Are You Mad at God?

May 27, 2006 Genesis 4:

Introduction:
1.  For the past several weeks, Pastor Viars has been doing a series on the question: Is God Mad at Us?
- that series has been very helpful in a number of ways in answering that important question
2.  One of the things I’ve seen over the years of my life is how easy it is for any of us to look at someone else and imply that they are the one that needs to change rather than taking a look at our own life and seeing how WE need to change!
3.  While the question: Is God Mad at Us? is an important question to ask, there is another question equally important that would cause us to look in the mirror and consider our own lives:
- the question is: Are You Mad at God?
Illustration:  I asked one of my co-workers this question: Are You Mad at God? – and the response was:  “Not today!”
> I’ll give that person a A+ for honesty!
- even if the answer to that question is YES – let me encourage you by saying, you’re not the 1st person to struggle in this area of responding to the WORD or the WAYS of the Lord.
- even one of the OT prophets, Isaiah, penned these words referring to the LORD:
 Isaiah 55:8 "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways," declares the LORD. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.
4.  Sometimes we don’t always understand WHY God does what He does – even though He has given us His inspired Word to reveal His will and His ways in our lives
> the affects of the curse of sin on our mind’s ability to think and reason hinders that process
- and when we get in that position, we don’t always respond with a strong faith and confidence in the Lord like Solomon wrote about in . . .:
 Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.
- … or we don’t’ really consider the words of Isaiah:
 Isaiah 26:4 "Trust in the LORD forever, for in GOD the LORD, we have an everlasting Rock.
5.  Instead, we get angry and react . . . sometimes internally (and nobody notices at 1st) but later what’s on the inside comes out and it looks something like this:
[click through pictures of anger]
6.  While sometimes our anger is directed at people for what they did to us or said about us
- our text this morning reveals, ultimately that anger is directed toward God
> the One Who allowed that situation or the circumstance to come into your life
> Basically, God made a decision, and you disagreed with that decision
7.  With those thoughts in mind, please open your Bible to Genesis 4 [page 3 of the English bible under the chair in front of you, page 5 of the Chinese Bible]
8.  We need to set * The context of Genesis 4 in light of Genesis 1-3
Genesis 1 – Creation (Days 1-6)
Genesis 2 – Specifics Day 6:  Man &Woman
Genesis 3 – The Fall & Consequences
Genesis 4 – History of Man Continued
[READ Gen. 4:1-16]
- Let’s divide our study this morning into 3 parts:
  I.  Why Do People Get Angry at God?
II.  What Can Your Anger Produce?
III.  What Are the Consequences of Your Anger?

