Many, many weeks ago, I was struck by the passage that mentioned how Cain had purposely walked away from the presence of God.
He moved to the "Land of Nod and settled there..." (Nod: the land of wandering, a vacant place - Genesis 4:16)
But...Cain had sinned.
Sin is a separating factor, we can't deny.
He decided he'd rather hide and isolate than deal with his sin.
So, Cain determined that he'd find a way to pay his own penance for the murder of his brother.
For some reason Cain didn't trust the love or the forgiveness of the Lord.
So way back at the beginning of Lent, I determined in my pursuit of God that I didn't want to be Cain.
I would (with the Lord's help) take a hard look inside, and, along with this, I would ask the Lord to help me identify the false-self that tries to gloss over sinfulness, and start living the true-self of my identity in Him.
I know that when I'm living out of my true-self, my whole spirit feels free-er and is more at REST in
So, this led me to a side-study of the Ten Commandments.
Over it's course, I didn't like what I saw in me...
...and in many ways, I, now, understand why Cain ran.
Martin Luther said this:
There is no better mirror in which to see your need than the Ten Commandments.
He was right.
John Stott had a great quote worthy of reading:
Holy is not a condition into which we drift.
I hadn't even turned in my Bible to Exodus 20 or Deuteronomy 5, where these words-to-live-by are written, when it felt like I'd been struck by a baseball bat across my heart.
Writing in my journal, I declared my intention to do this commandment study, mentioning that I felt "hesitant and a bit fearful" regarding the spiritual discipline of confession and "training for righteousness."
Those two words were my stopping point.
I felt tension.
The answer came easily.
I was hesitant because of fear of what I might see in me.
The root cause of fear is often a lack of trust.
My hesitancy and fear said to me that while I say I trust the Lord with my whole heart, I do not.
Cain lives inside of me.
Like Cain, I struggle to live an un-abandoned faith.
Like Cain, there is within me, an inability to fall-in-His-arms-backwards-trusting-Him-to-catch-me-kind of trust.
Before I could even begin looking into the Ten Commandments, I discovered I needed to reconcile this fear-vs-faith-dilemma.
Could I fully trust His forgiveness?
Could I fully trust His love?
These are foundational...
Here I thought I was nothing like Cain...
...and, all along like Cain, I was living in the land of Nod.
Yep truth is, I am he.
He is me.
After a bit of wrestling, I recognized two things:
1) God's love will ALWAYS be my very safe WHY.
2) Trusting Him is the only road to JOY.
There are eleven days left of Lent (by the way, this has felt like the longest Lenten season, I can remember)...
As I continue to read through the Old Testament, I think of the many times in the book of Judges, where this notation is made: "And, the people did whatever they thought was right... and in those days, the people had no King."
We're living in some fearful days as we close out Lent...
Let's check where our trust is?
Are we doing what is right in our own eyes?
Or, are we surrendered with unabandoned trust in the King of Kings?
The Israelites didn't need a man to be King - not if they were truly trusting in Yahweh...
Without even realizing it, we may have fallen into doing what is right in our own eyes, and are wandering away into the Land of Nod, without the Presence of our King directing our paths...
Let's not be Cain and "settle there."
Nod is a worthless place.
It lacks abundance.
In that place there is NO REST!
These eleven days - It's worth taking a glance inward!
You'll be more prepared than ever for EASTER (even if you are celebrating it from home)!