Coming Soon: Noah’s Ark!
Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?”
“I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?”
The LORD said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground. 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.”
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.”
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.
Growing up, I always dreaded the first weekend of August, the weekend that my mom would drag us to the family reunion. We would show up to some tiny, community center where about 100 relatives had gathered and spend the first 30 minutes hearing, “Why Brocke! You’ve grown a foot since I last saw you. You remember me don’t you?” I would lie and say I did, hit the pot luck buffet and find the one or two cousins that I did know and we would sit and eat and talk about important things.
I have decided that there are people in this world who show up at family reunions just to get hugs. We always had some mysterious “aunt” who would run around hugging everyone, while talking about how much they had grown, then run to the next victim. I’d ask someone, “Who is that lady?” and I’d get the same response, “Um…that’s…Carol…I think.” Ok, so how is she related to us? “Um…she’s….well….you know it’s complicated.” It’s funny how the word “complicated” is used to describe a lot of family relationships.
This past week, one of those complicated relationships came to light in my life. My grandfather passed away at the age of 85. The last time I saw him was at my mom’s funeral 4 years ago. Due to some events I won’t bore you with here, it’s been about 14 years since we have had a decent grandfather/grandson conversation. I guess the best way to describe what happened is this: an immovable object was struck by an unstoppable force. In a nutshell, we were both stubborn and really held our ground on certain battles.
The argument we had is not important. What is important is following Christ’s example. In my last devotional I talked about Hosea, and how God instructed him to marry a prostitute. I mentioned that this is a hard book to study because it’s hard to accept the fact that in this story we are the prostitute. But there is a greater point to the story. God still loves us…in spite of ourselves. Hosea 14:4 says: I will heal their apostasy; I will freely love them, for My anger will have turned from him. We have a gracious and loving God who promises to love us no matter what.
But there is a catch.
If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 With the heart one believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth one confesses, resulting in salvation. 11 Now the Scripture says, No one who believes on Him will be put to shame, 12 for there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, since the same Lord of all is rich to all who call on Him. 13 For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. –Romans 10:9-13
God’s love and forgiveness only comes when you confess your sin. Here is where Cain failed. You see, God knew that Cain had killed Abel, and he knew where Abel had been buried. God wanted Cain to confess his sin in order to receive forgiveness. But Cain wouldn’t budge. God’s anger was validated when Cain reacted with anger to God. “I’m not my brother’s baby sitter!!”
We worship a faithful and loving God. He has sent his Son to atone for our sins. He has promised us eternal life. He has promised us everything. But if we are unwilling to humble ourselves and confess our sins, God’s forgiveness is not available.
So it all comes down to humility, admitting that we were wrong. In Cain’s case, he should have admitted that he had acted in anger, and asked God for forgiveness.
In my own personal case, after 14 years, I’ve come to the place where I am ready to admit that I was wrong. I still say that my principles that I stood for that day were right. I will never denounce my belief in Jesus Christ. But the way I acted towards him was wrong. The way I steered clear of him afterwards, was wrong. As a Christian example I failed. Jesus did not spend his days avoiding those who disagreed with Him; a lesson that I really need to learn.