Thread Bible Podcast with Chuck Quinley

Thread Season 4 Episode 18: The Firstborn Human Struggles Against the Beast of Sin

August 04, 2020 Thread with Dr. Chuck Quinley Season 4 Episode 18
Thread Bible Podcast with Chuck Quinley
Thread Season 4 Episode 18: The Firstborn Human Struggles Against the Beast of Sin
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Thread Bible Podcast with Chuck Quinley
Thread Season 4 Episode 18: The Firstborn Human Struggles Against the Beast of Sin
Aug 04, 2020 Season 4 Episode 18
Thread with Dr. Chuck Quinley

In this episode of Thread we see Cain, the first-born human, wrestle with his own capacity to hate his brother. The Creator speaks to him about the importance of ruling over our intentions because they drive our actions. Learn more in this important episode of Thread.


Music by Ryan Andersen and Ross Schmidt

Ryan Andersen is licensed under an Attribution-NonCommercial License.

Thread Bible Podcast is produced and edited by Ross Schmidt and is brought to you by Medialightasia.com a ministry of Emerge Missions, Inc., all rights reserved.

Support the show (https://www.paypal.com/donate?hosted_button_id=RL4F28KKJPKWQ)

Show Notes Transcript

In this episode of Thread we see Cain, the first-born human, wrestle with his own capacity to hate his brother. The Creator speaks to him about the importance of ruling over our intentions because they drive our actions. Learn more in this important episode of Thread.


Music by Ryan Andersen and Ross Schmidt

Ryan Andersen is licensed under an Attribution-NonCommercial License.

Thread Bible Podcast is produced and edited by Ross Schmidt and is brought to you by Medialightasia.com a ministry of Emerge Missions, Inc., all rights reserved.

Support the show (https://www.paypal.com/donate?hosted_button_id=RL4F28KKJPKWQ)

Which is stronger, evil or good? Hi, I'm Chuck Quinley from the Thread Bible Podcast. In today's episode, we watch the firstborn human, Cain, as he wrestles with his own capacity to hate his brother. Do humans even have the ability to resist deep temptation? Let's hear what the Creator says about it, in this episode of the Thread Bible Podcast. Stay tuned.

Welcome to Thread, God's word tying together all the pieces of your life through verse by verse study of the Bible. In Season Four, we're exploring the bedrock of the entire Bible, Genesis 1-12. Season Four of the Thread Bible Podcast is brought to you by MediaLightOnline.com, and right now MediaLight is offering its most popular online course for free. Learn to use the power of social media to speak truth to your generation. It's available right now at MediaLightOnline.com. And I also want to remind you to visit the MediaLight Network page on Facebook, where you'll find our weekly video podcast. In each episode of that podcast, you'll get encouraging training, an interview with an innovator in missions, and a question and response time with yours truly. You can also find the show on MediaLight Network's channel on YouTube, and as an audio podcast on Spotify, and other podcast platforms.

Well, today we're in Genesis chapter 4, verses 1-17. It's the story of the firstborn human. His name was Cain. In our last story, Eve initiated mankind's failure at the tree in the garden, and afterward, Adam gave her a name that was full of hope. In Hebrew, her name is really not Eve -- that's a translation from Latin into early English -- Adam called her "Hava", which is very close to "hiva", another word for snake. So as Adam thought about what her name should be after they were banished from the garden, he seems to have started with a concept remembering the biggest day in both of their lives, their failure after being seduced by the serpent, the "hiva". With little adjustment, "hiva" becomes "hava" which means one who brings, or nurtures, or causes life. In English, we could say life-bringer, or life-giver. It's not just about human life either, it's about life in general. So Hava will become the caretaker and nurturer of all life, and she has within her the amazing God-given power to actually create human life. Adam saw this name and her new role as her chance to live a better story and save herself. You know, naming something or naming someone was thought in those days to call forth that name into being, so there may be, in Adam, a calling forth of Eve's redemption. Like saying, "You fell before the snake, but in the end you will be good for the earth. You'll bring life, not death. I'm going to call you 'life-bringer'. And that will rise now inside of you." And I think this is what Paul is referring to when he writes in 1 Timothy 2:15, that woman will be saved through creating and nurturing children. He's not saying that making babies is a way to get right with God. I mean, Paul's own teaching is clearly against anything connected to human works bringing you righteousness with God. Paul seems to be referring to this passage, and reminding all women of their connection to Eve the life-giver. Reminding them that creating another living being and giving yourself to raising that new person to independence is the best thing any woman can ever do. Every culture honors mothers above all others for this very reason, and billions of women will testify that being a mother is the most meaningful thing they've ever done in life, whatever their other accomplishments.

