I’ve always been fascinated by God’s dealing with Cain. Cain was the first murderer. He killed his own brother out of jealousy and resentment. I’ve heard many a preacher talk about Cain’s murderous act, but very few have ever talked about God’s reaction to it.
God audibly asks Cain what he has done with his brother. Cain lies. God exposes his lie and forces Cain to acknowledge that he killed Abel. Cain then expresses a fear that when people learn of his crime, they will hunt him down and kill him. God’s reaction to Cain is not one of immediate judgment. He doesn’t eradicate him for his brother’s murder. Instead, he places a mark on Cain’s forehead and declares that if anyone harms him, they will incur God’s wrath.
I’ve always seen God’s response to Cain as an act of grace. God’s holiness demanded judgment for Cain’s wrongdoing, but God’s love and graciousness postponed that judgment until a later date. It even caused God to take steps to preserve Cain’s life.