First Mention of Homelessness

By Pastor Vinnie

First Mention of Homelessness

Genesis 4:10-16

In the year 1805, some plotters tried to set up a new government in some of the southern states. When the plot was discovered, the traitors were tried for conspiracy against the United States government. One of them was Philip Nolan, an Army officer. During his trial, the president of the court asked Nolan whether he wished to say anything to show that he had always been faithful to the United States. Nolan replied, "I wish I may never hear of the United States again!"

He got his wish. Nolan was put on a Navy ship with instructions that he should never hear the name of his country or get any information about it. Years went by. Nolan became a changed man. In his heart, he had an intense love for the US. After his death, a note with his last request was found in his Bible. The note said: "Bury me in the sea, it has been my home and I love it. But will not someone set up a stone for my memory at Fort Adams or at Orleans, that my disgrace may not be more than I ought to bear? Say on it: 'In memory of Philip Nolan, lieutenant in the Army of the United States. He loved his country as no other man has loved her. We have come to know this story as “A Man Without a Country.” 

Cain had a similar experience. The title for his life might have been “A Man Without a Home.” God cursed Cain and made him leave his hometown because he strayed from God and murdered his brother. This is the first mention of homelessness that I can find in the Bible. 

·     In Genesis 4:9, Cain asked, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” Cain missed the point of being part of a family. Instead of learning to love and care for the other members of the family, he was only interested in what he could get out of them. How are you caring for your family or friends these days?

·     Both Philip Nolan and Cain believed that the punishment and disgrace they brought on themselves was more than they could bear. Do you think God has ever corrected you because of the way that you treated someone in your family? If so, was the punishment more than you could bear? Confess and forsake that sin because Christ has already died to bear that sin for you.   

·     The saddest part of Cain’s ordeal was that when he left home he also left the presence of the Lord (Genesis 4:16). Sin has devastating effects, the most severe effect is that it separates us from fellowship with God. Is there sin separating you from God today?