Two Brothers – Part 1

Two Brothers

By: God

Adapted by: S.C. Mathisen

 

A long time ago, far, far away, back during the time when people were pretty new on this earth, there were two brothers. They were, in fact, the only two brothers that had ever lived up until that time…and they were adored by their parents.

Both Adam and Eve were overjoyed with the birth of each one, but the first one had been something special, especially to the mother. Eve was so pleased when Cain was born that she proclaimed that she had gotten a man from the Lord! He was hers! She was so…proud, of herself and of him. Always. Not much later, the second son was born. His name was Abel. Eve was very excited about Abel too, but…it just wasn’t the same as it was with Cain. Adam saw this and tried to focus more of his attention on Abel. They became very close as he grew to manhood.

The two boys seemed oblivious to what was going on with their parents. They were the best of friends. They did everything together. While Eve doted on Cain, Adam spent time with both of the boys. He worked with Cain in the fields and with Abel as he cared for the livestock, especially the sheep. Gradually, as they grew older, the boys took over the tasks on their own. Eve was full of pride for her little family.

Life was good.

Until…

“Abel! You and your sheep tramped through my fields! Again!! Can’t you control them? I have had to replant that whole lower field twice in the last two weeks.” Cain shouted and looked hard into his brother’s eyes.

“Cain, you know that you planted over the only path between my pastures and the river. How else am I supposed to get them to the water? We don’t really have much choice. Our sheep deserve water just as much as the crops. You planted that whole area and it would take most of a day to go around it. I chose a path for them that would affect the crops the least. You should be grateful for that.” Abel replied (as calmly as he could, looking straight back into his brother’s eyes).

Cain returned the stare. The veins on his forehead and neck began to swell, he slowly balled up both of his large hands into fists so tight that his knuckles were turning white and then turned quickly and walked away muttering oaths in his anger. Abel watched his brother walk away with great sadness in his heart.

The two brothers were much like twins in stature. They were both young, muscular and bronzed from the sun. Even though Cain was the older of the two, but you could not tell it from looking at them. In temperament, however, they could not have been more different. Abel was calm, measured and even tempered. Cain, on the other hand, was impatient, often unsatisfied with life in general and occasionally given to fits of violent temper. Working the ground to grow their food was not the easiest job. He often resented it. He resented his brother having only to tend the sheep & other livestock.

Their father had decided that this fall, they would each make an offering to the Lord. The offering was to give thanks for the food, the land, the sheep and all that they had.

Adam did not often speak of the time before the boys were born. The time in the Garden. When he did speak of it, there was a heavy sadness and melancholy in his voice. There seemed to be a great burden of regret.

He did, however, take great joy in his two sons and loved them deeply. And so, it hurt him deeply to see them face each other off like that. He wanted to step in. He wanted to take them both in his arms and, and… Well, he wasn’t sure if he wanted to yell at them, hug them or just knock their heads together. He just wasn’t sure what to do. He suddenly missed the cool, evening walks with the Lord. He yearned for them. His regret again seemed to wash over him and threatened to overwhelm him. He, too, turned and headed off. He was going to find Eve. Perhaps she knew how long this had been going on between the two boys.

Eber and the Tower – Part 2

Then he ran as fast as he could toward him and executed the best flying tackle in the history of the world. He hit Peleg so hard the two of them went tumbling head over heels together for about ten yards and ended up in a jumbled pile of heads, arms and legs.

“What on earth did you do that for, Joktan?”

“You just about got your head knocked off by a load of bricks older brother. Now, pay attention to what’s going on around you.”

“Uh, thanks, I guess I got distracted by the tower. I never noticed all the men working on it before. There must be hundreds of them. I never got close enough to see them before. They looked like ants to begin with.”

“And you two troublemakers are gonna get squished like ants if you don’t get out of here.”

The two boys turned around at the sound of the voice to see a very large man standing over them. Joktan recognized him as the construction boss Leban. He had the foreman standing with him, both men looked very upset.

“But, we were going to work for you today!” Joktan sputtered.

“You may have thought you were, but we can’t afford anymore accidents around here. There are some people in this valley that don’t want the king to have this tower built and we don’t want to give them any cause to try to stall this project. So you two little boys head on home and don’t come back. Do you hear me?”

Peleg wasn’t sure what to say, but Joktan jumped up and said, “Wait a minute, you can’t kick me out. My father is an elder of this town and…”

“Look kid,” the construction boss said leaning directly into Joktan’s face, “we have a lot of work to get done before the king comes to inspect our progress and we don’t need two troublemakers in the way. Now, get out of here and don’t come back!”

Joktan became angry and even as Peleg was pulling him away from the two men he shouted over his shoulder, “Our father was one of the original settlers in this valley and he won’t take it lightly for you to treat us this way. You’ll hear from us again.”

The construction boss laughed and said, “Sure, little boys you go home and tell your Daddy.” The two men laughed heartily as they turned toward the construction site and walked away.

# # #

When the boys got home, they found their parents in a very animated discussion.

“What are we going to do Eber? We can’t just disobey the King! They said that we had to sell them most of our crop of hay to make more bricks for the tower.”

“I know, I know…but I can’t just go along with it either. We need that hay to feed our livestock. Also, I’ve been praying about this tower and I believe that it is being built as an intentional insult to God by the King.”

“Why would King Nimrod do that?”

“Because he thinks that being the mightiest warrior of all and being our king makes him greater than God!”

“So because of that the Lord told you not to cooperate?”

