“Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain… And again, she bore his brother Abel… In the course of time Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground, and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell. The Lord said to Cain, ‘Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen?..’
“Cain spoke to Abel his brother. And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him. Then the Lord said to Cain, ‘Where is Abel your brother?’ He said, ‘I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?’ And the Lord said, ‘What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground.'” Genesis 4:1-6,8-10
God made man for a relationship with Himself, and lovingly pursues intimacy with him by asking questions. He sought Adam and Eve hiding in the garden and asked their whereabouts, who and what had made them ashamed. Here He draws out the motives behind Cain’s actions by giving him opportunity to look inside, discover and acknowledge his sin inclination, and confess. Scripture gives other examples of God’s gracious pursuit of His children in eliciting faith and spurring growth. (Genesis 3:8-13; 1 Kings 19:9-18; Acts 9:1-6)
The questions of our Lord show His love interest in us. He knows us well- He made us- but knows it’s vital we know ourselves in order to communicate freely with Him and bear spiritual fruit. He longs for us to be unmasked, authentic, honest. Living out His call on our lives will be a constant struggle if we don’t regularly come clean before ourselves and our Maker. (Psalm 139:1-4,13-16)
When we take up with the Lord, how goes our conversation, and what does it reveal about our openness to spiritual intimacy? Is it comprised of our asking why He’s caused certain difficulties, or not answered our requests, coupled with a stubborn unwillingness to accept His response or reasons? Are our words more explanation and demand than acknowledgement of His goodness and wisdom? Do our questions and statements expose pride, need for control, smugness in thinking we know and can do better than the Lord? Do we ever listen, and respond to Him?
What if we were to approach the all-wise God on our knees? How would that change our attitude of superiority? What if we opened ourselves up to God’s searching, to probing our intentions? How might that lead us to honest and freeing confession? (Psalm 139:23-24)
What if we were to mix it up by praying the words of Scripture instead of our own prepackaged formulations? How might this obliterate self-will and broaden our vision? What if we asked the Lord to teach us to pray and refresh our devotional time? Where would we like Him to inspire and develop holy desires? What if we took time first to praise Him for His infinite and unchanging attributes? How could that adjust our expectations of what (and how) He’ll respond?
Father, thank You for pursuing me. Please draw me ever closer to You through deep searching of my heart and making it more like Yours.