Shortly after the beginning man opted to disobey God by eating of the tree of knowledge. This resulted in the loss of their idyllic home and the introduction of suffering into their lives. Housed in the loss was a glimmer of hope. Hope is defined as a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen. Hope is based on evidence. While Adam and Eve certainly would have desired for their relationship with God to be repaired, the only indication of resolution was within the serpent’s condemnation. So the LORD God said to the serpent: “Because you have done this, You are cursed more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you shall go, And you shall eat dust All the days of your life. And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.” (Genesis 3:14-15 NKJV)

Death was a certainty for mankind. Mankind was not the only being presented with death. Animals provided skins to clothe man and were later consumed for food. God also demanded them in sacrifice. For man, the prediction of their offspring surviving them would have provided some comfort. Despite continuing enmity with the serpent there would ultimately be a blow delivered to the serpent’s power.

Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, and said, “I have acquired a man from the LORD.” Then she bore again, this time his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the LORD. Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the LORD respected Abel and his offering, but He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell. So the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? “If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.” Now Cain talked with Abel his brother; and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him. (Genesis 4:1-8 NKJV) Despite future hope, Adam and Eve faced this additional tragedy.

Cain did not want to accept responsibility for his actions any more than did his parents previously. Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” He said, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Genesis 4:9 NKJV) God obviously expected Cain to be responsible for Abel. And He said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to Me from the ground. “So now you are cursed from the earth, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. “When you till the ground, it shall no longer yield its strength to you. A fugitive and a vagabond you shall be on the earth.” And Cain said to the LORD, “My punishment is greater than I can bear! (Genesis 4:10-13 NKJV) Adam and Eve’s heartaches grow with Abel’s murder and Cain’s banishment. A third child arrives providing some comfort. And Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and named him Seth, “For God has appointed another seed for me instead of Abel, whom Cain killed.” And as for Seth, to him also a son was born; and he named him Enosh. Then men began to call on the name of the LORD. (Genesis 4:25-26 NKJV) Some succeeded in serving God while Cain’s family continued to fail. (Genesis 4)

Hindsight sees that tribulation is and remains an underpinning of hope. Some suffering is imposed by the actions of others. Some we bring upon ourselves. It is only through Jesus that the breach between man and God may be healed. Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. (Romans 5:1-5 NKJV)

Call on God. Have faith. You will not be disappointed.

KEN FLEEMAN (11/8/2020)

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