Genesis 4:1–17, Ezekiel 33:10–20
Cain is often portrayed as the human embodiment of evil. In popular media, he’s the ultimate bad guy. Which makes sense. Cain invented murder. Yet, Cain lived. Later, the rules would be set, he would be dead according to the penalties, but for this time and age, he lived. What about the “mark” of Cain? Some people have drawn from Revelation what that symbol could look like. It must have been pretty significant for it to be instantly recognized. We focus on a lot of that, but perhaps we ought to focus on something slightly different. God’s grace.
Where is God’s grace in this? Cain’s protection. Cain being able to, in some way, move on with his life. Cain was able to have a family, and even began to be settled. This not the story of a man on the run, but the story of a man who did a horrible wrong, but was yet a recipient of God’s grace and protection.
We don’t know the story behind the story. Was Cain’s relationship with God reconciled? The Bible doesn’t say. John, Jude, and the author of Hebrews don’t have much confidence in Cain’s rehabilitation, but nothing is impossible with God.
The reason this matters is summed up in the words of Ezekiel. God doesn’t want anyone to not be reconciled. Bad men become righteous. Just like Adam and Eve, however, good can become bad because of a choice made. We forever are stuck with the consequences of the choices we have made. However, those choices do no prevent us from approaching God.
1) What are some of the worst choices you ever made? How did they affect your relationships with others and your relationship with God?
2) Do you think it is possible (regardless of likely) that God showed Cain grace? Why or why note?
3) Thinking of Ezekiel’s words, what is the flip (or possibly negative) side of God’s grace?