November 05, 2009

The Prodigal Leaves Home

Genesis 4:13-24

Cain went out from the Lord’s presence and lived … east of Eden.
Genesis 4:16


Like all runaways, Cain planned to put his mark on the world. But he could do that only after God marked him for protection from people seeking to avenge Abel’s murder. Cain couldn’t live with God or without him.

Cain and his descendants definitely made a mark on the world. He built a city. His grandchildren developed agriculture, wrote music, and made metal tools. What would the world be without these things? Like all of Adam’s descendants, Cain benefited from the blessings God pours on both the good and the wicked.

But Cain’s legacy is stained with violence and vengeance. Cain’s descendant Lamech swore to repay evil with evil. Cain and his descendants wasted God’s blessings. That’s what runaways do; they spoil the gifts of the heavenly Father.

Leaving God only seems like a good thing to do. If by God’s grace you have grown to realize that (see Luke 15:17), then please come home. The Father is waiting. He’s eager to rejoice with you and to put his mark on you so that nothing can ever take you away again.

Jesus tells of a stay-at-home older brother who became angry because his father celebrated when his runaway brother came home (Luke 15:28-32). He lived so close to the father, yet he remained joylessly far away. If you are like that brother, please return to the Father too.

Heavenly Father, keep us safe at home. Help us to love each other as you love us, and may we rejoice with all the runaways you bring home. Through Christ, our Lord, Amen.

About the author — Arie C. Leder

Dr. Arie C. Leder is the Martin J. Wyngaarden Senior Professor of Old Testament Studies at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He previously served as pastor at Ebenezer Christian Reformed Church, Trenton, Ontario, and with Christian Reformed World Missions in Latin America. He teaches courses on the Pentateuch and on historical books of the Old Testament.

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