Saturday 18 Nov 2017
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John 6:35

Then Jesus declared, I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.

 

The power of His mercy

Genesis 4:14-15 Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the ground; and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a wanderer in the earth; and it will come to pass, that whosoever findeth me will slay me. And Jehovah said unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And Jehovah appointed a sign for Cain, lest any finding him should smite him.

In todays passage we encounter an interesting conversation between Cain and God, shortly after Cain had killed Abel his brother and as a result God pronounced a punishment upon him.

The question arises how did Cain receive his punishment? Well from the position of guilt, he assumed the worst scenario about the judgment of God, believing this punishment included death sentence and in doing so he judged himself even more harshly than God did, in his guilt he ascribed a role to God that was completely wrong, he assumed that God was after his destruction. As we look at God's response to the position which Cain took, the scripture begins to speak volume about the love of God that man continues to struggle to fathom its width, its depth and height due to guilt. God said to Cain i will put a mark upon you so that no one will kill you and if anyone does, i will visit such with seven fold vengeance. Let us ask ourselves the question why would God want to keep Cain alive? Well those who struggle with comprehending the love of God would say the mark was asign of curse and as such he is being kept alive as part of the punishment, so that he may receive his punishment in full. 
But in the light of what the scripture would later reveal to us about God and his love for the world, let us look at the reason why God decided to keep Cain alive. 
Ezekiel 18:23 Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked? saith the Lord Jehovah; and not rather that he should return from his way, and live?

Here we see the position of God towards every sinner regardless of the nature of their sins, God desires for them to repent and live, every sinner must be given the chance and the opportunity to repent, hence God said anyone who kills Cain would be visited by his divine vengeance. We can say that God in his love and mercy decided to keep Cain alive offering him every opportunity possible to repent of his sins in order that he might receive pardon and his soul not destroyed in hell fire. Peter opened our eyes along this line when he wrote:
2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

In his mercy God chose to give every sinner the chance to repent, the length of that time we do not know, but the scripture informs us that God has decided to exercise his longsuffering towards us all, we all who have run to Christ benefitted from this gracious act of God. The question arises why should God be so gracious, many have asked the question why is God willing to forgive man while it appeared the fate of the devil is sealed forever? Well in Satan the scripture revealed to us, iniquity was found in him, he is the father of lies Jesus informed us, he is the epitome of evil, the inventor of it. But as for man, he was tempted and he subsequently brought forth his descendants into the world with a sinful nature. The same way a child cannot help being born into abject poverty, so also was the lot of man. With Cain God saw his helplessness, he inherited the sinful nature of his parents who had fallen. God warned him as a result and even after he succumbed God was still not going to deny him the opportunity to repent.

The message for today challenges us in a couple of ways, the first being what do we do with our guilt? Do we like Cain proceed to judge ourselves in the procees end up punishing ourselves more than God envisaged? When a man, driven by guilt runs away from the presence of God by hardening his heart, does he not risk sentencing himself to a harsher punishment, the punishment of eternal damnation of his soul. Something which God has clearly stated he does not desire, but is compelled to do because of his holiness and his role as arighteous Judge. The Psalmist said:
Psalm 32:3-5 When I kept silence, my bones wasted away Through my groaning all the day long. For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: My moisture was changed as with the drought of summer. Selah I acknowledged my sin unto thee, And mine iniquity did I not hide: I said, I will confess my transgressions unto Jehovah; And thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah

Once again the picture of a man subjecting himself to more punishment than that which God intended readily comes to mind.
Again what do we do with our guilt, do we hand ourselves over to the judgement of men, listen the judgment of men is always harsher than that of God, man judges to destroy, but God corrects in order that a man may be saved, hence David asked that God disciplines him rather than allow him to fall into the hands of his enemies. 

Are you struggling with guilt today, are you running away from God because of guilt , are you trying to hide your guilt from God? I want you to know that you are running away from the presence of the only one who can deal with that guilt and deliver you completely from it. He has done this through his son Jesus. God is the only one who can deal with sin and every guilt associated with it, he is the last person we want to hide our guilt from. I pray that man does not discover your guilt before God does.