Did You Not Sin?

Cain and Abel
Cain and Abel

In yesterday’s essay I quoted Walter Brueggemann that the first eleven chapters of the Book of Genesis are the most important in Scripture, well so far that has certainly proved to be the case.  Today we come face to face with chapter 4 and the kill of Abel.

This is an interesting passage on many levels.  We have a sacrifice that is unpleasing to God, not because of what is on the outside but because of what is in the heart of Cain.  Cain did everything he was required to do, but his heart was not in the right place.  Abel had a right discerning heart and had his passions under control; Cain on the other hand let his passions get the better of him.

Cain’s life was characterized by the domination of the sinful passions and in verse 6 we see that his countenance had fallen and he was filled with extreme sorrow.  Because of his arrogant approach towards worship and the rejection of his sacrifice by God he continued to sin.  Sorrow for our sins leads us towards humility and repentance but in the case of Cain his extreme sorrow led him in the other direction and his sorrow turned into hatred for and of his brother, jealousy drove him to murder and the hiding of his brother’s body from God.

The Lord asks Cain about his fallen countenance and asks him, “did you not sin?”  God was asking to try and bring Cain to repentance, he was commended by God for worship but God scolded him for not having his heart in the right place.  You see we can come to Church and do all of the right things but if our heart is not in it then it is not right worship, in fact it is a mockery.

God told Cain to be still, to settle his heart.  That is the goal of our spiritual life, interior silence, when our life is filled with the turbulence of passions it leads us to do things we might not do if we were in a period of silence.  This is not easy in our crazy world we live in.  As I sit and write these words my mind is going ay 90 miles per hour about all of the things that need to accomplish today.  But we need to slow down, center our thoughts on God, and pray for guidance.  Acting out of our passions is what leads us to sin.  This is what led Cain to kill his brother.

Cain was so blind by his rage, and working completely on his passions, he felt that his sin was so grievous that he could not be forgiven for it.  Cain says to God, “My guilt is too great to be forgiven,” to which God responds, “Not so!”  God then makes a covenant with Cain that he will live.  No sin is so great that God will not forgive us.

But Cain was not convinced and Scripture tells us “he went out from the presence of the Lord and welt in the land of Nod opposite Eden.”  He left the Lord presence and set out on his own.  The commentary says that the name Nod means “one who wanders away from God” Cain set out on his own opposite Eden, the place where God dwells.  Cain did the opposite of what God wanted him to do.

When we set off on our own, when we turn our back on God, God is never far from us and all we need do is turn around, turn away from ourselves, and turn back to Him.  Just like the Prodigal Son, God will forgive all and welcome us back into the family.

error: Content is protected !!