So our story begins today with Adam and, who we call, Eve, life-giver. Now before this story, no humans had ever been created from a womb. God had created all of them directly. And this is Hava's first experience as a life-giver. We read now verse 1. "Now Adam knew his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain saying, 'I gained a man with YHWH. (or I gained a man like YHWH)'." Now there's a lot going on in this little verse that we might not notice. At first glance, the first word we want to key on is the word "knew". It's the Hebrew euphemism for sexual relations. "Now Adam 'knew' his wife", but it's the same word that the serpent used in tempting Eve. He said, "God knows if you eat this fruit, you will 'know', you will know tov and rah, you will experience tov and rah, you will participate." So in our story today, Adam experienced Hava and she got pregnant. That's the Hebrew way of understanding sexual intercourse, it's kind of beautiful in itself, to know a person. Now second thing is interesting is when Eve has her baby, she, not Adam, names her offspring. And she picks a name... it can be translated, "got". Kind of a funny name. She picks a name for her baby, it is "Got". "I laid hold on something, I got something", or "gained", it can be translated "gained", which would mean "I now have even more than before." Or you could even translate this word possibly as "made", as in "I myself created". So depending on how you take the name that she's chosen for her firstborn, we're gonna go with "gained", because in English, it happily rhymes with Cain. And that's the way it works in Hebrew also, because it's a wordplay. And it's part of her cry, as the maker of a little man. She shouts in triumph, " I gained", or "I got", or "I created a human". And then she says this, the Hebrew word is "et", "I created a human 'et' YHWH". She says the name of the Creator God.

So let's talk about that. It's a preposition. Let's talk about it. It's fairly common. It's 280 times in the Old Testament, and throughout the Hebrew Bible, "et" is translated routinely as "with", sometimes as "through", but strangely, modern Bible translators tend to translate "et" with this phrase, "through the help of...". So Eve would be saying, "I got a man", or "I created a man through the help of the Lord." The only problem with that is, no where in the whole Old Testament in 280 other times is the preposition "et", does it have any sense of cooperation or mutual assistance of another person. That isn't usually what it means. We're not going to translate it "through the help of", we're going to use the more normal way to translate that word, "with". "I created a man with the Lord." Now this can be taken one of two ways. One of them is positive, and the other one is negative. With positive, it can be taken to show the similarity, or even the imitation between Eve and YHWH's creative ability. You know, for example, if I said, "With everyone else in this town, I have to make a living." "With." "With everyone else in this town, I have to make a living." I'm putting myself in the same place as all the other people. So if this is how Eve meant it, she's saying -- it could be positive -- "Along with YHWH, I'm the maker of a man." Well, that could either mean "I'm imitating YHWH and, like, I'm trying to be the image of God. So I am imitating. I do what God does in imitation of YHWH". Or this could be -- and a lot of commentators point this out -- it could actually be a little bit competitive. That as she gives birth successfully, she cries out this sentence which could show, like, a vindication of the choice she made at the tree. In this case, she would be saying something like, "I wasn't all wrong in deciding to try and become like Elohim. Look, now I've also created a human just like YHWH." Now, which meaning did she intend? Well, there's nothing definitive. And we have to hold both of these possibilities in hand loosely. Either she's saying, "I'm just like YHWH. I make a man, I made a man, because I'm imitating him and I want to be like him." Or she means "See, I can also make a man." you know, "I've reached up, I've reached out, I have chosen to emancipate myself and try to be like Elohim. And now look, I've already created my own version of a human." The only thing that we might would see as a vote in favor of her feeling proud and competitive, is a later change in how she talks after this first child that she is, you know, justifiably proud of grows into a total heartbreaking disaster. When she has her third child, the words she says at that child's birth are quite humble. So she is she's pumped up either way, she's excited. This is an exuberant cry from someone who just gave birth, the first time it's ever been done by a human. And she connects her ability to do this with YHWH either way. So she calls this first child "Got" or "Gained", or... those are probably the best: "Gained". She makes a second, she gets pregnant a second time. And her second son she names "Breath", or "habel", we say Abel, and the human community commences.

