Cain and Abel – If you thought Adam and Eve had issues, how do you make sense of Cain and Abel? Cain ends up killing Abel in an apparent fit of jealousy. God, that same hovering helpful God of Adam and Eve is right there on the scene. In fact, he was there long before Cain turned murderous.
The man Adam knew his wife Eve intimately. She became pregnant and gave birth to Cain, and said, “I have given life to a man with the Lord’s help.” 2 She gave birth a second time to Cain’s brother Abel. Abel cared for the flocks, and Cain farmed the fertile land. Genesis 4:1-2 CEB
Eve, aware that she has given birth WITH THE LORD’S HELP surely did not embitter her children toward God. In spite of the termination of her garden experience, Eve seems to have been able to hold onto the vision of an ever-present God who helps in times of trouble.
I’ve always studied chapter four with a particular emphasis on the conversation God had with Cain, but Dale honed in on another section of the passage:
13 Cain said to the Lord, “My punishment is more than I can bear. 14 Now that you’ve driven me away from the fertile land and I am hidden from your presence, I’m about to become a roving nomad on the earth, and anyone who finds me will kill me.”
15 The Lord said to him, “It won’t happen; anyone who kills Cain will be paid back seven times. The Lord put a sign on Cain so that no one who found him would assault him. 16 Cain left the Lord’s presence, and he settled down in the land of Nod, east of Eden. Genesis 4:13-16 CEB
Like his parental units before him, Cain was about to experience consequences for his actions. He freaked out. He blamed God (not a cool move but common one nonetheless). And in spite of Cain’s attitude toward God earlier in the text, he seems upset by the thought of losing touch with the presence of God. He believes that without God present with him, he will surely die. What does God do? Does he belittle and berate? No way. He helps Cain by reframing Cain’s fears with some much-needed facts. He protects him with a mark. Cain continues to live and even thrive.
What is the meaning of this? How can this be? Who is this God who hovers and protects even those who are angry, downcast, and dare to blame God for their problems? What’s your relationship with God like when you’re in trouble?
To be continued….