“Not directly. But Nimrod’s tower and city are the products of disobedience of the Lord’s command to great grandfather Noah. The Lord told great grandfather to be fruitful, multiply and fill the earth. Like I said before we’ve been doing the first two all right, but now people are intentionally disobeying the third. I just can’t go along with it.”

“What will they do when you refuse?”

Eber shook his head and said, “I don’t know, wife, I just don’t know.”

Adah took her husband’s arm and headed back to the house.

The two boys had stopped behind a haystack to listen to what their parents were saying. After their parents started back to the house, Peleg leaned his back against the stack, slumped down to the ground and said, “Wow. Pop’s in a real pickle here. Who do you disobey, the Lord or the King?”

Joktan looked irritated and said, “It seems simple enough to me. You obey the king. He’s the one with the power to hurt you.”

Peleg looked up at his younger brother in amazement, “But obedience to the Lord is always the most important thing Joktan. How can he disobey the Lord? He’s more powerful than the king.”

Joktan shook his head and looked at the shrinking figures of his parents as they walked across the field toward the house.

“I’m not so sure about that, if the Lord didn’t want the city of Babylon or the great tower built, wouldn’t He stop it…if He could?”

Peleg stood up quickly and looked his brother in the eye, “What do you mean, ‘if He could?’ Don’t you think that they Lord could stop it from being built if He wanted to?”

“I don’t know. I know that we’ve heard all the stories from our parents and our grandparents about the great flood and all about Father Adam and Mother Eve but I haven’t seen Him do anything. I’m not so sure that those stories are any more than that – just stories. Now, the city and that tower are real. There is no denying that. I think Pop’s wrong this time. He should sell the hay.”

Peleg just stared at his brother. He couldn’t believe his ears. He was so stunned by what he heard, he couldn’t say anything back.

Joktan turned and headed for home.

Peleg slumped back down to the ground and closed his eyes in prayer.

“Lord, my brother is bent on disobedience. Help me to stand with you.”

Writing Structure for the new year – or anytime…

I wrote this for the Fellowship of Christian Writers newsletter – The Ready Writer. I thought it would be appropriate to revisit the topic with the new year almost upon us.

Fall – Time to Think Structure

As I write this article, it is late August and the leaves on some trees are foreshadowing the next season. This time of year brings thoughts of starting school, swinging into the beginning of the end of the year. This year has been a very busy one for me with family issues at the forefront and my writing has moved to a seriously far back burner. Maybe yours has too. But, I am looking forward to cooler temperatures and carving out more time for my writing.

In order to make that time more productive, there are things that I can do right now to begin planning for that.

First, I can begin thinking about how to carve out the time I need to write. Most mornings, I am headed out to work and that is not a good time for me to try to get my head into whatever story I am working on except, perhaps, for making a few notes on ideas I had overnight. My best time for writing seems to be either just before or an hour or two after dinner during the week. Early Saturday afternoons are good also. Sometimes, I write at really odd times. I wrote one short story sitting in the car while my wife went blueberry picking. Setting and keeping a regular daily time is what I am aiming for here. Setting a time, word or page count may come into the mix as well. Establishing a habit is what needs to happen for me.

You need to figure out what time works best for you. Every one of us is different. Regularity can be good in lots of different ways.

Second, I can think about where I write best. As I mentioned above, I wrote one story while sitting in the car. I have also found myself unusually productive sitting in a coffee shop surrounded by noisy people and loud music. I have noise reduction headphones I use that block out other sounds and allow me to just listen to the music I selected for my writing. Most often, though, I write at home. in a home office. I have also used a chair or tray in the family room to hold my laptop. For a short period of time, I used a board set up on my bed to hold the laptop while I sat in a chair. (This is how Francis Schaeffer wrote most of his books.) The actual location is not as important as how productive you are in that location. Right now my office is all cluttered up. I need to clear away some clutter and make it a more focused work space.

Try different spots. See what works best for you.

Third, I need to focus on what I am going to write. I have had two books swirling around in my head and, to some degree, written down in short story form along with a bunch of outlined notes. I wanted to expand them into full length books but kept getting stalled. I set those aside earlier this year to focus on writing short children’s stories for a magazine. I really set my sights on getting published in that magazine. Those of you in the FCW critique group got to read them. But, none of them were accepted. Then I saw a contest for a story about fairies and elves. My imagination jumped into high gear. I have been working on that story for several months and it is long past the deadline but…I still love the story. I have switched over to doing some serious outlining and want to integrate what I have learned from K.M. Weiland’s new book Structuring Your Novel. http://goo.gl/QymLLW I was knocked off my stool while reading her book about structure and really want to try it for this project.

What about you? Have you got some book in your head you’ve kept on the back burner for a long time. Got a fresh idea that just won’t let you go? Got some magazine articles you have been dying to write?

Let’s recap now…

  1. Take some time to get yourself organized. Figure a time (or times) that you can regularly devote to your writing. Jerry Bridges said that he wrote his wonderful book “Trusting God” in the “nooks and crannies” of a very busy life. Some people write only in short 15 minute bursts.

  1. Stake out a place to do your writing. Put your family on notice that when you are there you are working and they better be on fire before they interrupt you. (Just joking.) Try to find a place where you can be more or less alone and free from distractions.

  1. Determine what project you want to work on and see it through to the end. Persevere. Persist. Finish what you start.

Above all, pray. Pray for His guidance for inspiration as you set your goals and to honor your efforts to honor Him with your work.