Tuesday, January 29, 2019
Genesis 4:13 Cain said to the LORD, “My punishment is more than I can bear.”
God has placed a word on my heart and mind, and I am convinced that I am supposed to spend some time investigating it. Every day this word runs across the flashing billboard of my brain. Songs that have the word in the lyrics come to my mind and I find myself singing them. It is obviously the place that God wants me to be for right now. I know God wants me to spend some time digging for nuggets of gold in the mine of forgiveness. I invite you to come along on this daily expedition as we seek to discover the wealth of this truth – we are forgiven, and we can forgive others!
We begin where the Bible begins – in the Old Testament. The Hebrew word translated forgive is used some 650 times in its root form in the Old Testament. The word is nasa, and means to lift, to carry, and to take away. (Isn’t it interesting that the space exploration agency of the United States is called NASA? Three minutes to lift-off.) The first time the word is used in the Bible is in Genesis 4:13, where following the murder of his brother Abel, Cain is punished by God and responds to Him by saying, “My punishment is more than I can bear.”
The weight of sin on any of our lives is more than we can lift or carry. Our attempts to be free from the burden are varied. We may deny that the sin really exists, as Cain did when God rejected his offering and he became angry at God. God gave Cain a chance to do the right thing, but Cain rejected God’s offer of acceptance.
We sometimes do the same. We choose to believe that our way is right even when God calls it wrong. We try to convince ourselves and others that what we are doing is not sin. We try to earn our acceptance by making ourselves right, even if it means eliminating from our lives those that make us feel guilty for what we are doing.
Sometimes we lie to cover our guilt and personal responsibility for our choices. When God asked Cain where his brother was, Cain responded, “I don’t know. Am I my brother’s keeper?” He lied about what he had done.
Denial is of the Devil. Satan is the father of lies. Lying begins in the heart of a self-centered person who requires approval and acceptance from people. Lying is the product of pride. Lies are designed by a deceived person seeking to avoid rejection and protect their image. We fail to understand that the lie is yet another sin which adds to the weight of the burden we cannot lift. We quickly fall into the humanly inescapable quicksand of sin. The more we try to struggle against it, the deeper we sink.
Sometimes we seek the comfort of the world to relieve the pain of our sin. When Cain was expelled from the presence of the Lord, he began to build a city. He put all his energy into finding satisfaction from what the world had to offer. He even named the city after his son. He did not include God in any of his plans. The world became his opiate.
The world offers many empty promises of relief from sin: promises we quickly and easily accept as truth. Financial success, social status, sex, alcohol, drugs, and on goes the list. Each promise proves itself addictive. The temporary relief we may experience ultimately compounds the burden of our sin because we have failed to realize that each worldly promise is itself another sin.
But in the middle of all of this was a promise from God. “If you do what is right, will you not be accepted?” There is the solution to our sin problem. God will carry the total weight of our sin if we will release it to Him and do what is right. It is in that moment of repentance that we find forgiveness.
In the days ahead, we will dig out many nuggets of treasured truth from the mine of forgiveness, but the first lesson is this – the weight of our sin is more than we can carry. We cannot take it away by ourselves. We must give it to the One who can carry it, and once we do, we NEVER have to carry it again.
That means surrendering our rights, telling the truth, and living according to God’s purpose and not the world’s pursuits. Isn’t it time to have the weight of sin lifted off your life? God wants to do it, and He can. Turn to Him today!