Tuesday, August 20, 2019

PF Bulletin: God’s Mercy in the OT – Cain

May 14, 2015 by  
Filed under PF Bulletin

What a beautiful place Eden must have been—a place where creator and created could live together indefinitely. Unfortunately, God could not continue fellowship with Adam and Eve after their sin in the garden, and cast them from his presence. That was not the end of God’s interaction with man—Cain and Abel’s sacrifices show us that God made provision after the garden through which man could still commune with his creator. It is in this narrative that we see God’s incredible mercy!

Abel came to God and by faith offered a sacrifice he knew to be pleasing to God (Heb. 11:4). Through this sacrifice, Abel was declared righteous. Cain, for reasons unknown, chose to offer a different sacrifice, one that was not regarded by God. When Cain reacts in anger, God responds graciously:

  • Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.” (Gen. 4:6-7)

This response strikes so heavily, because we have all been in Cain’s position—choosing to sin knowing it is contrary to God, then having the weight of that sin rest on our shoulders like a cross. And yet, our God is he who lifts up the head of the defeated (Ps. 3:3). Our God shows mercy to Cain, and rather than striking Cain down for approaching God without the blood of a sacrifice, encourages him to do better!

Too often, we can allow the guilt of our sin become a millstone around our neck, one that can potentially lead us to greater sin. Cain’s anger festered and pushed him to kill his brother (Gen. 4:8), when it should have led him to sorrow and a determination to be more pleasing to the Lord. If we do well, if we obey God’s words, we too will be accepted.

Just as God offered Cain an opportunity, so we too have a perpetual invitation to repent and turn to God! There is no limit to how many times we can sincerely repent from sin—to place a limit here is to limit God’s grace. God has promised that those who confess their sins and strive to walk in the light will be saved from death (1 John 1:4-8). Have faith in God’s promises.

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