Now these two children, like most children in a family, they take different paths in life. And Habel becomes a herder of sheep, and he's fascinated by animal life. And he's outside in the world as a caregiver, and a nurturer of life, and the life he nurtures is animal life, and Cain becomes a farmer. And at this point in the story, Adam and Eve kind of move off the stage. And we hear very little from them again, because the focus turns to the firstborn human Cain. And we're going to watch Cain now as he battles his inner demons. He has to fight an invisible power that God will tell him is called sin, and this power wants to lead him on to some very dark paths. Now, Cain is the every man. when I say that, I mean, Cain is like the rest of us. He's one of us. So he's the first naturally born human. And in many, many ways, Cain has the characteristics that you would see in humans in every generation. Now, since mankind had arisen from the dirt, it's appropriate that he is the first man, born would be a man of the earth, and he has a close relationship with the soil. He seems to really love the soil, and he's connected to it, and it brings its strength when Cain does work, the earth yields. It's best for him, and he prospers in his farming work along with his brother. And then verse 3, the story begins. We'll be right back.

Now, I don't know if these two men were teenagers, I don't know, we have no idea what their age was. We usually see this story as them as adults, but I don't know. But as the story unfolds, somebody gets the idea, and Cain is mentioned first, so I'm gonna say it perhaps came with him, an idea to bring an offering to YHWH, with whom, thankfully, they all seem to continue to have fellowship. I mean, despite being exiled from the garden, they are not exiled from his face. And he continues to communicate with them. They talk to him, they have time of fellowship together. And the idea comes into someone's mind, perhaps Cain, that they should have a big thanksgiving. And I don't know, maybe this was a family tradition. After leaving the garden, maybe this is something they learned from their parents, I don't know. We're not told these things. But thank God, YHWH is Lord of the whole earth, and he follows them in his humility. He follows them out of the garden into their life, outside of his utopian garden palace, and outside of his governmental headquarters, and he goes to where they are, and he deals with them there. Now in our -- two lessons ago, the Creator God had told Eve after her sin, that following the serpent would mean she would have an increase in her sorrow as she bore and raised children. And chapter 4's story of Cain is an illustration of just how great that sorrow can be, because as often happens with siblings, there is a jealousy, at least from Cain, and there is, in his mind, and between them, a competition that's going on. So the scripture says in verse 3, "Cain brought, (and it simply says), an offering to the Lord of his fruits and vegetables, and Habel brought the firstlings..." now here, it gets a little more, you know, it's the only hint we have, at what starts the drama between them. It is the, you know, it's the extra level of heart's desire that you see in Abel. Instead of just bringing an offering -- and that's what it says Cain did -- "brought an offering". And you get a sense of sort of bare minimum. Abel brought the firstlings of his sheep, the fat pieces, and when they made their offering to YHWH -- and how..? There are so many unanswered questions in the Cain story. I mean, I'll go ahead and give you a few that came to my mind, and they've come to the mind of people from the day the book was written, and that is: where did they even get the idea to sacrifice? And how did they know that Cain's sacrifice was not acceptable to God? And where did Cain get a wife anyway? And where would all the other people have come from that he was afraid of? And what was the sign that God gave to protect him later? There's just, there's all kinds of questions! And you could do that many questions again.

Bible stories are notoriously light on background, but what we do know in the Cain story is actually more than enough to make the point. It's kind of like in the creation, chapter 1, the writer has a point he wants to make, and he is giving us plenty of information upon which to make his point. So he wants us to wrestle with something. And there's a brand new concept in this passage, and it is the concept of intent. Intent. It's something that has never been brought up before. So when Cain makes his offering, and Abel makes his offering, in some way YHWH shows -- and it surprises Cain -- and YHWH shows that he is not pleased with Cain's offering, but he is pleased very much so with Abel's offering, that the Lord it says, verse 4, "looked with favor upon Abel and his offering." And the Hebrew says in verse 4, it doesn't say Cain burned greatly, it says "it burned Cain greatly." It burned Cain greatly. His face fell.

