Note: Every Sunday, DrydenWire.com publishes a submitted article in a weekly series from Pastor Brian Cole. If you would have a question for Brian or would like to learn more about him, visit his website or his official Facebook page.
Genesis 4:1-16 – Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon – Part 3
The pursuit of a gracious God (4:9-16). In 4:9, Cain foolishly thought he could hide his sin from God. He’s following in his father’s footsteps (3:8). Yet, God seeks Cain just like He sought Adam and Eve. God is a seeker.
After Cain’s treacherous sin, the Lord does the unthinkable—he dialogues with Cain. He speaks with grace, not wrath. The Lord says to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” Cain responds by saying, “I do not know.” Cain begins on a sinful note by lying to God. Puny old Cain tells an omniscient God that he doesn’t know where his brother Abel is.
Come on! The fact that Cain can dispassionately deny what he has done and show a total lack of care and concern for his brother closely parallels man’s total lack of regard for woman in 3:12, where Adam refers to Eve as “the woman” and places all the blame on her, thereby revealing a complete absence of the intimacy and companionship that earlier had characterized their relationship. To make matters worse, Cain goes on to utter the infamous old adage, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” This was a big mistake on Cain’s part.
He asks Cain a follow-up question which is the same question He asked Eve (3:13): “What have you done?” Wouldn’t you just hate to be Cain right now? The Lord then stops asking questions and says, “The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to Me from the ground” (4:10). This is a key sentence. The words “to me” demonstrate how seriously God takes first-degree murder.
When another person kills a baby, a child, or an adult made in the image of God (1:26; 9:6), the blood of the victim cries out to God! Sin cannot be covered up from God. It can be hidden from people, but not from God. Secret sin on earth is open scandal in heaven! As a consequence of Cain’s act of deliberate sin, God curses him (4:11-12), just like He cursed the serpent (3:14) and the ground (3:17-19).
Woe! Moses records these tragic words: “Now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. When you cultivate the ground, it will no longer yield its strength to you; you will be a vagrant and a wanderer on the earth.” This is the first instance in Scripture where a human is “cursed.” The ultimate penalty for a Hebrew is not death, but exile, a loss of roots.
In 4:13-14, “Cain said to the LORD, ‘My punishment is too great to bear! Behold, You have driven me this day from the face of the ground; and from Your face I will be hidden, and I will be a vagrant and a wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.’” Cain’s complaint is full of personal pronouns. All Cain cared about was himself. There was no fear or reverence for God, no regret for the loss of innocent life, his own brother, no sorrow for sin, and no thought for his parents who had lost one son tragically through murder and would be losing another through rebellion.
And how many of us play the “Poor me,” and “Woe unto me” game when we are caught and punished. Immediately blaming everyone but ourselves?
In 4:15, the Lord speaks again to Cain, “‘Therefore whoever kills Cain, vengeance will be taken on him sevenfold.’ And the LORD appointed a sign for Cain, so that no one finding him would slay him.”
God continues to demonstrate His grace and compassion—even to Cain! The Lord gave Cain a sign before judgment was carried out. Isn’t this just like the Lord?
The Lord’s program always seems to be mercy before judgment. How fortunate we are that this is the case. If it weren’t, we would have been snuffed out a long time ago! No matter what you’ve done, God wants a relationship with you. There is no sin that you have ever committed that is too big for God. He will accept you IF you accept His Son’s sacrifice for your sin.
We do not know what the “sign” was, but there are all kinds of theories. Regardless of what the sign was, God places a mark on Cain before he expels him. This will protect Cain from recrimination. Here again is mercy before judgment.
In 4:16, we read these sad words: “Then Cain went out from the presence of the LORD, and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden.” (“NOD”=”Wandering”).
One question that is asked is: Did Cain repent? Probably not. The New Testament Scriptures uniformly speak of Cain in the negative with phrases like “the way of Cain” (Jude 11) and one “who was of the evil one and slew his brother” (1 John 3:12). His life is contrasted with “righteous Abel” (Matt 23:35). Nevertheless, we do not know what ultimately happened to him.
He may have responded to God. Cain was not beyond God’s grace and neither are you. If you are in the midst of sin today, Confess! Repent! Call upon God’s Grace and help. If you are in rebellion today - Confess, Repent. Call upon God’s grace to help. If sin is crouching at your door today, call upon Him to eradicate it before it eradicates you. The devil comes only to kill, steal and destroy, but Jesus comes to give life, and give it abundantly. Live in that abundance of life, love, grace and forgiveness which is ONLY to be had in Jesus Christ.