DayBreaks for 10/13/16 – An Open Scandal in Heaven
From the DayBreaks archive, 2006:
Genesis 4:8-11 (NIV) – Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.” And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him. Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?” “I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?” The LORD said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground. Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand.
We read this story about Cain and Abel and can easily miss some important things. First of all, it reads as if it all happens instantaneously, but the fact of the matter is that we don’t know how much time passed between the time Cain killed his brother until God confronted Cain about his actions. It may have been minutes, hours, days or weeks. We simply don’t know, and all things considered, it’s not that important – except in this regard: for the period of time that passed (no matter how long or short it may have been), Cain probably thought he’d gotten away with something. He harbored in his heart the secret vision of killing his brother, of his brother’s blood spilling out onto the ground. He must have considered what he would tell his mother and father the next time he saw them and they asked where his brother was. I wouldn’t be surprised if he avoided his parents as long as possible. It’s a terrible thing to harbor dark secrets in our hearts about the things we have done, wondering, tormented by the fear of discovery, all while hoping that no one will ever find out.
For however long of time that passed, Cain labored under the delusion that his sin was secret, but based on this text, as Chuck Swindoll put it, Cain learned that “A secret sin on earth is open scandal in heaven.” Rather shocking and frightening when you hear it put that way, isn’t it? The thoughts that I’ve had today that were angry, bitter, unforgiving, lustful or envious – they cry out to the throne of heaven as clearly and loudly as the blood of Abel. And they are an open scandal in heaven. The words I’ve spoken, the bad things I’ve done – they, too, are scandals on the front page of heaven’s newspaper.
We call it a scandal when a congressman or public figure has their sins and faults splattered across the airwaves and printed on the front page. Your sins are just as well known to God – even more clearly known, in fact. And so are mine.
But if you go back and read the rest of the story about Cain and Abel, as Chuck Swindoll put it: “Even after the worst crime ever committed up to that time, the Lord demonstrated grace…God asked the murderous Cain a rhetorical question to convict him of his sin. But Cain refused to repent. What will we do? It’s one thing to repent once your sins find you out, but we need to remember that God always sees our scandalous behavior. In His grace, He gives us a chance to repent. May we be wise enough to accept His grace!
PRAYER: God, help us to remember that our lives are like an open book before you and that nothing we do is really a secret. May the knowledge that you know, you see, and you are hurt by our sin help us to repent and return to you every time we go astray. Thank you for your abundant grace and forgiveness. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright 2016 by Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.