June 17, 2018 – Wandering
Preacher: Rev. Scott Strickman
Sermon Series: Genesis 1-4
Genesis 4:1-16 (ESV)
1 Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, “I have gotten a man with the help of the Lord.” 2 And again, she bore his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain a worker of the ground. 3 In the course of time Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground, 4 and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering, 5 but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell. 6 The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? 7 If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it.”
8 Cain spoke to Abel his brother. And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him. 9 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” He said, “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?” 10 And the Lord said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground. 11 And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. 12 When you work the ground, it shall no longer yield to you its strength. You shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth.” 13 Cain said to the Lord, “My punishment is greater than I can bear. 14 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.” 15 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. 16 Then Cain went away from the presence of the Lord and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden.
Turning from God leads to disintegration, creating tensions and problems in how we relate to our world.
I) Disintegrated Accountability
- v9 “he [Cain] said ‘I do not know’”
- v10 God: “the voice of your brother’s blood…”
II) Disintegrated Responsibility
- v9 “am I my brother’s keeper?”
- v13 “my punishment…” v14 “whoever finds me will kill me”
III) Disintegrated Belonging
- v12 “you shall be a fugitive and a wanderer”; v16 “settled in the land of Nod”
- v15 “the Lord said to him, ‘not so!’”
- Hebrews 12:24 “you have come… to Jesus… the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel”
Questions for Reflection
- Does crime pay? Is it more advantageous in our world to do right? Wrong?
- Does concern for consequences deter you from doing wrong? What kinds of consequences are particularly effective in deterring you? Under what circumstances do consequences have little influence on your actions?
- What are some of the tools used by those who are corrupt and unjust? What of these methods would an upright person avoid? When do you adapt/use these corrupt methods?
- When do you fear the truth? In what kinds of situations do you fight against something that is true?
- What are some areas where you have responsibility but you redirect to others to make it appear you don’t? What are subtle ways you shift blame to others?
- What keeps you from making connections (with people, places, etc) and feeling rooted? What of these are moral issues (lack of connection as a consequence of some wrong doing or attitude), and what of these are not?
- Are there areas of your life where you are keeping God out that may be connected to feelings you have that God is not just or merciful? Which comes first (keeping God out or feeling God is not just/merciful)?
- How do you think about the blood of Jesus? The New Testament speaks much of this, but it is a strange idea for modern readers. What are some of the ways we are to be helped, changed and encouraged by the blood Jesus shed?
Prayer of Confession
Our Lord and God, just and merciful, abounding in steadfast love, we confess our twisted thinking, actions and attitudes, and acknowledge the harm they do. We confess how we make a ruin of our own lives, continuing to take ethical liberties, even knowing that the effects on ourselves will not be good. We confess we are more concerned for the consequences to ourselves for our wrong doings than we are for the impact of our wrong doing on others. We confess that we are more ready to accuse you than to recognize the wrong we have done against you. Lord, keep us from making a ruin of our lives, and from bringing ruin with us as we go into the world. By your grace bind our lives together with your Spirit, heal us and forgive us. Amen.