Unsettling Judgments of God
by Matheus Yuhlung
“Means are to be used, but, after all, our safety and salvation are only of the Lord. In our spiritual warfare we must arm ourselves with the whole armour of God; but our strength must be in the Lord, and in the power of his might.”
– Matthew Henry1
There are certain narration in the Bible where God’s dealings with humanity feels unjustified, especially in The Old Testament. I believe everyone finds one of these narrations. But the one that I want to write about in these few words is that of Cain and Abel.
We understand that Cain was a farmer, and Abel a hunter. By that it means, Cain was a meticulous and an orderly person. He studies the weather, the soil, and the irrigation systems, to make sure that his seeds bear fruits. He labours intelligently, effectively, and efficiently. Abel on the hand, was none of these things. He simply walks into the forest, with a blind faith that God would protect him and give him the meat he needs. By character, we understand, Abel to be naive, or even stupid. But at the time of the offering, these two individuals come before God: one brings an offering that is a product he has meticulously laboured on, and the other, with an offering that required no forethought. He brings whatever he could lay his hands on. Finally, we see that it was this offering that God favoured.
I often think about the frustration that Cain must have been through. He laboured for seasons, that needs both calculation and labour, to procure the offering he has for God. Whereas, his brother, Abel, just walked into the forest and brought back whatever he could kill. He must indeed feel unjustified. But why does God do that?
For people like me, who like to reason, such narrations are a bit hard to settle with. People like me, like to debate, discuss, study, and proceed in an orderly fashion, with a forethought of how it could be or what I ought to do. And to be told that, God does not really favours such approach is a bit harsh. But saying this, does not mean, God does not like His children to be orderly. I believe He does. There are scriptural proofs for that. But what is really the fact of the matter is, I suppose, He does not favours His children acting in a rational way that is not depended on Him. As understood from Abel, God wants that naive childlike dependence on Him. But another thing that struck me hard was that, did Abel really had to die? If God was so pleased with him, why did He let Cain murder him? I have been starting to feel that God does not really value the life on earth (in its present form). He is more concern with the world that is to come. But who can say that, neither would I attest anything.
I don’t know why God does what He does. I don’t know why Cain had to be rejected and Abel had to die in his prime. Who can know the mind of the God? Who can say what is justified or unjustified course of action? But there is one thing that is clear from the scriptures, God desires His children to completely depend on Him. That is hard. But that also is the challenge, after all we are all humans – with a mind of our own.
1 Matthew Henry Concise Commentary, https://www.christianity.com/bible/commentary.php?com=mhc&b=20&c=21