He leaned heavily against the bark of a large twisted oak and allowed the shade to cool the sweat on his brow. He had spent a long day leading his sheep to lush valley pasture. As he closed his eyes and drank in the scent of spring his mind flittered away to memories of paradise. It was almost as though he had once been there. But the ache of his limbs and the smell of his sweat returned him to reality. Abel had been born on the other side. His father, Adam, had chosen to pursue a rugged independent existence. Just like a teenage son who hated the family of his birth and set out into the world to make his own way, do his own thing ….a prodigal. Adam had violated God’s heart. He had violated God’s life. He had cut his own cord. And now Abel, along with all of the following generations, was thrown out into the world to live in his own strength.
But what an amazing God this was! He had already intervened. Abel was taught to make a sacrifice. By doing this, man’s rebellion against God’s life could be forgotten. God would not be angry about the violation. God would pursue man out in this pagan, foreign landscape in every generation.
Abel sighed. Surviving in the world was a lot of work and his own weak flesh cried out for some personal relief and gratification. Very often, he wanted to do his own thing too. Curse the ground and call it a day. But the ground had already been cursed and Abel had to work it. What a blessing. His busyness with survival left him little time to gratify his flesh.
God never formed a curse, never directed a command, and never wrote a law outside of salvation. His heart has always been to save us from death. Ever since Adam sinned, death has ruled in the human conscience. We are very overthrown by our awareness of what should die. In God’s desire to save us from death, He tripped our feet many times over. A curse kept us busy battling the womb and the ground so that we wouldn’t battle with each other. A command kept us pursuing a conquest against true enemies so that we wouldn’t conquest our neighbor. A law kept us fearful of our own judgment so that we wouldn’t judge the flesh of another. God was trying to save us from death.
Once upon a time, while feasting on the Tree of Life, we did not need restrictions. But we opted to take the curses, the commands and the laws so we could have the opportunity to make our own decisions. The truest hope of our Creator was that we will return to Him and His Life… .and taste and see His goodness.