I live in Asia, and Asia is a face society, and it's so deep. It's just a sense of who I am and how I stand in the world and, that rises and falls based on the perception of others about me. And here Cain is already aware of that, and he's feeling it. But it burns him, he feels a fire, he doesn't feel -- he's not disappointed, he's not repentant. He's not self questioning, like, "why didn't I do more?" He's only mad. He has an immediate burning, and this burning is equated with anger, and his face falls. And that's a way, in Eastern culture, you are out of fellowship, you are out of grace, you are out of favor. God didn't make his face fall, but for Cain, his face fell when he was not favored. And immediately YHWH does what he seems to do best. And that is ask us questions. He began, in his relationship with Adam and Eve, and as soon as they had failed him, he is asking -- he's not addressing them -- he's asking them questions. And the same thing happens here. He has a relationship with Cain. He is -- remember that the Bible sees humans as moral infants, and God is working to bring us to maturity so we can have true wisdom. And we can see life accurately. And we have the inner resources that we need to stand with him and be his image in the world. And so YHWH asks Cain a question. He says, "Why? Why does it burn you?" is literally what he says. "Why does it burn you? Why does your brother's prosperity, your brother's success, burn you?" You know, "Why aren't you looking at this differently? Why do you think the way you think? he saying. And so that question doesn't seem to, doesn't seem to go in. But then he adds another sentence. And this is where this story, I think, intends to take us.

Verse 7, "If you mean well" -- and that in the original language, it's gonna say, "If you intend tov", remember all that we said about tov. It's positive, it's building up, it's constructive, it is good. It is right, you know, and God wants to talk to him, not just -- with Adam and Eve he talked to them about doing, you know, it's what you do, don't touch that, don't eat that, do this work, don't do that, you know, God was speaking to them at that level -- with Cain, because Eve and Adam have fundamentally changed the nature of what it is to be a human on this planet. And now, Cain is the first experiment in this. And he is having to wrestle with something that is not external to him, he does not need a serpent to come into his life and try to lead him to do something wrong. His own heart is leading him to do something wrong, he is burning. And it's inside of him and YHWH wants to talk to him, not yet about his doing. He wants to talk to him about a new thing. And that is the idea of intention. That, you know, why you do a thing is as important to God as what you do. And so he's there with Cain, and maybe this is an indication of what caused Cain's offering to not be approved. Because there was something of intent that is wrong with Cain, there's something in his intentions of his heart. He's not intending tov, he does not have his heart set on the anticipation and the will and the initiative to produce tov in other people in the world, you know. Because you have to tie, you know, tov building up. Goodness. It has to have a target, and so the question is, and God says, the second question, "if you intend tov, will your face be lifted up? and that's a that's a symbol of being restored, you know, if someone's got their head down, and they're they're defeated and then someone in authority, someone who gets to name them comes in their life, and you know, the whole idea that "the Lord is the lifter of my head" and that he "lifts up my face" and says "Don't look down, look up", you know "You're in. You're one of us. Your restored.", you know, "You're restored in your sense of self." "If you intend tov, will not your face be lifted?" and now it goes to the negative. "If you do not intend tov,( or the opposite way to say it would be, "if you intend rah"), if it is your intention to do raw, -- (and he's speaking of Abel. Tov toward Abel, or rah toward Abel) -- if you do not mean to do well... (In other words, there's a negative force, that if you do not intend to do tov, if you don't, if you don't wake up wanting to be a minister in the world, you're going to be selfish. If you don't try to be the peacemaker, you're going to be the opposite of that. If you don't want to love, you're going to either give indifference or all the negative emotions, you have to push that positive intention to be and do tov. If you don't push on that, if you don't energize that and throw yourself behind it, then something else has automatically, you know, this is a binary decision. It's the either one, or it's the other one. And he says) -- If you do not mean tov, at the door couches sin." "Kata". "At the door couches sin", what's he doing? He's doing two things. He is painting sin as a beast.

Now, let's go back a little bit and talk about the beast. The beginning of creation story is, YHWH creates all the animals, and he creates the beasts. And we know from Job and other places, he creates, and from the Genesis 1 story, he creates the deep. Out of the deep he creates them, even the, like, the sea monsters, and these things belong to Him. And so he has created these beasts, but now he turns to the human and he says "You are lord of these beasts. You take authority over these beasts, they have a willfulness about them. They're not gonna want you to take authority, you must rule them." And he tells Adam and Eve that. Well, what's the first thing that happens? One of the beasts, and that's how the serpent, the "nakash" is described is he's a beast. He's one of the beasts that the Lord had made. And so now this beast turns on them, and they do not rule him. They could have ruled him, on the tree in the garden they could have ruled the beast, but they do not. And the beast incites Eve to sin. Well, now, there is no outside beast. There is an inside beast, and God tells Cain, "You must rule this beast, you have the beast in you." Now, you know, we could keep going. You could jump to the very end of the Bible, and the last, say, five chapters. It is the culmination of the story about the beast versus the children of Adam and Eve. And so it's this, it's how the Bible begins is with humans warring against the beast, and end of the book in Revelation is humans warring against the beast, and humans defeat the beast because the seed of the woman that was promised at the failure in the garden, the seed of the woman rises up to crush the head of the beast. He is the perfect human, and Daniel talks about him in Daniel 7 also. And so this beautiful story -- but it's humans versus the beast. And so that is the great battle now that Cain has to give himself to.