  I.  Why Do People Get Angry at God? – Gen. 4:3-7


A.  Starts with a wrong kind of worship
- the “offering” was a way to worship the Creator and show respect God for Who He was and what He had done – the very fact that they were even alive after Gen. 3
“One would expect a farmer to being an offering from the vintage of the ground, and a shepherd to bring the sucklings of his flock.  Outside of ritual codes, ‘offering’ could refer to any offering of grain, but animals might be also be included (cf. 1 Sam. 2:17; 26:19).  In Gen. 32:20 ‘offering’ also takes on the added meaning of ‘tribute” and describes a present made to secure or retain goodwill.  As such, it is a tribute brought by subjects to their overlords . . . “   – Victor Hamilton
Point:  Both Cain and Abel brought an offering appropriate to his occupation (Abel – of the livestock; Cain brought the fruit of the ground)
- the issue here is NOT one of Abel brought the animal sacrifice and Cain the fruit of the ground
* The quality of the offering revealed the attitude of the heart!
- it’s not that a meal offering was wrong, that would later be part of the sacrificial system in Leviticus
- the text seems to point us to the ‘FIRSTLINGS’ of the flock and their ‘FAT’ portions
> i.e. Abel brought the FIRST and the BEST of what he had – Cain didn’t
- I think the NT writer of Hebrews helps to clarify this:
 Hebrews 11:4 By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous [Gen. 4:4 And the LORD had regard for Abel and for his offering], God testifying about his gifts, [firstlings & fat] and through faith, though he [i.e. Abel] is dead, he still speaks.
Q: What was the result of these offerings brought to God? 
> God had ‘no regard’ for Cain’s offering – basically, Abel’s offerings were accepted, Cain’s rejected
Point: God’s judgment differs from our judgment – and when that happens, what’s on the inside of our hearts has a way to coming out!
- that’s why it’s so important for us to understand and act upon what the Psalmist made clear about God’s judgments (i.e. His Word):
 Psalm 19:9 . . . the judgments of the LORD are true; they are righteous altogether.
B.  Many times, people are mad at God for what they didn’t get (or what they don’t have)
- in Cain’s case:  He didn’t get God’s approval for what he brought as a offering
- at any one of these junctures, Cain could have repented and changed
> he should have focused on the fact that God had “no regard” for his offering . . . and he should have RUN to God asking questions:
 Lord, what did I do wrong? (or maybe he knew and didn’t want to admit it)
 Lord, I was wrong; I know it; Can I bring ANOTHER offering and make this right?
- that’s one of the GREAT characteristics of God: He invites us to come to Him and ask Him questions about Who He is and what He’s done!
> He wants us to LEARN and GROW though various life situations
Point: With God – the door is always OPEN to seek Him and His will:
 Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans that I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.”
 Matthew 11:28 "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. 29 "Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.
- Instead coming to God, Cain got angry, and God had to come asking questions to Cain
> Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen?
Q: What is it that you DON’T have that may be producing a degree of anger at God?
 Friends
 Approval of man (acceptance by others)
 Husband/wife
 Children
 Physical limitations
 Job situation
Point:  God has the right to set the standard and to make a judgment – but Cain didn’t think so – Tie Gen. 4 w/Paul’s words in:
 Romans 9:20 On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, "Why did you make me like this," will it?
- to do so, implies some things about God:
C.  The understanding of God is incorrect.
* What does being angry at God imply about Him?
 God is not holy – He can make a mistake, He’s not completely separate from sin
 God is not very loving – He says He is, but He’s really not, or doesn’t love my way
 God’s grace is not sufficient for my problems – I’m hurting too much
- let me ask you a question:  Do you REALLY want to say that about God?
- or would it be better to say:
“Lord, I don’t understand, please help me get this! Help me to see the things you want me to see in this situation so YOU can be glorified through it all!”
* 2 key questions to ask in times of trials/difficulty:
1) Where is God in your trial?
- is He in control? Are you viewing the trial only through your eyes OR are you viewing life through God’s eyes and His perspective?
2) What aspect of the character of Christ is He trying to form in you through this situation?
Cf. Gal. 5:22-23 – 9 fruit of the spirit; OR 1 Cor. 13 – explain the characteristics of love
- this biblical account is really NOT about the relationship between Cain and Abel, but rather is about the relationship between Cain and God!
- consistent with the nature and character of God, He gives a . . .
D.  A warning or an invitation – v. 7
v. 7 – sin is waiting like a hungry lion ready to leap – an aggressive force ready to ambush Cain because sin has a strong desire for Cain . . . for what?
Answer:  * Sin (one’s wrongful choice, or wrong response to the events God allows to come into one’s life) has the potential to control you or the capabilities to destroy you.
- this reminds us of Peter’s words in 1 Peter 5:8-9:
 1 Peter 5:8 Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9 But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.
- that’s why the Lord says to Cain: ‘but you must master it”
“…notice that Cain does have a choice.  He is not so deeply embedded in sin, either inherited or actual, that his further sin id determined and inevitable.  The emphasis here is not on Cain as a constitutional sinner, one utterly depraved, but on Cain as one who has a free choice.  Otherwise, God’s words to him about ‘doing well’ would be meaningless and comic.  Should he so desire, Cain is able to overcome this creature who now confronts him.  The text makes Cain’s personal responsibility even more focused by its use of the initial emphatic pronoun: ‘You, you are to master it.”
- one of the ways that Satan deceives us is to neglect looking realistically at what can happen if we don’t deal with our heart issues according to v. 7 – i.e. ‘master it’ or it will ‘master’ you!
- which leads us to the next point:


II.  What Can Your Anger Produce? – Gen. 4:8-10


- There is danger to the life of Cain in how he handles his anger, and if he doesn’t, the sin has a ‘desire’ for him (seeking to master/control his life)
- in other words, the stakes are high in the way we respond to or the way we handle the issues we face in life.
A.  We can attack others.
- v. 8 doesn’t say specifically what Cain told his brother – probably told him what God just said to him!
> and based on what happened next [Cain murdered Abel], Cain revealed his heart’s response to what the LORD said to him
- that would be consistent with what Jesus said:
 Matthew 15:19 "For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders.”
- but you might be thinking, “Pastor Dutton, I would never kill anybody over my anger!”
> Really? – maybe not physically, but what’s going on in your heart?
- Maybe you need to consider the words of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount:
 Matthew 5:21 " You have heard that the ancients were told, 'YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT MURDER' and 'Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.' 22 "But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, 'You good-for-nothing,' shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, 'You fool,' shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell.
- so what is the answer to all this? [KEEP READING}
 23 "Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering. 25 "Make friends quickly with your opponent at law while you are with him on the way, so that your opponent may not hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the officer, and you be thrown into prison.
B.  Our attacks are ultimately directed at the One in whose image we are made.
- Cain getting angry and killing Abel was ultimately an attack on the Creator
- Abel’s name actually means ‘breath’ or ‘vapor’
> this could emphasize:
1) the brevity of life he would have OR
2) the idea of breath comes from Gen. 2:7 ‘God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul.”
“Every response to temptation or a trial is an act of worship.”
-  it either reveals our understanding of God and gives Him glory or it reveals our weakness and our need to grow in being more like Him!
C.  Guilt can produce repentance or ‘denial’
- when God came to Cain, like He did to Adam and Eve in Gen. 3, He came asking questions
> not because He didn’t know the answer, but He wanted Cain to answer the question: Where is your brother Abel? (v. 9)
- rather than dealing with his sin, his anger led him down the path of his daddy – AVOIDING God’s questions instead of answering them honestly!
Caution: * Be careful when you start to avoid God – you can’t live life without Him!
 John 15:5 "I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.”
[Explain the Gospel –what God did for us, dying for the sins of the world! – your sin!


III.  What Are the Consequences of Your Anger? Gen. 4:11-23


A. Life gets harder – 4:11-15
1)  he will no longer enjoy the productivity of the soil!
2) he will wander about as a fugitive – from the presence of the Lord
“Rootlessness (lack of stability and permanent relationships) is the punishment and the wilderness is the refuge of the sinner.” – Hamilton, p. 232
- consider the theme of ‘exile’ (this is already the 2nd expulsion) and the difficulty or instability of agriculture, a blessing that easily turns into blight.
B.  Reputation is not good!
Proverbs warns:
 Proverbs 22:24 Do not associate with a man given to anger; Or go with a hot-tempered man, 25 Or you will learn his ways And find a snare for yourself.
C.  Heritage is affected – 4:16-23 Lamech
 Cain/Lamic; develops lineage, it gets worse – the anger shows up again
- Lamech, instead, ensures justice for something LESS than wrong doing to himself (a man wounded him, and a boy who bruised him)
Point: * Your holiness, or lack of it, affects the lives of the people around you.
Ill: Working with a couple – they don’t communicate well, react sinfully, their children and family are watching – I asked them, “Are you bringing glory to God by your response?”
Poem by Deb Crussell [READ]
My Precious Gifts From God
Four babies you have given me, and two you’ve taken home,
my heart has a hole in it and I feel so alone.
I do not understand your ways, and why these things you allow,
but every time a new trial comes, on bended knee I bow.

I feel angry and at times, Oh God, I feel that you’ve forsaken me;
but then when my eyes gaze up to you, I think of Christ on Calvary.

They mocked him and spat on him and pierced his Holy side,
His precious blood was shed for me and that is why he died.

God, you also gave your son that day and brought him home above;
now you have my two children which I know you also love.

Children are a gift from you, Oh God, for how long we do not know;
and so into your kingdom did my children go.

They’re running, laughing, playing, so excited to be free,
of all the pain, suffering, and the misery.

So as for me dear Lord,  I ask of you to heal my broken heart;
to renew my soul and give me joy while from my little ones I’m apart.

I love them so and I thank you for the gifts you have given me;
I look forward to my home on high where we will live together for eternity.

