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Genesis 4:15

Sheep Thief or Saint'

And the Lord set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him. Gen. 4:15

The story is told of two brothers, convicted of stealing sheep, who were branded on the forehead with the letters ST, to indicate “sheep thief.” The one couldn’t bear the stigma, became bitter, and moved away. Eventually he died and was forgotten. The other brother chose a different course. He said, “I can’t run from what I did, so I’ll stay here and win back the respect of my neighbors and myself.” As the years passed, he built a solid reputation for integrity. One day a stranger saw him, now an old man, with the letters on his forehead. He asked a townsman what they signified. “It happened a long time ago,” said the villager. “I’ve forgotten the particulars, but I think the letters are an abbreviation for ‘saint’”.

Cain too was a marked man who, like that first brother in the story, never thought beyond the severity of his punishment to the severity of his sin. He didn’t realize that his “brand” was a blessing as well as a curse. It held in check the vengeance of his fellowmen so that he wouldn’t be killed. God was granting Cain an opportunity to acknowledge his wrong, to plead for mercy, and to wipe out his reputation as a murderer. How tragic that he chose not to!

A bad reputation doesn’t have to be permanent. Because Christ died for our sins, His forgiveness wipes the slate clean, and His power enables us to live a new life. If you’ve never done so, repent and trust Him as your Savior. If you have received Jesus but have since made a mess of your life, return to Him. He’ll give you grace and power to build a new reputation. -D.J.D.

Once I was foolish, and sin ruled my heart,
Causing my footsteps from God to depart;
Jesus has found me, happy my case—
I now am a sinner saved by grace!

- Gray

THOT: You may have had a bad start in life, but you need not have a bad ending.

Our Daily Bread, Friday, August 20

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