East of Eden

OPENING PRAYER

Lord Jesus, thank you that because of Your atoning sacrifice, I am welcomed into the Father’s presence without fear or shame.

 

Read: GENESIS 4:1-16

[1] Adam made love to his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain. She said, “With the help of the LORD I have brought forth a man.” [2] Later she gave birth to his brother Abel. Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. [3] In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the LORD. [4]And Abel also brought an offering-fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering, [5] but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast. [6] Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? [7] If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.” [8] Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.” While they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him. [9] Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?” “I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?” [10] The LORD said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground. [11] Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. [12] When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth.” [13] Cain said to the LORD, “My punishment is more than I can bear. [14] 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.” [15] 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. [16] So Cain went out from the LORD’s presence and lived in the land of Nod, east of Eden. 

 

Reflect: WHAT WAS THE DIFFERENCE IN THE BROTHERS’ SACRIFICES?

We are not told in the Genesis narrative why Abel’s sacrifice was acceptable to God and Cain’s was not.  What we do know is that God’s primary concern is always with what is inside the worshipper’s heart (Isaiah 1:10–17.)  Cain’s heart was clearly spilling over with anger. He had lost control of the tenets and allowed sin to run roughshod through his house. Cain’s heart was consumed by anger and he made the choice to set his focus on getting revenge on his brother. Since sin kept him busy, he did not have time to consider how he might worship and please the Lord. When Cain allowed jealousy to rule him and hatred to gain control of his life, he murdered his brother. True to His nature, the Lord would not allow Cain’s wayward behavior to go unpunished and without consequence, for He chastises those whom He loves (Hebrews 12:6.) Cain’s expulsion from the Lord’s Presence was not a complete removal; the Lord kept Cain under His protective arms. We must consider how much God must have grieved over His broken relationship with this child. God certainly wants much more for those whom He loves. Like Cain, we make daily decisions that either delight our Heavenly Father or cause Him to want to cast us away. We have the freedom to exercise free choice and daily decide where to live our days—in fellowship with the Lord, within the safe refuge of the household of faith, or alone in the wilderness.

 

APPLY

Write out some tangible ways you can gain protection from sin and evil which crouch in the doorway of life.

 

CLOSING PRAYER

Holy Father, I marvel at how You love and accept me, even with full knowledge of who I am and what I’ve done.

 

Syndicated via Scripture Union. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
 

Terry Schneider