“Again, she gave birth to his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of flocks, but Cain was a tiller of the ground” (Gen. 4:2). Our Lord is a genius at work. For from the beginning He began appointing to each man according to His will. When He created man, He planned to give him according to His ways. And, Adam was told to care for His garden and He blessed him to be fruitful and multiply. It is absolutely necessary for us to understand that the Lord appoints work to all, especially to those who are of His house. He created us in His image and conformed us to the image of His Son by faith that He should plan our lives for His glory. In His plans there is no dishonor or failure. To each one He gives accordingly that we become fruitful and increase to the enlargement of His kingdom. It is for this desire of His that He created man.
The Lord God desired a kingdom for Himself. He made all things sufficient for its existence. He provides blessings both of the earth and the heaven for its sustenance. It is unwise to question His intent in creating man. For the Scripture clearly reminds us of the clay in a potter’s hands. No potter uses the clay unwisely; nor does he create with it things that are useless and formless. So, the Lord who is the Potter is not unwise and we who are the clay are not useless to His plans. This must be ingrained in our hearts and minds so that we understand the mind of the Almighty Lord toward us. Who taught Abel to shepherd the flock or Cain to till the ground? Who put those works in their heart? It was none other than the Lord Himself. In their respective works each was to please Him. So, Abel adhered to His will and pleased Him while Cain went against His will for him. Our countenance before the Lord will not fall, if we work along with His plans for us. Often times the world around us pressures us to take matters into our hands. It is because there is so much that has already taken place and we are inclined to consider the consequences of the matters that took place. But, the consequences always belonged and belong to the Lord. It is He who causes them based on the ways men choose. For this reason alone we ought to look to God than to men and their works. For to every person born on the earth the Lord is able to grant according to His will. It is only for man to listen to Him.
It was not Cain’s work that made him less than Abel; it was his attitude to the work the Lord has given him and to the Lord. Had he brought Him the best of his produce as offering, he too would have gained His approval. But, He could not, since sin worked alongside the will the Lord gave him; sin was able to master him. On the other hand, sin was unable to do the same in Abel. What am I saying? That faith in the Lord must powerfully work in us to fulfill that which He gave us. This does not mean we are not tempted or we do not sin. When we consider Abel, he was a son of Adam from whom he inherited sin. But that he gained the Lord’s approval meant he was faithful to the Lord, who enabled him to master it to the point of pleasing Him. Even so, He called us to enable us to serve Him faithfully when He appointed us a work. In order that we are conscious of it and value it He made us righteous, a virtue absent in those who assume to be called. With the work He gave us we must strive to please Him. As we strive, He will help us glorify Him. Remember, He knows we, who were made lower than the angels, are weak.
Therefore, know that the Lord requires nothing from us, except obedience to His will. Then, He will flourish us no matter the situation. Obeying Him is the only way to overcome weaknesses. Conversely, disobedience will turn us against Him. Then, He too will have to apply His ways to bring us back to Him. He has done it before. “So the people came to Moses and said, ‘We have sinned, because we have spoken against the LORD and you; intercede with the LORD, that He may remove the serpents from us.’ And Moses interceded for the people” (Num. 21:7). So, it is better to obey the Lord leaving all the consequences to Him. Do not fear men or reputation in obeying Him. At your obedience He will prepare you for His work. As you humble yourself before Him, He will certainly glorify you at the proper time. Listen, by belief in the Lord righteousness is credited and in obeying His will through belief it is perfected. In order to bring Israel to this understanding He sent serpents upon them.
At another time when He intended to restore Israel to Himself, He called men with His appointed works. So, “The priests and the Levites purified themselves; they also purified the people, the gates and the wall” (Neh. 12:30). See, how God planned to perfection to fulfill His desire! For this reason, He was, is and will be a genius at work. Now, the Lord has called you to make you perfect that in the course of His actions toward you, you master sin and do His will, i.e. restore people to Him. This gives Him glory. He has called you to Him and appointed you His will to have a kingdom of His own. God does not act monotonously, but in every generation and at every appropriate time He makes ways to have a people to Himself. Whether it was during the time of Abel and Cain or Moses, priests, and Levites, all that the Lord required of them was obedience to the work He appointed to them. And by those who obeyed, it incidentally yielded a magnificent people that proclaimed His Excellencies. So, when the Lord has called you to His service, know that He has plans for you. Seek Him to know them and abide by them; you will see their fruit. Whether in interceding for His people, helping those whom He sends to you or any other, do it faithfully. For He said, “But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet and the people are not warned, and a sword comes and takes a person from them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require from the watchman’s hand” (Ezek. 33:6).
It is a serious work the Lord has given you and even to all who are called for His kingdom. He expects us to keep our countenance before Him. Our job is to let the churches or Christians know the right way of the Lord. It is a unique work, because of the manner in which they must conduct themselves toward the Lord, His house and the world. We have been called and purified. We were tuned by Him to listen to His every desire. We obtained His grace, promises and the work appointed to us. It would now be a shame to turn back from our duty toward Him. We have been baptized with a certain fire which is His zeal. It brings into us His strength and courage that when He provides an opportune time we let men know His law. The right time unfolds as the zeal of the Lord begins to consume us. It will be His doing. So, let us act in a way that it happens and keep our hands clean.
Consider the man who obtained an opportune time. “He said, ‘I am A VOICE OF ONE CRYING IN THE WILDERNESS, MAKE STRAIGHT THE WAY OF THE LORD,’ as Isaiah the prophet said’” (John 1:23). We have known the Lord appoints to each man his work. But, in conjunction to it, it is He who creates the appropriate time for its fulfillment. Long ago Isaiah prophesied that a man, whom we later came to know as John the Baptist, would come in the spirit of Elijah to prepare the way for the Lord. But, who knew when and how? It was a unique work that John did. His work was intended for a people who claimed the name of the Almighty Lord. Until the Lord created the time to enforce His plan John did not appear. And at the right time He gave him a work that is fitting to His will. In the same way, brethren, He will also provide you. Do not be anxious to serve Him in your ways and yet, do not be lackluster toward His calling; nor be idle in the time when you ought to seek His ways. If you are idle, you restrict Him to prepare you for His glory. If you are anxious, you will make unwise choices. If you are lazy to His calling, you will leave Him with no choice, but to discipline you. Consider John as an example of the Lord’s wisdom. You will do well in reaching a significant number of people. Yet, when everything has been said, there is the key to your success of which the Lord spoke. “Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, ‘Which, He said, ‘you heard of from Me’’” (Acts 1:4).
The promise of the Father must be in you. The zeal of the Lord that propels His will in you is invariably associated with the promise. The disciples were given the work to proclaim the gospel to all the nations and yet, they waited for His zeal. In doing so, they did not mismanage or abuse their waiting, but used it wisely looking for the right time. And, you know His promise. While you wait for the Lord wisely, having His will, He will place you at the right place and in the right time, and send to you His promise to glorify His name. He is able for it. There is not a man who can proclaim the Lord’s Excellencies by His will and in His time without His signature, the Holy Spirit. If only the many who preach the gospel realized this, many churches would not be still living by the flesh. And, how necessary it became for Paul to iterate to Christians this Word of the Lord! “Therefore let us celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth” (1 Cor. 5:8).