by Kristen C. Strocchia
“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.” Genesis 4:9-12
The joy that Eve felt when God helped her to bring forth a man [4:1-2] now bore the sorrow of her own sin [Genesis 3:16]. God warned her that raising children would be fraught with pain, and what could be more painful to a mother than one son killing the other?
But Cain is downright contemptuous with God here. God asks His usual question meant to make Cain realize his own wrong, and Cain throws flippant lies and insolent sarcasm back in God’s face! “I don’t know. Am I my brother’s keeper?“
Perhaps he was shocked by the outcome of his enraged attack. Perhaps not. Either way, it’s clear that Cain tries to mask his guilt and shame with walls of careless words. Just as we all as sinful humans, at some point, have tried to do to defend ourselves. Feigning ignorance. Pleading the fifth [amendment that is, meaning we refuse to self-incriminate].
Since Cain doesn’t respond in humbled repentance to God, God reveals an aspect of His nature to Cain that apparently Cain, as a second generation human, didn’t know about–omniscience [God is all knowing]. Ok Cain, have it your way. If you won’t confess, then I’ll just tell you that I already know that you’re guilty of murder.
So because of your second generation sin–which is just as unholy and irreverent as your parents’ disobedience–now not only will you have to work hard and be frustrated to provide for yourself, now the ground won’t even produce for you. You watered it with life blood, a defilation of My intended purpose. In your sin, you caused a death–which I am working to reverse in the world–and returned a man to the dust before his appointed end. This is so reprehensible that even the ground has rejected you and will force you to move from place to place as the first ever nomad on the planet.
Again, God’s heart is grieved many times over. He is certainly grieved at the wrongful death of Abel, but God is also grieved at both the murder Cain committed and his lack of post-murder remorse. It’s the same scenario of God–in His mercy–coming to Cain beforehand to help him see the error of his ways and repent before it was too late. But this time, the crime has already been committed, and God again in His mercy comes to Cain to give him the opportunity to repent of the wrong that he’d done. And Cain refuses.
Not only does anger divide us from our fellow man and threaten to consume our physical lives, but it also separates us from God.
Is there anger in your life? Is God’s Holy Spirit coming to you in His mercy to give you the opportunity to repent before it’s too late? Have you already sinned in your anger? Do not refuse the Holy Spirit when, in His mercy, He offers you the opportunity again.