As David embodied the model God wants followed when he reproves, corrects, disciplines or punishes us, Cain embodied what must be avoided. David admitted God’s justice; Cain bewailed God’s prejudice. He unconscionably killed Abel but instantly censured God’s sentence as MORE than he could bear! Amazing hypocrisy!
But murder in Cain’s mind began with his rejection of God for his rejection of Cain’s offering. He gave, not the first-fruits of his husbandry, as an act of faith, but what he thought adequate. When God refused to honor it by fire, he hated God. A lack of scruple that encouraged him to kill his spiritual superior.
Then, when Cain cursed the soil by killing Abel—mankind’s second abuse of creation—God turned it to a curse on Cain. Which the hardened, self-willed sinner adamantly defied by “building a city” Genesis 4:12, 17, intending to be a settled resident, not the “restless wanderer on earth” God foretold.
Since even the wicked can teach us something useful—learn these lessons from Cain. First, our entire life-style of behavior and decisions are determined by our relationship with God. Never underestimate this truth. Second, Cain’s response to God explains why, to this day, some people readily admit they’re wrong merely by have it called to their attention; while others refuse any suggestion of faulty behavior, however clearly demonstrated. The former want to change; the latter see no reason they should. Christians appealing to the unsaved to accept Christ’s sacrifice for their sins should be prepared for both reactions.
Some people will breathe a sigh of relief that the correction wasn’t MORE severe; others will glare in revulsion that it was so pitiless. Indeed, some sinners will be delighted that faith, repentance and baptism are the steps taken to forgiveness; others will consider any requirement from God a maximum restriction on their free-will. The first response makes God an admirable benefactor; the second a never-satisfied dictator.
The Cain-disposition considers any limitation on behavior unacceptable, all freedom of behavior too little and any penalty imposed “more than they can bear.” Even if their sin is cold-blooded murder. The inconsistent philosophy against capital punishment is a Cain-response. No matter how violent the crime, or merciless the criminal’s acts against innocent people, the murderer shouldn’t be executed. God’s word dashes the theory to bits and pieces, and human standards of justice follow, demanding the heaviest punishment for the worst crime. Of which murder is the poster child of infamy since it arrogates to us what God reserves as his right alone Genesis 9:5-6.
One final admonition. When, as faithful believers in Jesus, we experience what: we can’t explain; seems unfair to us; is more than we can bear—always seek God’s strength to endure. Ask God to help us learn in the situation what would make us stronger witnesses for Jesus. Never...never...question WHY we’re asked to bear the burden. That leads to Cain’s response to correction, not to David’s. Fini