). With that selfishness Cain brought hate into the first family. He “was very angry” (verse 5).
The LORD came down as He had previously confronted Cain’s parents in the Garden of Eden (3:8). Why? God attempted to cool off Cain’s hot anger. He was offered a second chance to receive the applause given to his brother. God offered mercy to halt Cain’s “quicksand” of sin. Verse 7 – “If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not well, sin lies at the door. And its desire [sin] is for you, but you should rule over it [his].”
The first tragedy among the human race was when Cain was walking in the field with his younger brother casually talking. In the moment that Abel had his back turned, Cain rose up and sliced his brother’s neck. Abel lay dying as his blood drained in the dirt. Cain’s heart expressed no compassion, no guilt. (3:9-14).
Selfishness can bring hatred, and hatred can bring murder. In the Sermon on the Mount the Lord warned all people that hatred can become murder (Matthew 5:21-22).
Selfishness is everywhere. It can be in Christmas giving—children crying that someone received more presents than they did. I remember those days. And our children can be selfish. Teens can be selfish when a classmate gets better grades, is not selected to lead a basketball team, or that another teen got a new car on his 26th birthday.
Selfishness is pride in adults—in the job raises of salary or position; in the halls of politics from mayors to presidents; in purchasing a house they cannot afford; buying new cars and tractors to show them off to their neighbor.
A young naval officer kept his promotion to lieutenant commander a secret until he got his new gold-leaf collar insignia. He walked proudly into his home and waited for his wife’s surprise and delight. An hour passed and she said nothing. He saw she was on the verge of tears. He put his arms her and asked what was wrong. She sobbed, saying, “You didn’t even notice my new hairdo!” The individual is by nature interested in himself. Perhaps this story can explain many a broken home and many a crisis in business. Only one remedy for such a situation—the love of Christ in the heart—can make us esteem each other better than himself, and in honor prefer one another. Such a transformation is an evidence of the new birth in Christ. (Philippians 2:3-5)
Pastor Ed Anderson