Daily Devotions

The fear of death

Genesis 4:13f

‘Cain said to the Lord: ‘My punishment is greater than I can bear!…. Today, You have driven me out from the face of the Earth! And from Your face, I shall be hidden! And I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the Earth!…. It shall come to pass, that everyone who finds me, shall slay me!”‘

Calvin comments: “‘My punishment is greater than I can bear‘…is the language of desperation. Because Cain, confounded by the judgment of God, had no remaining hope of pardon…. The reprobate are never conscious of their evils till a ruin, from which they cannot escape, overtakes them…. Even Judas confesses his sin; but, overwhelmed with fear — flies as far as possible from the presence of God….

“Reprobates have no medium” and no Mediator. “When the anger of God presses upon them, they are broken — rather than corrected…. Their fear stuns them, so that they can think of nothing but of Hell and eternal destruction….

“‘A greater punishment…is imposed upon me than I can bear!’…. Cain, although he does not excuse his sin…, yet complains of the “intolerable severity”(?!) of his judgment…. The reprobate , however clearly they may be convicted, make no end of storming!….

“No corner of the earth should be left him (Cain) by God, in which he might quietly repose. For, being excluded from the common rights of mankind so as to be no more reckoned among the legitimate inhabitants of the Earth, he declares that he is cast out from the face of the Earth and therefore shall become a fugitive because the Earth will deny him a habitation….

“To be ‘hidden from the face of God,’ is to be not regarded by God — or not protected by His guardian care. This confession also which God extorted from the impious murderer, is a proof that there is no peace for men unless they acquiesce in the providence of God and are persuaded that their lives are the object of His care…. How wretched …is the instability of the wicked who know that not a foot of earth is granted to them by God!….

“He is no longer covered by the protection of God. He concludes that he shall be exposed to injury and violence from all men. And he reasons justly!….

“They have spoken prudently who have said not only that our life hangs on a thread, but also that we have been received into this fleeting life out of the womb from a hundred deaths. Cain, however…, not only considers himself as deprived of God’s protection, but also supposes all creatures to be divinely armed to take vengeance against his impious murder…. He so greatly fears for his life, from any one who may meet him…. The meeting with any man, was formidable to the murderer!”

However, we believers who get old without murdering anyone, can be assured of God’s protection to the very end of our life. If we faithfully trust the Lord to keep on taking care of us — there should be no fear of death!