I recently started a chronological re-reading of the Bible. Genesis is packed full of the stories many of us learned in Sunday school. They are more than familiar to me. They are foundational to my faith. Sometimes as I read these accounts certain details catch my attention that I may not have noticed before. As I was reading through Genesis 4 I was stuck by verse 16. I’ve heard it over and over, but the words settled over me and I think they are the saddest words I’ve ever heard. It says: “So Cain left the Lord’s presence and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden.”
Think about that for a moment. Cain’s parents were Adam and Eve. The first humans. The ones who had walked in God’s presence. Cain was the next generation. And yet, he left the Lord’s presence and settled somewhere else. Is there anything sadder than someone walking away from the presence of the Lord?
Ask any parent whose children have left their church, their religion and their faith. No. There’s nothing sadder. Take a look at someone whose eyes were once bright with hope and hearts held peace only to walk away from God because of some tragedy. The embittered soul, away from God, is indeed heartbreaking to see.
But closer to home for most of us are the times that we choose to let the cares of life, the busyness of schedules and the demands of work, social calendars and church keep us away from the presence of God. Not spending time with Jesus……….it shows on me every time. It makes me anxious. I lose my patience more quickly. My temper flares easier. My peace waivers. Time away from the presence of God and we no longer live our best lives. We settle elsewhere. We settle.
As we finish up 2014 and look to 2015, lets take a hard look at where we live….in the presence of God, or elsewhere. We never have to settle for anything less than God’s presence in our lives. Don’t settle.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
If you struggle to get past Leviticus in your effort to read through the Bible, check out this link for Bible Reading Tips.