To my sister, Monica
With much love, Deb
Conclusion:
Q: Is it possible that you’re here today and you’re not looking far enough down the road of life to see what God is trying to do?
> God has a plan, and His plan is best – will you accept it, or reject it?
- the choice is yours – just like Cain
- will you ‘master it’ or will sin master you?
Q: Are you mad at God?
- if so, please come to the cross and the empty tomb – come to the Word of God and reconsider your response
- God wants you to seek Him – to get your questions answered
He wants to help you walk by faith and not by sight
He wants to be glorified and to conform you to the image of His Son!
- think about the words to this song:
Lord, my heart is prone to wander; prone to leave the God I love.
Here’s my heart, Lord take and seal it; seal it for Thy courts above.”

Are You Mad at God?

Introduction:


* The context of Genesis 4
Genesis 1 – Creation (Days 1-6)
Genesis 2 – Specifics Day 6:  Man &Woman
Genesis 3 – The Fall & Consequences
Genesis 4 – History of Man Continued

  I.  Why Do People Get Angry at God? – Gen. 4:3-7
A.  Starts with a wrong kind of __________
“One would expect a farmer to being an offering from the vintage of the ground, and a shepherd to bring the sucklings of his flock.  Outside of ritual codes, ‘offering’ could refer to any offering of grain, but animals might be also be included (cf. 1 Sam. 2:17; 26:19).  In Gen. 32:20 ‘offering’ also takes on the added meaning of ‘tribute” and describes a present made to secure or retain goodwill.  As such, it is a tribute brought by subjects to their overlords . . . “
* The ________ of the offering revealed the attitude of the heart!

B.  Many times, people are mad at God for what they ________ get

Q: What is it that you DON’T have that may be producing a degree of anger at God?

 

C.  The understanding of God is __________.
 God is not _______
 God is not very _________
 God’s _________ is not sufficient
* 2 key questions to ask in times of trials/difficulty:

1) Where is God in your trial?

2) What aspect of the character of Christ is He trying to form in you through this situation?

D.  A __________ or an ___________ – v. 7
* Sin has the potential to __________ you or the capabilities to ___________ you.
“…notice that Cain does have a choice.  He is not so deeply embedded in sin, either inherited or actual, that his further sin id determined and inevitable.  The emphasis here is not on Cain as a constitutional sinner, one utterly depraved, but on Cain as one who has a free choice.  Otherwise, God’s words to him about ‘doing well’ would be meaningless and comic.  Should he so desire, Cain is able to overcome this creature who now confronts him.  The text makes Cain’s personal responsibility even more focused by its use of the initial emphatic pronoun: ‘You, you are to master it.”
II.  What Can Your Anger Produce? – Gen. 4:8-10
A.  We can attack ________.

B.  Our attacks are ultimately directed at the _______ in whose image we are made.
“Every response to temptation or a trial is an act of worship.”

C.  Guilt can produce repentance or ‘denial’
* Be careful when you start to avoid God – you can’t live life without Him!

III.  What Are the Consequences of Your Anger? Gen. 4:11-23
A. Life gets __________ – 4:11-15

B.  __________ is not good!

C.  ___________ is affected – 4:16-23

* Your holiness, or lack of it, affects the lives of the people around you.

Conclusion:
Q: Is it possible that you’re not looking far enough down the road of life to see what God is trying to do?
Q: Are you mad at God?

Are You Mad at God?
Introduction:

