Friday, September 28, 2012

Threads of Mercy

One thing that our new bible study (Chronological Bible Teaching) is teaching us is to start recognizing certain threads that run throughout the bible.  We are only through the chapter about Cain and Abel and I guess the thread that has been jumping out at me is the mercy of God.

Right before the fall, we see Eve engaging in a conversation with one of the created beings.  Hebrew calls the animal "nachash" which means snake.  The snake is described as "arum" which means cunning, subtle, and crafty.

Perhaps her first error was forgetting who God had created her to be.  She forgot the authority system God had in place.  She was supposed to rule over the animals and instead, she allowed an animal to rule over her.  She obeyed a creature instead of listening to her husband (who was probably the one to tell her the expectations of the Creator.)  Adam was in charge of her care (so much so that he was responsible for naming her) and yet, Eve never once went to him or God himself while the enemy was tempting her.  If she needed clarification on what was true, she certainly didn't seek it out.

The snake sought out the vulnerable and made subtle suggestions that caused her to doubt God's word.  He then stepped back while humanity spun out of control.  He wanted others to rebel just as he did.  He wanted others to stab at God's heart...just as he did.

Adam and Eve both partake of the fruit.

And then they hid.

God's mercy comes quickly into play.  He could have immediately cast them out of his presence.  He could have given them the silent treatment for the rest of their days.  Instead, he starts asking Adam (since he is the authority over his wife) questions that are meant to lead to truth and repentance.  The word "LORD" is used in these passages which references God's personal name, Yahweh, which means that God is still wanting relationship with this couple that has been created in his image.

By the way, when God asks "where are you", "you" is singular in the Hebrew.  God confronts Adam because he is holding him responsible for what has occurred.  Being the head of our home is not a job description I want! I will gladly submit!  :)

We see Adam and Eve run to hide, grabbing leaves to cover their now-known nakedness.

God is quick to tell them that leaves won't suffice.  Their sin has cost much more than that.  It will require something good, with lifeblood, that God created, to die.  I wonder what it did to God's heart to slay something that he had delighted in while creating.

His mercy towards mankind was great.  I found it interesting that what God covered them with was skins, which is "owr" in Hebrew.  It basically means the hide or the leather.  God clothed Adam and Eve in hide so they would no longer have to hide.  Later on in God's story, Jesus clothed himself in human hide (that would also be slain) so that the hiding could be cancelled forever.

Next, we see God's mercy in casting them out of the garden.  I used to think that God was just being vengeful, but now, I can see the thread of mercy.  If he had allowed them to remain, and they had eaten of the tree of life, then they would have remained alive in their sinful state forever.

God knows how miserable and unbearable that would be.  His mercy cast them out.

We still see God's mercy at play.  He allows Adam and Eve to conceive, bringing hope to the the promise that there will be a "seed" to crush the head of Satan.  Cain and Abel enter the picture, but things don't get better.  I imagine that when Eve took that bite of fruit, she had no idea of the complete ramifications of her sin.

Most of us never do.

God had established the pattern of how he was to be approached.  It was to require the life of an animal.  Abel brought such a sacrifice.  Cain did not.

Instead of shunning Cain from his presence, God decides to give Cain a second chance.  He warns him.  He graciously convicts.  In his mercy, God tells Cain that if he will do well, he will be accepted. God was offering conviction, not condemnation.

It is as if God's heart is crying out to Cain, begging him to get it right the next time, because deep down, God really wants to have relationship with Cain.

But, the spirit of bitterness, anger, and jealousy consume Cain.  He is angry at God, but takes it out on his brother.  Sin masters him and the first murder has occurred.  Sin had its consequences and Cain was driven away from the presence of the LORD.

Cain, never repentant, but always looking out for self, cries out that someone will kill him if he leaves the area.  In His mercy, yet again, God decides to mark Cain so that no one will be allowed to murder him.

We see God's mercy in a different way back with Adam and Eve.  Abel, their "good" son had been taken away.  God intervened, allowed them to have Seth, which would be a new hope for the promise of a seed that would crush Satan.  Seth means "Substitute."  He was not only the substitute for Abel, but his line (from which Jesus would come) would be the means for the substitute for our sins, as well.

 His mercy is great and knows no bounds. 

Lord, give us eyes to see it!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is an awesome word about the mercy of God. Thanks for sharing! What a blessing for the girls who are going through this study with you.