“And Cain went out from the presence of the LORD, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden.” (Genesis 4:16).
“Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.” Psalm 16:11, “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” (Psalm 51:11).
Cain in Genesis 4:16 went out from the presence of the Lord. Psalm 51:11 says, “Cast me not away from thy presence”. Here are two men that sinned! One went out from the presence of the Lord and the other did not. One was never useful again and the other was made more useful than ever. The difference was one went out from the presence of the Lord and the other said, “Cast me not away from my presence”.
All of us have highs and lows in the Christian life. It is as necessary to have a low in the Christian life, as it is to have a high.
Check the life of Moses, if you please! Moses had his mountain peaks and Moses had his valleys. Moses had his times of receiving the Ten Commandments and Moses had his time of breaking the Ten Commandments. Check out the Apostle Paul! He had his highs and he had his lows. Check out Jeremiah, the great prophet of the Old Testament. One of the four Major Prophets! Jeremiah had his highs and he had his lows. Look at Jonah! He had his highs and he had his lows.
Every one reading this article has their own spiritual mountaintops and their own spiritual lows. The difference is some people come back from those lows and rebound and some never do! Some Christians hit lows and backslide and then rebound coming back to being used and useful to God. On the other hand some Christians never come back or rebound.
Have you ever wondered why some people can get disgruntled in the local church and ride the waves and still be happy later on, while some one else will get disgruntled in the same church and they become angry and leave never to come back?
I am thinking of two dear people who were upset about the same thing. One overcame it and bounced back and the other never did bounce back! What is the difference?
All of us have times with spiritual coldness. I preach almost every day of my life. Ten to fifteen times a week I preach! There are times when I go to preach and could charge Hell with a squirt gun with no water and there are other times I feel like I am the squirt! There are times I don’t feel I can get my prayers past the ceiling and there are times I could reach up and touch the portals of Heaven. What is the difference?
There are some who become spiritually cold and still make it by bouncing back. There are others who become spiritually cold and do not make by bouncing back. Preachers do not stay on a high spiritual plain all the time. Staff members do not stay on a high spiritual plain all the time. Why is it that this spiritual coldness comes to everybody at one time or another? Why is it that some people recover and some do not recover? Some recover to return to what they used to be and some become utterly useless to God.
Wait a minute! With this angst must come a reason! They both went to the same depth. They did the same thing. They had the same experience and yet some came back and some do not come back.
All of us at times commit sin. Have you not noticed that some people commit sin and bounce back, but some one else will commit the same exact sin and never bounce back?
Please take note of this! You and I are going to have times of depression, coldness, and do things that displease God and are contrary to the Scriptures and we commit sin.
What happens while we are cold determines whether we ever come back or not. All of us have times of discontentment. I have been preaching for going on forty-nine years as of this writing. We have all faced those times whether preacher or church member.
There is not a woman reading this article that has not at some time or another had discontentment toward your husband. There is not a man reading this that has not at one time or another had discontentment toward your wife. These times of discontentment exist! There will be times when you are unhappy with something that goes on at your church, or Christian school, or Bible College and possibly even disgruntled some times. Times of disenchantment will occur! Some get over it and others never get over it. Some bounce back and others do not bounce back!
In 1981 Longview Baptist Temple had a major split in the month of March. Some of the members were wondering if they did the right thing in calling me as their pastor and others wondered and decided to hold on. What is the difference? Some of the dear members who wondered gave me a chance and others who wondered did not and they left while some stayed. Those who stayed have seen history made with over one million souls coming to Christ while others left missed it.
What is the difference between the one who commit sin and another who commits the same sin; one ruins his life while the other one comes back? What is the difference between two disgruntled members; one stays and the other leaves?
I can take you to people who have grown cold and whose lives have changed because they never came back and were able to rebound. They end up doing things they would never have done if they had stayed in church. Their standards are lowered and their lives are on a non-stop slide. Likewise, I can take you to people who have been to the same place and have come back to usefulness.
Cain sinned and when he sinned the Scriptures tell us that he went out from the presence of the Lord. David likewise sinned! The Scriptures tell us that He said, “Cast me not away from thy presence”. Cain had his life wrecked and ruined. Cain never bounced back. On the other hand David sinned and He said, “Cast me not away from thy presence”. The only difference is one said, “I’m going to leave the presence of God.” The other said, “I’m going to stay in the presence of God.”
Thus, the question is what is the presence of God? It is not necessarily being right with God. I can be in the presence of my wife and not be right with her. I can be in the presence of my wife with our relationship being strained. Psalm 16:11a says, “In thy presence is fullness of joy”. It does not say, “In thy presence I have fullness of joy.” It says, “…is fullness of joy”. It does not say, “I have fullness of joy.” I may not take advantage of that fullness, but I am more likely to have fullness of joy in His presence than out of His presence.
Here is David and he has sinned, but he has stayed in God’s presence and there he has access to fullness of joy. Cain sinned and left the presence of God and he has no access to the fullness of joy. Joy is available where God’s presence is and not where God is not! Cold-hearted Christians who come to church may not have joy but they sure are in the presence of joy. People on the boat could tell that Jonah had left the presence of the Lord. You may not have joy, but stay close to the source of joy. Cain and David both sinned! One failed the other succeeded.
CAIN LEFT THE PLACE WHERE GOD SPOKE
God did not speak over here in the Land of Nod where Cain fled too! God spoke where the altar was and the place where the blood sacrifices were offered. I guess it makes sense then to stay in church while experiencing these down times spiritually. It says about backslidden Peter that he “followed afar off.” Now, he may have been “afar off” but he still followed. He was not on the front row at church, but he was on the back row.
CAIN LEFT THE PEOPLE TO WHOM GOD SPOKE
Cain left the parents to whom God spoke. Cain left the people to whom God spoke. Cain changed the people that he ran with. Cain left the man of God to whom God spoke. Cain left where the Words of God are spoken. That is another reason why you should stay where the soul winners are. Matthew 28:19-20 tells us about soul winners, “lo, I will be with you always.” David stayed at the place where God spoke.