Are You Mad at God?
 Isaiah 55:8 "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways," declares the LORD. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.
***********************
 Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.
 Isaiah 26:4 "Trust in the LORD forever, for in GOD the LORD, we have an everlasting Rock.
***********************
* The context of Genesis 4
Genesis 1 – Creation (Days 1-6)
Genesis 2 – Specifics Day 6:  Man &Woman
Genesis 3 – The Fall & Consequences
Genesis 4 – History of Man Continued
***********************
  I.  Why Do People Get Angry at God?
II.  What Can Your Anger Produce?
III.  What Are the Consequences of Your Anger?
***********************
  I.  Why Do People Get Angry at God? – Gen. 4:3-7
A.  Starts with a wrong kind of worship
***********************
“One would expect a farmer to being an offering from the vintage of the ground, and a shepherd to bring the sucklings of his flock.  Outside of ritual codes, ‘offering’ could refer to any offering of grain, but animals might be also be included (cf. 1 Sam. 2:17; 26:19).  In Gen. 32:20 ‘offering’ also takes on the added meaning of ‘tribute” and describes a present made to secure or retain goodwill.  As such, it is a tribute brought by subjects to their overlords . . . “   – Victor Hamilton
***********************
* The quality of the offering revealed the attitude of the heart!
***********************
 Hebrews 11:4 By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous, God testifying about his gifts, and through faith, though he is dead, he still speaks.
 Psalm 19:9 . . . the judgments of the LORD are true; they are righteous altogether.
***********************
B.  Many times, people are mad at God for what they didn’t get (or what they don’t have)
 Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans that I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.”
***********************
 Matthew 11:28 "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. 29 "Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.
***********************
Q: What is it that you DON’T have that may be producing a degree of anger at God?
 Friends
 Approval of man
 Husband/wife
 Children
 Physical limitations
 Job situation
***********************
 Romans 9:20 On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, "Why did you make me like this," will it?
***********************
C.  The understanding of God is incorrect.
 God is not holy
 God is not very loving
 God’s grace is not sufficient
***********************
* 2 key questions to ask in times of trials/difficulty:
1) Where is God in your trial?
2) What aspect of the character of Christ is He trying to form in you through this situation?
***********************
D.  A warning or an invitation – v. 7
* Sin has the potential to control you or the capabilities to destroy you.
***********************
 1 Peter 5:8 Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9 But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.
***********************
“…notice that Cain does have a choice.  He is not so deeply embedded in sin, either inherited or actual, that his further sin id determined and inevitable.  The emphasis here is not on Cain as a constitutional sinner, one utterly depraved, but on Cain as one who has a free choice.  Otherwise, God’s words to him about ‘doing well’ would be meaningless and comic.  Should he so desire, Cain is able to overcome this creature who now confronts him.  The text makes Cain’s personal responsibility even more focused by its use of the initial emphatic pronoun: ‘You, you are to master it.”
***********************
II.  What Can Your Anger Produce? – Gen. 4:8-10
A.  We can attack others.
 Matthew 15:19 "For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders.”
***********************
 Matthew 5:21 " You have heard that the ancients were told, 'YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT MURDER' and 'Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.' 22 "But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, 'You good-for-nothing,' shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, 'You fool,' shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell.
***********************
 23 "Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering. 25 "Make friends quickly with your opponent at law while you are with him on the way, so that your opponent may not hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the officer, and you be thrown into prison.
***********************
B.  Our attacks are ultimately directed at the One in whose image we are made.
“Every response to temptation or a trial is an act of worship.”
***********************
C.  Guilt can produce repentance or ‘denial’
* Be careful when you start to avoid God – you can’t live life without Him!
***********************
 John 15:5 "I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.”
***********************
III.  What Are the Consequences of Your Anger? Gen. 4:11-23
A. Life gets harder – 4:11-15
***********************
B.  Reputation is not good!
 Proverbs 22:24 Do not associate with a man given to anger; Or go with a hot-tempered man, 25 Or you will learn his ways And find a snare for yourself.
***********************
C.  Heritage is affected – 4:16-23
* Your holiness, or lack of it, affects the lives of the people around you.
***********************
My Precious Gifts From God
Four babies you have given me, and two you’ve taken home,
my heart has a hole in it and I feel so alone.
***********************
I do not understand your ways, and why these things you allow,
but every time a new trial comes, on bended knee I bow.

***********************
I feel angry and at times, Oh God, I feel that you’ve forsaken me;
but then when my eyes gaze up to you, I think of Christ on Calvary.

***********************
They mocked him and spat on him and pierced his Holy side,
His precious blood was shed for me and that is why he died.

***********************
God, you also gave your son that day and brought him home above;
now you have my two children which I know you also love.

***********************
Children are a gift from you, Oh God, for how long we do not know;
and so into your kingdom did my children go.

***********************
They’re running, laughing, playing, so excited to be free,
of all the pain, suffering, and the misery.

***********************
So as for me dear Lord,  I ask of you to heal my broken heart;
to renew my soul and give me joy while from my little ones I’m apart.

***********************
I love them so and I thank you for the gifts you have given me;
I look forward to my home on high where we will live together for eternity.
***********************
Conclusion:
Q: Is it possible that you’re here today and you’re not looking far enough down the road of life to see what God is trying to do?
Q: Are you mad at God?