EHP Day 11-Hearing From God Part 2
Cain spoke to Abel his brother. And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother and killed him. Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” Cain said, “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?” And the LORD said to Cain, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground. And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand.”
I’ve done it. You’ve done it. Cain did it. You hear from the Lord, only to–quite strangely—do nothing about what was just heard. At best we postpone doing what the Lord directed; at worst we dismiss it as inapplicable “in my case.” God grants the freedom to choose a “yes” or “no” to His directive. Oddly, we often feel empowered to ignore. In doing so, we take a step further into sin. Such is the liability of being a son of the First Adam.
Moses doesn’t disclose what Cain said to Abel immediately following the elder’s flashing-yellow-light encounter with God. The LXX (ancient Greek translation of Genesis) has Cain making an appointment, adding: “Let us go out to the field.” If historical, his words suggest a deliberate, plotted, disobedient response to God’s warning. Cain follows the leadership of his flesh, a private plan gestated in anger and born in violent rage. Not satisfied merely to end a brother’s life, Cain sheds blood (one can see a forecast of how Israel’s angry elders would destroy their own kin–their Messianic son–centuries later).
In grace, the Lord again meets and speaks with Cain. More questions. Another opportunity for repentance. Sadly, again, Cain mimics his father’s evasiveness (cf. Genesis 3:12), yet minus the qualified admission. His impenitence is met with brutal disclosure and consequences. Nothing good results from sinning. By Divine action, the very ground Cain relies on for a living becomes all-the-more his adversary. However, though judged, mercy protects (Gen.4:15). Kidner:
“It is the utmost mercy can do for the unrepentant” (Genesis, p.76).