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Green Pastures and Still Waters

According to Wiktionary, “raising Cain” means “to cause trouble or commotion; to behave in a disruptive manner.  The expression implies bringing that evil to earth.”  The first human being born to this planet has an awful reputation.  Sadly, he had so much promise!  His mother was elated at his birth and no doubt was hopeful that he would be the “crusher of the serpent’s head.”  He crushed a head, but not the serpent’s.  However, God’s mercy toward Cain was profound.  Wave upon wave of grace was extended to Cain but he refused again and again.  It’s amazing what we will choose over relationship with God.  It’s sad how deep our pride can be rooted.  It’s horrifying to think of the results.  Adam and Eve never heard of Jim Dobson or Paul Tripp but they probably knew a few things about parenting.  They may have had several hundred children given their life span, but their first two boys turned out very different from one another.  As we continue our study of “Longing for the Advent,” we’ll see how the story of Cain fits the narrative and the appetite it creates for the arrival of “the One.”

That probably sounds like a question you have heard from a child while riding in the mini-van on the way to Grandma’s house.  My brother used to say, “How many more minutes?”  Honestly, we humans don’t wait very well.  We want what we want when we want it, and that’s usually now!  It may surprise you to know that, “How long?” is actually an Advent question.  The Old Testament creates a longing that it never satisfies.  From Genesis to Malachi, the reader is still looking for “the One.”  He is described but every character falls short of the One promised.  Between the testaments, there’s a 400-year gap.  The genealogies of Matthew and Luke and the subsequent narratives reveal that Jesus Christ is “the One!”  But sadly, for the people in charge, He was not the One they wanted—so they killed Him.  He rose from the dead, ascended to the Father and promised to come again.  Here we are almost 2,000 years later and we are looking for “the One.”  We have a longing for the Creator, Savior and Beautiful One to appear and set this world right.  Jesus and the Apostles promised this would happen.  We have confidence in the “Blessed Hope.”  Our Advent series in preparation for Christmas will focus on this waiting and longing theme from the Old Testament.  We’ll start in Genesis on Sunday with a look at the problem and the first of many promises.