The Biblical account of creation and the early history of humanity is filled with many wonders as well as many unfortunate events. Perhaps one of the saddest verses in the entire Word of God is found in Genesis 4:16,
“So Cain left the LORD’s presence and settled in the land of Nod.” – NLT
Settling in the land of Nod is not the peaceful transition that is appears to be at first glance. Nod is not simply the name of a nice alternative to the location that Adam and Eve had settled after Eden. Nod comes from the Hebrew word meaning “wandering.” The reality is that once Cain was forced to leave his family he never again found a place to call home. Cain became the world’s first nomad, wandering around just trying to find the bare minimum that he needed to survive. His whole life had become a struggle where he would never feel content or know peace. He lived in constant fear that others would do him harm and he lived with the guilt of having committed the world’s first murder and with the legacy of being the first person ever recorded to have told a lie, a lie that he told to God Himself (Genesis 4:9). Cain’s punishment was made complete when his wandering included the reality that he had been removed from the very presence of the LORD.
We have all wandered at times and if your anything like me you have probably felt what seems to be the absence of God’s presence. Sadly it is normally in our times of struggle, when peace is gone, and we are filled with fear and guilt that we find ourselves in the land of Nod (wandering) and away from God. But how is it that we end up there? One minute we are right where we need to be and the next we become an outcast of our own making.
Cain’s problems all started when he made the conscience choice to casually give God less than He deserved (Genesis 4:3). It wasn’t even a problem with Cain’s gift itself as much as was a clear problem with the attitude with which Cain approached God. From that moment, the moment he choose to treat God with this poor attitude, everything in his life began to spiral downward and away from everything that truly mattered. I hope our attitudes never lead us down a path so tragic as Cain’s (after all he did commit murder) but the truth is that once we start to see God as less significant and worthy of less than our best we have taken the first steps towards Nod.
Thankfully there is hope!
Even Cain experienced the mercy of God even as he was recieving his punishment for all the wrong he had done. God marked Cain in some way so others would know that there would be an even more severe punishment for anyone who tried to harm him (Genesis 4:15). Today, whether you find yourself in God’s presence or in the land of Nod wandering around just trying to survive, know that no matter how far you wander away God still loves you and has every intention to protect you until you come home to Him.