Read: Genesis 4:10-12
Some of my favorite books are in the Harry Potter series. The fifth book of the series introduces a new character, Professor Umbridge. She is a rigid woman who came to Hogwarts with one goal in mind, to stop all talk of evil and learning. She is a foil to the character Professor McGonagall, another rigid eductor. But McGonagall is there solely for the betterment of the students.
Harry ends up getting in trouble with Professor Umbridge and is given detention. When he arrives at detention, he is given an abhorrent punishment, being physically tortured for speaking out of turn. Despite this, he continues to speak out and is eventually sent to Professor McGonagall’s office with a note from Umbridge.
Instead of yelling at Harry and giving him detention, she pulls off one of the biggest plot twists. She offers him a biscuit and kindly offers her help to him through this situation. She should have, at the very least, scolded him for his bad behavior, but she doesn’t. Instead, she shows mercy on Harry and allows him to continue, knowing that she has his back.
This is an example of mercy, and mercy is what the Lord showed Cain in today’s passage. Cain had just murdered his brother and showed absolutely no remorse for his sinful act. Even when God gave him the chance to respond with repentance, Cain refused to do so. So, the Lord did what all good parents must, He punished Cain for his behavior.
God reminded Cain of what he had done by soiling the ground with his brother’s blood. God did not allow Cain to forget the heinous sin that had been committed. He also reminded Cain that He could see the extent of his sin. Aren’t we just as blind sometimes? We commit sins and think nothing of it, hoping we will be able to forget what we have done. And we hope no one will actually notice.
The Lord then lays out for Cain the punishment he would have to endure. Cain would no longer be able to cultivate the ground. He would lose his profession and his ability to care for himself and his family. That which the Lord had already cursed became even more cursed for Cain. This was the second time sin affected the interaction humanity has with nature. God was showing us and Cain that sin not only distances us from Himself, but also from His creation.
Cain was condemned to roam the earth, becoming a “fugitive and a wanderer” (v. 12). It is believed that he and his offspring took up the mantle of shepherding (v. 20). The Lord gave Cain the same profession as his brother, to remind him of what he had done.
Cain deserved death for his actions against his brother, but the Lord spared him of that punishment. Even though Cain was non-repentant and undeserving of any grace, God gave it to him anyway. We will see that this was what broke Cain causing him to finally repent.
When we are His children, God gives us the punishment we need, not always the punishment we deserve. He is merciful in His discipline in order to bring us into rightness with Him. Pray today that the Lord will reveal to you the discipline you needwhen you sin and thank Him that He desires to bring you back to Himself.