Saturday, November 03, 2007

A Brand of the Soul

Cain, a "brand of the soul."

In the Bible, God offered Cain a second chance for his soul. Here’s God’s unbelievably gracious plea for Cain to make a positive response to His warning:

“Then the Lord said to Cain … ‘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 master it.’ ”
(Genesis 4:7)

God was gentle here but frank with Cain without threatening him. I’m reminded of how Isaiah described this aspect of God’s character:

“ ‘Come now, let us reason together’ says the Lord. “Though your sins
are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as
crimson, they shall be like wool. If you are willing and obedient, you
will eat the best from the land; but if you resist and rebel, you will be
devoured by the sword.” (Isaiah 1:18)

Unfortunately, God’s appeal and warning failed to change Cain. He was already self-deceived and “concretely” made up in his mind to commit sin. Like the serpent, Cain was also smooth-tongued, saying to his brother, “Let’s go out to the field” (Gen. 4: 8). Distorted by poisonous emotions that his reason no longer functioned, Cain murdered his brother Abel.

When God asked about Abel, Cain lied and entered a “not guilty” plea. Saying “Am I my brother’s keeper?”, he deliberately attempted to bluff his way out of trouble. What a tragedy. Cain was certainly into self-idolatry. And pleasing himself became more important to him than honoring His Creator.

The consequences of sin were inescapable (vv. 11, 12). God convicted Cain of fratricide. And He sentenced him to be placed under a curse. Still, Cain expressed no remorse. He even complained about his penalty, appealing against the harshness of God’s sentence (v.13). Arrogant in his dialogue with God, Cain’s obvious concern was indeed only for himself.

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