Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the three-year lectionary.
Things look pretty grim in the world in Genesis chapter 4. Not only have the first people been cast out of the Garden due to their sin, but now the children Cain and Abel, apparently at least mostly grown, have a conflict. Notice that they both seem to know how to make sacrifices and offerings to God. They have been taught. Yet somehow Cain’s offering is not pleasing to God. We do not know why. We are simply told that it is not pleasing.
Possibly moved by jealousy, Cain is angered and kills his brother. We would expect this to be the very end of Cain. Yet God’s judgment upon him and God’s confrontation of his actions is such that Cain is moved to ask for God’s protection. What happens? The same God who covers Adam and Eve’s sin in chapter 3 puts a mark on Cain by which nobody will harm him. Despite his evil, despite his violence, Cain is protected.
We notice that this protection of God is despite Cain’s evil. Cain did nothing to redeem himself. He merely begged for mercy. Is this unjust of God? Does it mean that God protects evildoers? In a certain way it is. God has deferred condemnation against the guilty Cain. He has interrupted his destruction of evil. He has interposed his grace.
May the Lord likewise see our evil and the way we justly deserve condemnation. As he sent his Son to bear our sin and be our savior, may we look to his forgiveness.
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