Don’t Take Your Presence From Me

Observations as I follow God through the Chronological Bible.

Read Genesis 4:8-16

God confronted Cain in his sin, not with accusations but questions as he had confronted Cain’s parents in the Garden of Eden. God knew what Cain had done when he asked him, “Where is your brother Abel?”[1]  

Cain’s lie and arrogance revealed his true nature. “I don’t know. Am I my brother’s keeper?”

Adam told God the truth and attempted to excuse his sin by blaming God for giving him a wife. When God judged Adam’s sin, he cursed the ground, not the man. This time God cursed the man. Adam was guilty, but he had been tempted by both the serpent and his wife to satisfy his evil inclinations. No one tempted Cain to sin against God.

The more I learn about Cain, the easier it is to understand why God rejected both Cain and his offering. Cain could have learned how to gain God’s favor from his brother. Instead, he murdered him. He was jealous, angry, a liar, and a murderer, yet thought bringing an offering to God entitled him to favor. When he could not manipulate God with offerings, Cain satisfied his anger with God by killing his brother who had what Cain wanted – God’s favor.

Adam’s sin complicated life for everyone because God cursed the ground to produce thorns and thistles. Cain’s sin complicated his own life. The ground would no longer yield crops for Cain, causing his farming business to fail. Then he would wander from place to place seeking rest but never find it.

Instead of remorse for killing his brother and causing pain to his parents, Cain cried foul, “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.”[2]

The only person Cain is concerned about is Cain. My punishment is too hard. I will lose my farm. I will lose your presence. I will not have rest. Someone will kill me. The most interesting item on this list of complaints is Cain’s desire to remain in the presence of God.   

Cain had a relationship with God, but like his parents, he did not love God.

If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother. 1 John 4:20-21

Cain saw evil in God’s decisions. He perceived God’s favor of Abel as favoritism, but it wasn’t. God loved Cain and sought to reconcile with him. He told Cain how to get what he wanted: master your sin. Instead, Cain allowed sin to rule his life, and God drove him from his presence because his heart belonged to a different father.

 “You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” John 8:44

[1] Genesis 4:9

[2] Genesis 4:13-14

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