Our Daily Bread Devotional For August 23, 2023 : Topic – Witnesses

By | August 24, 2023

Our Daily Bread Devotional For August 23, 2023 : Topic – Witnesses

Read previous Devotionals here

Bible in a Year:

Today’s Scripture : Genesis 4:2–11


Genesis, which means “beginning,” is a book of origins. Genesis 1 tells how God created the universe and the first man and woman. Genesis 2 gives us the first wedding. Genesis 3 tells how perfect humanity became the sinful human race. Genesis 4 tells of the first family—the first parents, Adam and Eve; and the first sons, Cain and Abel. Adam and Eve were created by God, but Cain was the first human being conceived and carried in the womb of a woman. We also see the children in worship. Cain and Abel didn’t come empty-handed but brought offerings to worship God, so they must have been taught about Him and how to worship Him (vv. 3–4).

Message : In his poem “The Witnesses,” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–1882) described a sunken slave ship. As he wrote of “skeletons in chains,” Longfellow mourned slavery’s countless nameless victims. The concluding stanza reads, “These are the woes of Slaves, / They glare from the abyss; / They cry from unknown graves, / We are the Witnesses!”

But who do these witnesses speak to? Isn’t such silent testimony futile?

There is a Witness who sees it all. When Cain murdered Abel, he pretended nothing had happened. “Am I my brother’s keeper?” he said dismissively to God. But God said, “Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground. Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand” (Genesis 4:9–11).

Cain’s name lives on as a warning. “Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother,” John the disciple cautioned (1 John 3:12). Abel’s name lives on too, but in a dramatically different way. “By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did,” said the writer of Hebrews. “By faith Abel still speaks” (Hebrews 11:4).

Abel still speaks! So do the bones of those long-forgotten slaves. We do well to remember all such victims, and to oppose oppression wherever we see it. God sees it all. His justice will triumph.

By:  Tim Gustafson

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