Greetings in the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
But I say, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! (Matthew 5:22a)
Adam and Eve were the first man and woman, and God placed them in the Garden of Eden. With God, they had a truly blessed time in the paradise, while talking and listening to God as if children talk to their parents and listen to the loving voice of their parents. However, this beautiful relationship did not last. A temptation came. The serpent, which was the shrewdest of all the animals that God made, tempted Eve by injecting a doubt about God and His command. By the way, her heart was already craving for the forbidden fruit.
Knowing this, the serpent lied, and the lie was so delicious to Eve’s heart. She looked at again and again with her own eyes. The serpent’s lie was so much convincing, and it looked as if it would give what was promised by the serpent – “ You would be like God once you have the forbidden fruit.” Being creating in the image of God, the temptation becoming like God was truly seductive. Eve could not resist anymore. She stretched her hand and touch the forbidden fruit first. The touch acted like a magnet, which was so strong that she could not took off her hand at all. Her hand was glued to the forbidden fruit. Then like a big avalanche, she was quickly given into her desire. Without knowing, she had already bitten off one big bite of the forbidden fruit. Then she gave it to her husband, Adam. Adam ate it also without questioning. Both had an extreme of joy out of eating of the forbidden fruit, which was sweetest ever, but immediately the power of the sin fell on them. The joy quickly turned into a fear, and especially the fear of God. They hid from God. They were in the darkness falling from the light. They already became children of the darkness, who searched for darkness to be comfortable by hiding from the light.
God knew their pain and fear. With love, God came to Adam and Eve. However, Adam and Eve made excuses to God while defending their innocence. Adam and Eve did not confess their sins and did not get out of the darkness. They used to love God living in the light, but they were in fear of God hiding in the darkness. They were not able to be with God of the light anymore. They also knew they could no longer live in the paradise with God of the light.
Before sending them away, God, who dearly loved Adam and Eve, made clothing from animal skins for Adam and his wife to protect them from the harsh world into which they were about to get into. God also cursed the serpent, and foretold the battle between the offspring of the serpent (i.e., the Satan) and the offspring of the woman (i.e., Jesus Christ). That is, the offspring of the serpent would hurt the offspring of the woman by crushing Jesus Christ on cross. Although it looked like a victory for the offspring of the serpent, it turned out to be an ultimate victory of Jesus Christ. His ultimate sacrifice on the cross broke off all bondages of sins in us, and restored the beautifully blessed relationship with God to make us with Him again as His eternal and beloved children. Yes, God loved human beings created in His image, and He gave the precious Gospel to Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve were about to leave the paradise, and get into the harsh and difficult world, but God’s blessed plan for salvation for us had just begun.
After out of the Garden of Eden, the paradise, Adam and Eve toiled to get their living. Eve experienced a real physical pain of delivering baby. They were no longer in the paradise, but God had never left them. God poured out His blessings. Eve became pregnant, and gave birth to Cain the first child. Eve said, “With the God’s help, I have produced a man.” She extremely rejoiced although she had gone through the severe pain of delivering the baby. However, Eve soon forgot the pain after seeing her own precious and blessed baby in her arm. Her birth pain was great, but her joy of having Cain the newborn baby in her arm was even greater. This is a blessing from God. If not, would a woman ever deliver baby again? God’s unfathomable wisdom and love are greater than our pains and hardships on earth.
Later Eve gave birth to Cain’s brother and named him, Abel. Both grew up in the love Adam and Eve, as God loved Adam and Eve. The love starting from God went down to Cain and Abel through Adam and Eve. This is another way how God cared for His creation, especially His beloved human beings. Without love of parents, human babies cannot survive. Not like the babies of animals, human babies need years of parental love and care. We all pour our love and care to our babies as God lavishly pours His love on us. Loving our children as if they were a part of us is natural, and nothing special, but in reality, God put this love in our heart and mind so that we also lavishly give our love and care till our babies are fully grown up. We also continue praying and supporting them so that they prosper and multiply on earth as God commanded. Who can stand before God, His wisdom and love lavishly giving to us? Our God is love, and He is our omniscient, omnipotent, and Ever-Loving Father who madly loves us.
Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how unfathomable his ways! (Romans 11:33)
When Adam and Eve’s children grew up, Abel became a shepherd, while Cain cultivated the ground. Both worked hard, because their world was not the paradise where Adam and Eve used to live. In fact, Cain and Abel had never tasted the Garden of Eden. Every morning, they got up early, and they went out to cultivate the fields and tender the sheep. Throughout the day, they toiled under the sun. When the sun was setting, they came back home. Then on the following day, they again went out and worked under the hot sun. Everyday, they went out and worked. Then the first fall came. The fields were filled with crops for harvest, and the sheep were increased and fatten.
