Snapshots: Day 15
The Snapshot: “he drove man out.” Is that the end for us? Does God want to have nothing more to do with us? Why has He allowed us to live? But what is this that follows, he speaks to and warns Cain? He gives him advice how to avoid disaster? Cain ignores Him. Disaster! But He keeps on talking to Cain, He preserves his life, He protects his years ahead? But why? Why doesn’t He kill him? Can it be He wants Cain to learn, to change, to yet have hope? Does He want Cain to be an example for me? How does He view my failures? Does He want me to learn, to change, to yet have hope? Have I misjudged Him all these years? Do I need to think again? How can He not judge and condemn me? This is incredible! And now? Lord, help me be open to you to receive hope.
Further Consideration: A while ago I wrote a book called, ‘The Judgments of a Loving God’ and examined as many judgments of God that I could find throughout the Bible and, of course, it starts with this one of Adam and Eve being expelled from the Garden. The thing that struck me, that I had never seen before, was that although God put them out of the Garden that wasn’t the end of the possibilities of having a relationship with God, because soon after we find Cain and Abel both bringing offerings to God and God entering into conversation with Cain. And then, when you read the story, although Cain murders his brother, God doesn’t kill him – and that is amazing! Instead He sends him off to learn of life in the world as an exile, and yet still a protected life. It is as if the Lord makes sure his life goes on so it will provide opportunity for him to change.
Subsequent to that I wrote a series of studies on ‘Redemption’ and what struck me there was the fact that God is at work seeking to redeem or rescue each one of us. Moreover, it is not merely about the moment of our conversion but about the whole of the rest of our life as well. He is working to change us, just like He was working to change Cain. We’ll no doubt pick them up later in this series but a verse (or 3) that has really impacted me over the years is, “Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign Lord. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live?” (Ezek 18:23 and also 18:32 & 33:11)
We can get very ‘punishment-orientated’ but God is in the business of saving us from ourselves, from Satan and from Sin, and that means preserving us wherever possible so that we can be changed for the better. When God ‘drives out’ it is an act of discipline to change the circumstances to bring further change. I wonder how often He has ‘driven me out’ into a situation where I will learn better? Wow