Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Alienated from the Land

So now you are cursed from the earth. (Genesis 4:11)
The earth was framed by the Word of God and created to respond to man, who was made in the likeness of God. But when Adam rebelled against God in the Garden of Eden, he disconnected himself from the life and glory of God and brought the world under a curse:
Cursed is the ground for you sake [i.e., because of you];
In toil you shall eat of it
All the days of your life.
Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you,
And you shall eat the herb of the field.
In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread,
Till you return to the ground
For out of it you were taken;
For dust you are,
And to dust you shall return.
(Genesis 3:17-19)
Both man and the planet were alienated from the divine order of God.

In Genesis 4, we read that Cain, out of anger and jealousy, killed his brother Abel. God comes to Cain and asks, “Where is Abel your brother?” Abel answers, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?” Then God says,
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. (Genesis 4:10-12)
First, notice that Abel’s blood has a voice — it cried out! Then notice that the earth “opened its mouth” to receive Abel’s blood. The Hebrew word for “mouth” here is peh. It is used for consuming (e.g., drinking), but it is also used for speaking. The ground, which opened its mouth to receive Abel’s blood, also released the voice of that blood as it cried out to God for justice.

The ground was not an accomplice to Cain’s murderous act, but became a refuge for the blood of Abel, releasing its cry to God. The earth was repulsed by Cain’s evil deed, and Cain was alienated from it. The result was that the ground would no longer yield its strength to Cain, but Cain would become a wanderer with no place of welcome on the earth.

What we do affects the whole earth, because we were formed from the dust of the ground. Our spirits come from God, but our bodies are of the earth. We are connected to it, united with it. Quantum mechanics shows that particles that have been joined, even though they be separated across the universe, when something happens to one of them it also affects the other. When our hearts are evil, the whole world suffers.
How long will the land mourn,
And the herbs of every field wither?
The beasts and birds are consumed,
For the wickedness of those who dwell there.
(Jeremiah 12:4)
But there is another blood that was spilled on the ground, and it also cries out to God.
For you have not come to the mountain that may be touched and that burned with fire, and to blackness and darkness and tempest, and the sound of a trumpet and the voice of words, so that those who heard it begged that the word should not be spoken to them anymore … but you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things that that of Abel. (Hebrews 12:18-19, 22-24)
The blood of Abel cried out from the ground against Cain. The blood of Jesus cries out on our behalf, though we, like Cain, were covered with sin. And in that is redemption. Jesus took our sins upon Himself and judged them at the Cross, so that we might be reconciled to Father God and once again know His blessing and bring His order back into the earth. All of creation is groaning and laboring with birth pangs, eagerly waiting for this manifestation.