Lessons from Cain and Abel. Part III
ENCOURAGEMENT IN THE MIDST OF SUFFERING. by Annang.
I agree that God was there. I also agree with the deep lessons drawn out in the previous posts, about persecution, about the typology of Abel's blood and the Lord Jesus Christ.
This story, like the Adam and Eve story, also paints another picture that may disturb some about the Character of God. The All-knowing God, who sees all things even before they happen, often seems to arrive late on the crime scene. You know, those films or stories about the gangland policeman who always appears on the scene just after the victim has been killed! In the Garden of Eden, God turned up only after the devil had succeeded in tempting Eve and Adam; here too, only after Cain had done his deed. He accused Cain of not being his brother's keeper, but why didn't He keep or defend Abel, the God-loving, God-fearing and God-devoted worshipper? Where was God indeed!
Many righteous men throughout the Bible suffered in the hands of the unjust and asked that question over and over again. Think of David in the hands of Saul, or Job in the hands of the devil. Why does our God appear to turn up late when we have been almost destroyed in the hands of unjust men?
God does know everything: He knows our suffering and our pain, and He is there, not aloof, but strengthening us as we go through the pain. Though our “blood” is shed, it is, in Paul's words, being poured as libation on the altar of His sacrifice for the Gospel. No wonder the Book of Revelation ends with similar stories of the sufferings of the saints in the hands of sinful men and women, the testimony of the saints who overcame the Evil one, not by their sword but by surrender to the will of their heavenly Father, and their Word of Testimony also speaks volumes like that of Abel.
When we read Abel's story, we should be encouraged in our little sufferings as believers that our God is there with us. And if we have not yet shed blood in our struggle over sin, let us determine to strive hard for holiness and to persevere. It is to His honor and glory that we overcome; whether it is sin in ourselves or in this world. -Annang