Now here's something that's kind of funny too about modern translations. They have taken the word, we don't use this word anymore: "couch". And so a lot of modern translations pick a word that's not even related to it, but it sounds like it in English, but they're not even related, and it's "crouch". well "crouch" is... there's a word for "crouch", And it isn't in this, it isn't in the text. You know, to crouch is, there's an animal, it's on the ground, and it's in a, you know, pounce position, and it is ready to do war. That isn't what God says. He said he's "couching". Okay, we have a piece of furniture called a couch. And a couch is, I mean, nobody looks dangerous on a couch, because to couch, It's kind of like, again, I live in the developing world, and you can go into the market, and there'll be dogs in the market. And sometimes these dogs, nobody wants the dog in the market, but the dog is smart, and he's looking around. He can see there's lots of opportunity here, things happen in the market. But what the dog needs to do, or the cat, is to insinuate themselves into the market, they need to blend in, they need to couch. So they just find them a place not where people are walking, little bit off to that edge. Maybe somebody sees them, but nobody even notices them. They're sort of sleeping dogs, you know, and they're not in the way, and it's like, "don't even mind me". But they've got an eye open all the time. And they're watching the butcher carve the meat. They're watching the lady with cooked food as she's, you know, getting her her orders ready. And she's bundling them up for the people in the market that are walking up. And the idea is, this beast is, you're not even noticing this beast anymore. He's right there. It's like a story, one of my kids told me this story. You know, everybody likes to have weird pets now. And so this guy, and the story was told me as somebody that is known in our circle. So there's this guy, and he had this huge snake, like we had a python in our town in Thailand, and the snake was 100 kilos, that's 220 pounds. And I put this thing on my shoulders, and I held it, you know, and they, you know, they tell me, "Oh, yeah, we throw 'em a chicken every day." So, I mean, he was heavy, and he was bigger than me. Well, I had kids who told us a story about this guy that had a big snake like that. And he was always carrying it around, you know, the show how cool he was to all the girls, and, but his snake... and he would, you know, he let it out all the time. And his snake started changing its behavior, and it got on the bed with him. And it started laying on the bed with him like, like someone's going to take a nap with you. And it wasn't curled up, though. It was getting long on the bed. And so he thought, "this is strange behavior. I wonder if there's something wrong with my snake." And so he took his snake to a vet, and he described the behavior, and the guy looked at the animal the size of it, and he said, "Oh, your snake is measuring you to see if it can eat you yet." You know, are you too big for it stomach, or can it handle you. That is, like, the perfect illustration of "couch", because you have this thing. You're so used to it, you know, you're just used to semi, not even semi, you're you're used to Netflix porn, and Amazon Prime porn, and it's there, it's right on the... it's like, "Well, it's pretty racy. You know, maybe I won't watch, but at least it's not porn", and it's just right there. You know, it's always hanging there. And all these other things too, attitudes to get in your mind. Anything, you know, little, just little habits, but it's the whole idea: sin is a beast. It is a tiger. It is a vicious animal, and YHWH says "sin is longing for you. Sin wants to devour you", verse 7, and he's speaking this to Cain with complete love. "Sin wants to devour you, you can't even leave your house. Sin is at the door, couched in the doorway. So you have to step across it to leave. And you are his longing." He is thinking about... it's the same word "longing" that he tells Eve toward her husband. "You're longing", but he speaks to Cain. He says, "it is you who must, you know, you can rule over him, and you must rule over him." Stay tuned.

