“Cain said to the Lord, “My punishment is greater than I can bear. Behold, you have driven me today away from the ground, and from your face I shall be hidden. I shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.” Then the Lord said to him, “Not so! If anyone kills Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold.” And the Lord put a mark on Cain, lest any who found him should attack him.” (Genesis 4:13–15, ESV)
“My punishment is greater than I can bear.”How many times have we failed to think through decisions made in the heat of our emotions, only to mourn all that we’ve now lost? “Hindsight is always 20/20,” my mother used to say. How true that is with the ruined lives we have to live because of our impetuousness.
Reality slapped Cain in the face. Perhaps he didn’t think about God’s reaction. Maybe he didn’t think God would react. Living in God’s goodness and kindness, despite the removal from the Garden of Eden, may have lulled him into a false sense of security.
Now, dealing with the naked truth of God’s justice Cain, like so many of us, has come to realize too late that one bad choice can scar the rest of our lives. Attempting to downplay or cover-up the results of bad judgment won’t erase them, as anyone who is older and wiser will tell you.
In the midst of Cain’s despair, God responded. In His response, we see God’s character of mercy: “Not so! If anyone kills Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold.” And the Lord put a mark on Cain, lest any who found him should attack him.”
Not only was God watching Cain and promised vengeance upon anyone who attacked and killed him, God also was watching out for him. Placing a mark on Cain – we have no idea what that was, contrary to many fantasy theologies that exist today – people of His day knew that God was not only watching him, He was also God’s property.
Today, in the midst of your gloom, stop. Remember, no matter how bad it is, God is watching you and He is watching over you. Cry out to Jesus right now. Ask for His mercy. Ask Him to give you what you don’t deserve. He is filled with compassion and love. Do it now.
Turn-Around Tuesdays are designed to bring hope and help, insight and encouragement to those of us who are simply overwhelmed by the flood of problems life throws at us. No one is immune to trials and troubles, but God has a way of lifting us from life’s torrents. Each short thought is written by Dr. Matthew Lee Smith, Executive Director of Eagles In Leadership, and comes from his life-journey with the God who never leaves us or forsakes us. He welcomes your comments below.