Connecting to the Larger Story
After the sin of Adam and Eve and their expulsion from Eden, things quickly go from bad to worse. Their first two sons - in a rivalry over who has pleased God more - get caught up in the first murder. More murder follows and the world falls into violence and evil. Eventually God plans a fresh start with Noah and his family.
Important to Note
1) When Cain is upset over Abel's offering being more pleasing, God speaks to Cain to encourage him to turn away from evil and do well. Sin's desire is for us, and we must master it because it is lurking at the door. While we do not know exactly why Cain's offering is not as well-received as his brother's, what we do see here is God trying to pull Cain back before it is too late.
2) Like his parents before him, Cain must face the consequences of his action and wander the earth. Yet God shows him grace as well, marking him so that no one else will kill him in retaliation. Furthermore, God provides a third son, Seth, for Adam and Eve. He becomes the father of Enosh (meaning "humanity"). God has provided a fresh start in the midst of our mistakes. Again with the flood, Noah's ark, and the promise of the rainbow in the sky, God provides a fresh start in the midst of sin. God punishes sin but also always makes provision for a new way forward. The story of early Genesis is the cycles of sin, punishment, and provision.
Thoughts for Reflection
1) When have you felt God pulling you back from the brink when you wanted to do something you knew to be wrong? Why is sin so powerful in pulling us away from what we know we should do?
2) Have you ever experienced God giving you a fresh start in the midst of your mistakes?