2015 Lenten Daily Devotionals
by Jonathan Haefs
Each day the Lenten season, I am emailing out a devotional to many of the members of SVCC. I will also be sharing these devos via blogging. Hopefully, I will post first thing each morning, but definitely by 12pm. The first devotional may be found below. These are designed to accompany the SVCC Lenten reading guide which may be found here: 2015 Lenten Reading Guide.
In these devotionals I will give a link that will take you to the entire reading for the day if you would like to read it. I will actually include a few of the verses upon which I will focus my reflections. In the reflection section I will make a few brief comments which I hope will spur your own thinking and prayers.
Lent is meant to be a season of repentance and fasting that prepares our hearts for the coming celebration of Easter (fuller explanation here). Repentance is a reminder that we need to be saved from our sin…we need a Savior. Fasting reminds us that we are not in need of the things this world offers, but in desperate need of Jesus. So the point of Lent is that we need Jesus…we need Easter. It is my prayer that these daily devotionals will simply help remind us daily of our need for Christ.
Genesis 4:1-16 (click here)
In the course of time Cain brought to the LORD an offering of the fruit of the ground, and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the LORD had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell. The LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.” (Genesis 4:3-7)
Why did the Lord have regard Abel’s offering and not Cain’s? This is the first question which pops into our minds upon reading the passage. Truthfully, we ask this question because of a deeper question pushing in our hearts, namely, “How can I know the Lord will have regard for what I offer to him?” Unfortunately, this is the wrong question altogether!
Our question about Cain and Abel assume that the difference must be in the offerings they made. There is something about Abel’s offering that makes it acceptable and something about Cain’s that renders it unacceptable. This type of thinking reveals that we are looking in the wrong place. We are looking at the offerings when we should be looking at the offerers! The text mentions the people before the offering! God had regard for ABEL…and his offering. God did not have regard for CAIN…and his offering.
Abel presented his offering in faith. Cain, apparently, did not. The problem wasn’t with what was offered, but how it was offered. Abel’s was offered in faith while Cain’s was offered to earn the Lord’s regard. This is why Abel received the grace, because it can only be received through faith and never by works!
Our sacrifice to the Lord is the perfect lamb, Jesus, who offered himself! And by faith in his sacrifice, we receive the grace of the Lord. If our hearts resemble that of Cain, angered by the grace that others have received, then that is simply evidence we have not actually received grace ourselves because we have been trying to earn it…which is impossible. Grace, by it’s nature, is undeserved, unearned, and unmerited.
This Lent… do not be angered by grace… receive it by faith and be saved by grace.