Well does Cain rule? Verse 8, "And Cain said to Abel his brother... and then there's no words. And this is interesting too. Now some modern translation, you know, when I was a kid, I used to really think that what the world needed was more modernized Bibles. And so when they came out with the Living Bible and the Good News Bible, I just thought that, and then, you know, The Message, and all these, I just thought, "Oh, this is so cool." Well, now that I've lived my whole life, and I've watched so much bending and twisting words, and, you know, trying to -- everyone who's a salesman, from people with products, to politicians, to religious salesmen, and you know, the whole way that you just twist and spin -- you know, I don't care for... I just want an accurate translation. I want a clear translation. And so he doesn't, there aren't any words for this discussion that Cain has with his brother. It's a gap. It's an ellipsis. The same way that there wasn't any words between YHWH and the heavenly council when man had failed, and he just said, "Quick, get to the tree!" And in this case, it just says, "and Cain said to Abel his brother..." you know, why not fill it in? Well, two reasons. One is a sort of a modesty, an Asian modesty. It's like, too horrible to even say the words, can you imagine this is a brother, this has never been done, what he's about to do has never been done before, even to enter the heart or mind. It has never happened. And he has been meditating. And this is first degree, premeditated murder, and he makes some brotherly love talk to his little brother, and he takes him out in the field away from mom, away from dad. And then it says in verse 8, "Cain rose up against Abel his brother", and that whole word "rose up", you could translate it "rose up" or "fell upon", but the idea is -- see, like modern ways, we can kill people now just with a pulling of a trigger, we've been doing that for over 100 years. And now you can actually even sit in a nice air conditioned room, and a seat with a game console. And you can push a button and drop a drone bomb and kill people that way. But that isn't how humans have killed each other in history. You had to get close to the other human. And you had to, there was a moment where you have to rise up, because it's going to be human against human, and you have this one moment to fall upon them. And if you strike your first blow perfectly, you will win, you can kill the other human. If you do not, this will be a long contest. And you may not win. And so, you know, Cain is already becoming the father of murder, and he has thought about his move. And he gets his brother in some back turned position. And he strikes, he falls, the weight of Cain -- because you got to puff yourself up -- and Cain falls on Abel and he kills him. And YHWH said to Cain -- again, questions -- "Where is Abel your brother?" And Cain, man, how quickly! This is the first lie: "I do not know." Adam and Eve didn't lie. When God asked them, "what do you do?" They said. Cain now has learned to lie. "I do not know." And then he learns deflection. This is, it's getting even worse, because now this is subtle. "Am I my brother's keeper?" like, "How dare you? Why do you put it on me to be in charge of my brother? Am I my brother's keeper?" And YHWH said to him -- third question -- "What have you done? What have you done? The voice of your brother's blood cries out to me from the ground."

And here's a whole concept too. Blood crying out. And blood crying out, because the blood lies on the ground. The ground, you know, this whole planet starts with "God created the Earth", and out of the earth, He creates the animals and the humans. And so the blood and the earth are crying out to the Lord. And so you get this concept of the earth as God's witness and the earth as God's enforcer. And it's actually the next thing that YHWH says to Cain, he says, "The earth..", you know, with Adam, he never told Adam he was cursed. But with Cain he says, "You are cursed. You are cursed by way of the ground. You are cursed from the ground, and you are cursed by way of the ground.", like, that "the ground is the enforcer of the curse on you." "This ground gaped wide her mouth (because the earth is always seen as female), gaped wide her mouth to receive your brother's blood from your hand. If you work the ground, no longer shall she give her strength to you. A trembler and a wander shall you be upon the earth." And so God now holds court on Cain. He warned him, he told him what the battle was in his heart. He told him what he had to do to win this battle. And in the end, Cain has free will and the Lord allowed Cain to use his free will. People fault God all the time for not interfering with people's free will. "Why do God let people do this? Why does God let people do that?" in the end, almost everything that they accuse God of, a human did it, a human did. God made a choice, that he would create humans in his image, and he is free. And he gave humans free will. And he stands and allows humans to use that power. And that power can mean great good and wonderful things happen because we choose to do wonderfully, we choose to intend tov. And great evil can happen because we do not intend tov, or we actually intend rah. But that is the battle of the Earth, and that is the struggle of the human. And so the Lord announces the sentence on him, "the ground is crying out, you have this relationship with the earth that is now gone, the earth, like, doesn't want you anymore. She's not going to give you her strength." And he uses a phrase that, in verse 12, he uses a phrase that it rhymes, it's like Tohu va Bohu. This one is in English, "a trembler and a wanderer". And it's kind of hard to find modern ways to say it. The "trembler" part means, you will be weak and afraid and vulnerable. That's what it means. You will be weak, afraid and vulnerable. That's what is... that's why the trembling. And "wanderer" means, you will be an outsider to every community. Nobody will accept you in their community. So you will be weakened, vulnerable, and no one will let you in their group because you're too dangerous.

