Cain deflected responsibility and denied his action.
By itself, a match seems fairly innocuous. Unless you have experience with it, you don’t know what it is capable of. But there is fire inside of it. In the same manner, the effects of sin are hidden until a human action activates it.
In Genesis 4:9-13 we see Adam’s son, Cain, involved in the second recorded transgression in the Bible.
Genesis 4:9-13 (NIV)
9 Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?” “I don’t know,” he replied.“ Am I my brother’s keeper?”10 The LORD said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground.
11 Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened
its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. 12 When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth.” 13 Cain said to the LORD, “My punishment is more than I can bear.”
God proclaimed that Cain was now under a curse as a result of his action. However, it may be just as important to see what the text does not say rather than what it does say. The text does not say that God cursed him! It records a simple observation on the part of God. He was simply informing Cain of what he had brought upon himself and how his actions affected and impacted his life. God did not demand his life in exchange. In fact, He stated that if anyone else were to kill him, they would call upon themselves the even more dire consequences of sevenfold vengeance (Genesis 4:15). What we are left to wonder is what might have been if Cain had immediately accepted the responsibility for his action.
What if Cain were to have responded differently to God when asked about the whereabouts of Abel?
God obviously already knew what Cain had done, just as he already knows what you and I have done. He was offering Cain an opportunity to accept the responsibility of his action by admitting to it. Perhaps that admission of guilt and a corresponding regret or repentance may have led to a different outcome.
Cain instead deflected the responsibility and denied his action with a flippant response in, “I don’t know; am I my brother’s keeper?” (Genesis 4:9). Where do you suppose that Cain learned to deflect his responsibility? Perhaps he learned from his father, Adam. Caught in his lie, Cain sealed his fate and put himself onto the path of destruction. In essence, he created his own fate. In later chapters, we will see more of this pattern of human deflection or defensiveness as we examine other examples of destruction or cursing attributed to the hand of God.
What was the Act of God in Cain’s situation? Was it a direct action that God took against him for his sin, or was it an act that preserved Cain’s life in spite of the sin?
According to the text, God did not directly punish Cain. He merely informed him that he crossed a boundary that carried with it automatic consequences.
Our legal system puts laws in place to rule the conduct of people in our communities and country. Each law carries with it a consequence or penalty for the transgression of that law if it is broken. Who is responsible, and whose action is it when a penalty is prescribed for breaking a law? Is it the Legislature for making laws? Is it the president or governor in office at the time? Perhaps the judge that pronounced the sentence is responsible. Or could the responsibility be that of the person who broke the law? It is not the responsibility or fault of the car company if you drive into a wall because you were distracted while driving! Proverbs 26:2 describes a direct cause and effect relationship that is at work in our world.
Proverbs 26:2b (BBE)
. . . .so the curse does not come without a cause.
This verse points to a cause and effect relationship. You must strike the match to start the fire. In the same way the curse of sin will not come unless there is a cause.
Jesus will set you free if you let Him !
I hope my blog posts help you grow in your faith and Biblical understanding. I would like to invite you on a journey of further spiritual growth by purchasing the Ideolatry Book and Study Guide. Together, these tools will give you a strong Biblical foundation when life is difficult to understand.
May the Lord bless you and keep you... Dr. Rich Masek
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