It was time for the harvest. Cain presented some of his crops as a gift to God. Abel also brought a gift—the best portions of the firstborn lambs from his flock. Both were standing before their offerings. Then God accepted Abel and his gift, but He did not accept Cain and his gift. Why did God only accepted Abel’s offering while rejecting that of Cain? The answer was recorded in the following Bible verse in the book of Hebrews:
It was by faith that Abel brought a more acceptable offering to God than Cain did. Abel’s offering gave evidence that he was a righteous man, and God showed his approval of his gifts. (Hebrews 11:4a)
Abel gave the best portions of the firstborn lambs from his flock, while Cain presented some of his crops. Who is, do you think, more faithful to God? Of course, Abel was. He gave the best of his flock, while Cain some of his crops. This is not about the value of the gifts to God, but the matter of their heart before God. The same applies to us. When we offer to God whether it is our time, our possession, or anything that we have, what is our heart and mind to God? Do we really offer to God with our true gratitude from the deep depth of our heart and mind while honoring and loving God for what He has done for us? Let’s give a quick thought. Does God really need anything from us? After all, God owns everything in this universe including all that we see and touch. Even we are His. After all, He created us also. Then if you were God, what would you really want from your special creation – human beings? Here is what God says:
“O my people, listen as I speak.
Here are my charges against you, O Israel:
I am God, your God!
I have no complaint about your sacrifices
or the burnt offerings you constantly offer.
But I do not need the bulls from your barns
or the goats from your pens.
For all the animals of the forest are mine,
and I own the cattle on a thousand hills.
I know every bird on the mountains,
and all the animals of the field are mine.
If I were hungry, I would not tell you,
for all the world is mine and everything in it.
Do I eat the meat of bulls?
Do I drink the blood of goats?
Make thankfulness your sacrifice to God,
and keep the vows you made to the Most High.
Then call on me when you are in trouble,
and I will rescue you,
and you will give me glory.” (Psalm 50:7-15)
Yes, God wants our heart filled with our true thanksgiving and gratitude to Him. He also wants to see us who diligently follow what was told, and keep His commands. Are there any parents who like to see children not thankful and not listening to them? However, even so, all parents love their children regardless how much they badly behave. Why? They are their loving children. Likewise, God loves us whether we behave good or bad before God. But we have to remember one important thing – God cannot leave us alone when we keep doing wrong. Why? God dearly loves us. What is a real love? Letting a child marching toward his or her own destruction? Or correcting the child? Of course, correcting the child is the true love. Yes, it is painful to both the child and the parents. The same applies. God corrects us, and He does out of His love for our own good.
Let’s back to Cain. Cain was very angry. Cain reacted with his own earthly nature. Although Cain did not know, Cain already had started his own journey of sin to a complete destruction. His face also showed his angry heart. He looked dejected. It is not surprising. Our face is a mirror of our heart. We might try to hide our anger, it is futile. Initially, some might be able to successfully hide his or her anger with a strong will power. But it is a matter of time. Soon the angry heart will be exposed one way or another. We are created in God’s image, and a sin can be hidden in our heart forever. It will show up on our face or in our lives. Then it leads to yet another bigger and more terrible sin.
Seeing crowds gathering, Jesus went up on the mountainside and sat down. He taught,
“You have heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.’ But I say, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! (Matthew 5:21-22a)
What did really happen to Cain? Did Cain repent his angry heart to God? God knew the danger of having anger in Cain’s heart. God came to Cain because God loved Cain, although God did not want to see the angry in Cain’s heart.
“Why are you so angry?” the LORD asked Cain. “Why do you look so dejected? You will be accepted if you do what is right. But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master.” (Genesis 4:6-7)
God clearly warned Cain about the danger of his anger, because it was toxic. If Cain let the anger continued harboring in his heart, the anger took over him while becoming a master of Cain. Then the result would be uncontrollable. How many times have we experienced this? Harboring anger in our heart is dangerous. Soon it becomes a deadly poison, which is enough to kill our heart and mind. And even it manifests as killing of another human being. A simple anger could be ended up killing another person, which we have to remember.
One day Cain suggested to his brother, “Let’s go out into the fields.” It was a trap, but Abel did not know the evil intent of Cain. Abel thought that it was another day that they would have a good time with his brother Cain as used to be. Abel joyfully went with Cain to the fields. And while they were in the field, Cain suddenly attacked his brother, Abel, and killed Abel who completely let guard down toward his brother. What a tragic event! In fact, it was the first murder in our human history. Cain did not murder a stranger, but his own brother with whom he grew up together, and played and laughed together. Is there anyone who want to kill his own brother with whom he grew up together, playing and laughing together? Nobody. However, the power of anger was so greater that Cain could not overcome but kill his own brother.
