Home Biblical History Cain and a Merciful God

Cain and a Merciful God

by Esther Griggs

Having previously examined Abel, we now turn our attention to Cain, Adam and Eve’s firstborn. In Genesis 4, we learn of Cain and a merciful God. We read about his relationship with God, the choice he made and its consequences, and finally, God’s mercy.

Relationship With God

Cain had a relationship with God. He knew from his name that his birth came with help from the Lord. There was also the knowledge that God required an offering. Since he was a tiller of the ground, would it not make sense to offer from the fruit of the ground? Nevertheless, God did not respect his offering. When God saw Cain was troubled by it, He reasoned with him, asking why he was angry and despondent. Then He counselled him. The Living Bible writes it this way, “It can be bright with joy if you will do what you should! But if you refuse to obey, watch out. Sin is waiting to attack you, longing to destroy you. But you can conquer it!”

Cain’s Choice and its Consequences

Cain made a choice and received the consequences. He refused to listen to God and gave into the sin which made him a murderer. When God confronted him, he became defensive. Now the earth from which Abel’s blood cried out, would no longer respond to him and he would be a fugitive on the earth.

God’s Mercy

But we also read of God’s mercy. Cain cried out to God. “It is more than I can bear!” He acknowledged his being driven from the ground, but also realized he would be hidden from the face of God. Now vulnerable, he feared for his own life. God in His mercy, marked Cain and promised a stricter vengeance on anyone who might kill him. “Then Cain went out from the presence of the LORD and dwelt in the land of Nod (wandering) on the east of Eden.” One can’t but feel the profound sadness here, not only for Cain but in the heart of God. Thanks be to our merciful God, who through Jesus says, “He who comes to Me, I will not cast out.”

We have considered Cain’s relationship with God, his choice and its consequences and finally God’s mercy.

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