Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Genesis 4:11-16

Good morning, all!

In today's verses we see tremendous mercy in the judgment of God given to Cain:

Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth. (verses 11-12)

Cain was to be driven out from the land that was his home and was condemned to being a nomad, "a restless wanderer." What he deserved was capital punishment; instead he would be always seeking and never finding, never satisfied or fulfilled, but continually restless, having a permanent void in his life. Hmmm, maybe that's worse! Cain thought so! Notice in his response there is no remorse or acceptance of his responsibility for his behavior, only a moan of "That's not fair!"

Cain said to the LORD, “My punishment is more than I can bear. Today you are driving me from the land, and I will be hidden from your presence; I will be a restless wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me." (verses 13-14)

Wow! Look at the personal pronouns in there! Seven times he speaks of "I, me, my..." I have seen many students like this in my classroom over the past 19 years! There is not a shred of remorse when they are found guilty of any infraction, just blame, resentment, and the refrain of "Not fair!" It is scary to see such sociopathic behavior in children at the age of 10 or 11 - and it does not bode well for their futures! Always playing the victim, rather than repenting of their own abhorrent behaviors, these kids, too, may find a life of restless wandering if they continue on that path! But notice that God extends grace to Cain even in the punishment:

But the LORD said to him, “Not so; anyone who kills Cain will suffer vengeance seven times over.” Then the LORD put a mark on Cain so that no one who found him would kill him. So Cain went out from the LORD’s presence and lived in the land of Nod, east of Eden.

We have no idea what the mark was that God placed on Cain, but the result was it told anyone who saw it, "Don't touch!" Talk about amazing grace!! Does Cain get it? No way! We are told that Cain "went out from the Lord's presence." As Jon Courson says, "Cain could have pressed in to the presence of the Lord. Instead he went out from the presence of the Lord - to Nod, literally, 'Wandering.' "

What a tragedy when we refuse God's grace! Cain was not the only murderer in the Bible. Moses killed an Egyptian, and David had Uriah killed. But they chose to repent and receive God's limitless mercy. Cain had a choice, and he made it. Tomorrow we'll look at some of the consequences of his choice.

What have we learned about God here? He is not only the righteous Judge of the universe, but, even in punishment, He provides a way of escape. Amazing!

Have a great day!

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