September 20, 2023
Then Cain went out from the presence of the Lord, and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden. (Genesis 4:16)
The beginning pages of Genesis give us the operating principles upon which God and man were to function. God, in mercy, provided a garden with every possible goodness. He intended for man to enjoy this perfect environment but, most importantly, to enjoy God’s continual presence. God and man and wife would walk together.
But our First Parents, tempted by the great Deceiver, chose to disobey God, and the whole long human story of man’s sin and the evil that would ensue began.
LIKE FATHER, LIKE SON
True to his parent’s example, Adam and Eve’s son, Cain, commits grievous sin. He killed his brother and began to experience the consequences of sin. He was sentenced to a life without God’s favor upon his work. A life where he would become a “vagrant and a wanderer” with no real place to call home.
But the greatest judgment was that he would not see God’s face. He would be separated from God. And we read these bone-chilling words:
Then Cain went out from the presence of the Lord and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden. (Genesis 4:16)
Separation from a holy God is always the result of our sin. Tragically, most of the world lives and dies completely separated from the One-Who-Made-Them. “The wages of sin is death” Paul would later record (Romans 3:23). Our sin causes a separation between us and our God.
Christ came to solve this divide, and those who come to Him, trusting in His cross and resurrection work, experience the exception. The great gift of salvation is that God is with us. We are reconnected eternally. His Spirit is sent to live with us and in us.
But, although the true believer, saved by God’s grace, is never entirely separated from the moment of salvation on, each choice to sin yields a momentary loss. We lose the conscious awareness of His presence. Sin wrests control from God, and we begin to navigate life as though He did not exist. The results are always disastrous. This is why a life of continuous acknowledgment each time we wander away is critical. God is gracious to forgive and cleanse and restore, but we must come in humble repentance back to Him.
Cain’s was not a momentary turn. He “settled” in a land of separation. It is described as a land that was “east of Eden.” What could be more tragic? To have Eden near but not experienced. There could be no greater judgment upon us to settle into a life without God. But most are there, missing all that matters and lasts. All that brings joy and peace. All that helps our life fulfill its God-ordained destiny. They live east of Eden.
We read in the next chapters of Genesis of Enoch and Noah, who were men who “walked with God.” But Cain’s life is the tragic story of one who walked away from God and bore the results of a god-less life—a chilling illustration of a fatal choice.
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