Cain raised his hand and killed his beloved brother Abel, whom he loved and lived together. At the time of the murder, Cain was not the normal Cain, but the Cain in anger, who even could kill his brother. At that time, Cain was slave of the anger in his heart. As Jesus taught the crowd, a simple anger in one’s heart made one a real murder. Although God told Cain, he could not hear because the anger was controlling over his heart, and he could not hear God’s warning message. Therefore, we should not harbor our anger in our heart, but we should confess immediately our anger to God before getting worse. This applies to not just anger, but all other kinds of sin in our heart.
And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, (Ephesians 4:26)
Although Cain committed the terrible sin of murdering his own brother, God, who loved Cain, did not abandon Cain. God gave another chance for Cain to directly see what he had done, and confess his sin just committed.
Afterward the LORD asked Cain, “Where is your brother? Where is Abel?” (Genesis 4:9a)
Did Cain confess his sin? Sadly, he did not.
“I don’t know,” Cain responded. “Am I my brother’s guardian?” (Genesis 4:9b)
He hid his sin before God, who exactly knew what Cain did. Our God is omniscient, who knows everything including the deep depth of our hearts. Even so, we often hide our sin before God. Although we know God is omniscient, we tend to hide our sin. We are of the world, and standing on His side is not easy. In some sense, it is impossible with our own might and will power because we are of the world as Adm and Eve sinned to God.
However, don’t be discouraged. It is possible for us to truly confess our sin to God while asking for His forgiveness through the power of the Holy Spirit. Then how to receive the Holy Spirit? Only is it possible if we receive Jesus Christ as our savior, accept the Holy Spirit, and let the Holy Spirit controls us. In Jesus Christ, we are new persons who enjoy the beautiful and blessed relationship with God, which Adam and Eve initially enjoyed. The blood of Jesus Christ cleans all our sins in our hearts, and our fear of God has been passed away. We are in the light again and enjoy God’s presence again as Adam and Eve did in the Garden of Eden.
This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! (2 Corinthians 5:17)
God loved Cain although he sinned and hid the sin. Let’s think about what should we do as a loving parent to a child who is constantly hiding his or her own sin? Of course, we cannot let our child alone. If so, we would let our child completely destroyed. We will intervene our child with our love. God did the same. God had to make Cain to experience the consequence of his sin. Then Cain could learn God’s love and His forgiveness and, most importantly, the power of repentance of his sin.
But the LORD said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground! Now you are cursed and banished from the ground, which has swallowed your brother’s blood. No longer will the ground yield good crops for you, no matter how hard you work! From now on you will be a homeless wanderer on the earth.” (Genesis 4:10-12)
The wage of killing of his own brother was death, but God’s love and mercy trumped. As a result, Cain got far less than what he supposedly would get. Again, God’s punishment is not to punishment itself, but to teach Cain with His love.
Even so, Cain cried out to God.
“My punishment is too great for me to bear! You have banished me from the land and from your presence; you have made me a homeless wanderer. Anyone who finds me will kill me!” (Genesis 4:13a-14)
God, who was full of love and mercy, replied
“No, for I will give a sevenfold punishment to anyone who kills you.” (Genesis 5:15b)
God promised His protection. Then God also put a mark on Cain to warn anyone who might try to kill him. So Cain left God’s presence.
Yes, God is love. Cain was the first murder in the human history by killing his own beloved brother. Yes, Cain should have been killed for his own sin. The wage of killing his own brother is death, but God showed his mercy on Cain. God even gave a protection on Cain.
When we sin against God, we want to hide from God, lie to God and avoid our God altogether because our God is the light, and we became the darkness. Even so, God who loves us, does not abandon us. God always finds us, and talks to us in His love. God wants for us to directly see our own sin and then confess our sin to God so that the broken relationship with God be restored and we enjoy the blessed relationship with God again. If we continue not confessing our sin, then God, out of His love, has to give us a consequence of our sin so that we can realize how terrible our sin truly is. Then we return to him while confessing our sins with our own mouth and heart. Yes, God is love. God is always waiting for us with his wide-open arms to embrace us. Here is the message from Our Loving God:
Remember what it says: “Today when you hear his voice, don’t harden your hearts as Israel did when they rebelled.” (Hebrews 3:15)
“Come now, let’s settle this,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool. (Isaiah 1;18)