Now Cain's response, and this is one of the disappointing parts of this. With most translations of verse 13, Cain just seems totally about himself, even at this moment with his brother's blood on his hands. And he is still all about himself. And he's saying, "Oh, this is too hard. You're being too rough on me." It's like it doesn't sink into him. How deep this is, what he has done. But let's take maybe a little closer look at his words. He says -- I'm reading in English here -- it says, "My iniquity is too weighty to be forgiven." He does not use a word God used and God said, "sin is inside of you. Sin is inside of you, and it wants to eat you, devour you." He uses a little different word. His word is usually translated "iniquity", and it means, crookedness. But with all of these words for -- there's three words for sin, and with all the words for sin, there are, it's a mix of concept. On the one hand, it means, the thing they did, their sin. It also means the punishment of their sin. So, "my crookedness, my sin and my punishment", and the third thing it means is "my guilt", just the abiding sense that I am guilty of this, and, you know, that those feelings that, if you live long enough, you're gonna have a few things you've done in your life, that you just, you know, you're forgiven, but you still feel so awful. And if you could go back, you would undo it. So Cain says, "My crookedness, my punishment, my guilt, my sin, (because there's no line between those things in the Bible thinking) it's all too heavy." The Bible idea about sin is that sin is a burden. It's a heavy weight, and forgiveness is someone -- because you can't do it for yourself -- someone else gets underneath your heaviness, your guilt burden, and they lift it up off of you. That's what forgiveness is. And Cain says, either he's just really not repentant, or he's building a case with God that he's going to get killed. And his case is, "humans will not forgive my crookedness. This crookedness is so great, nobody will forgive it." And then he goes on,  Cain goes on to say back to God what he understands punishment is, is "I am exiled from the ground, I am banished from your presence. And I will be fearful and vulnerable and outside of all human society. No human is going to forgive my sin, this is too big. They're going to kill me." And verse 15, man, good old Creator God is merciful! You just think, you know, he's got Adam and Eve, he could just... at the tree, just wipe them out and start over, you know? And here's Cain, like, why would you stand up for Cain?! But everybody who is in their sin, who is battling with sin, and is overwhelmed by their sin, God has a mercy on people like that.

Somebody said joking, "our only hope of sin is that God has such low standard." And what they meant was, he's just so merciful to the worst people. I mean, he's willing to take on himself the burden of getting us forgiven, and getting us restored to fellowship with Him. That ought to be our burden, but he's merciful, and he's kind. And you may be Cain, you know, for all I know, you may have had a situation in front of you, and this thing rose up in your own heart, and you did not fight it, you gave in to it, you allowed it to rise up, and you rose up and did this thing. And you may think, this is too big to be forgiven. This is, this is too much on me, I can't possibly come back from this. But if I get any message of hope from Cain's story, it is that God is merciful and forgiving, because he looks at Cain, with his brother's blood on him, and he says, "You realize what you have done." And Cain says, "I am too crooked to ever be made right." And God says, "I will get involved in your life." And he puts some kind of sign on Cain, either it's a mark of some kind, or his word is the sign, which we aren't told. But it gives Cain some kind of a token that he is still going to be moving around with him even even though Cain has cut himself off in so many ways. And yet God said, you know, "I am not calling you righteous, but I am protecting you." And so we just, we just thank God for his mercy, that he can look at us in our absolute worst state, and still find a reason to show mercy to us as he showed mercy to Cain. And he will do the same for you. And he'll do the same for me.

So again, this story is not here for Cain, it's here for us. And this is a story to remind us all about intention, and the need to control our intention, because intention will become doing, and to understand also that human relationships are the core issue in our life. That you know, for Cain, it was within his own family is where he had his battle. And another thing we see is that we can deal with God after our moral failure, we can come back to God, the conversation is not over. There is a plan to get us back on track. So no matter what you've done, or how far you've ever fallen, don't give up. God has not given up on you. If he didn't give up on Adam and Eve, and he didn't give up on Cain, he has not given up on you, and on me. He is a merciful God, and he will help us to overcome the beast, so we don't become the beast.

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