“The Lord had regard for Abel and his offering, but He did not have regard for Cain and his offering. Cain was furious, and he looked despondent. Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you furious? And why do you look despondent? If you do what is right, won’t you be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.” Genesis 4:4b-7
The Lord asked Cain why he was furious. And why did he look despondent? He asked not because He was unaware of Cain’s wrath and resentment but because the question posed was intended to stir Cain’s awareness of his sin (which was the cause of God’s rejection of the sacrifice) and to stir his desire for repentance. No one else was to blame for Cain’s conduct. It was Cain’s responsibility alone for regulating his own demeanor. In neglecting to do so, he not only missed the opportunity for his sacrifice to be accepted by God but his untamed wrath and the resentment in his heart led to the physical act of murder.
Cain expected God to accept his sacrifice because pride was at full work in him. When God did not regard his sacrifice, the initial response in Cain was not to question himself but to be furious with God. The condition of the heart is of paramount importance to God and still holds true today. Jesus tells us the stirrings of our heart toward others must be in line with the Word before we offer our sacrifice to Him (Matthew 5:24).
When Cain’s offering was not accepted he became full of intense anger which fueled the brutality in his heart. The Lord warned Cain of sin’s presence which bides its time waiting for an opportunity. Therefore, we must ‘rule over’ sin by doing what we know to be right or evil passions will take advantage of our slack. We are obligated to take authority over our thoughts and emotions and resist the lies of the enemy (John 8:44) as sin always begins with a lie.
Cain had the opportunity, as we do daily, to resist sin and receive the blessing, or give in to sin and be devoured. We have no need for despondency in life as our hope is in the Lord. If we do what is right we will be accepted. Let’s keep in mind that doing what is right does not mean being perfect. Just like God gave Cain an opportunity to repent when we make an error we also are given the opportunity to repent. The problem arises when we know the right thing to do but refuse to do it.
We must realize we are deeply loved by God and He knows our frailties. He knows what tempts us as He is the God who sees (Genesis 16:13). Allow this truth to flood your heart, “We have redemption in Him through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace that He lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.” (Ephesians 1:7) Even though he sees our trespasses the richness of His forgiving grace is lavished upon us. What an amazing demonstration of love towards us.
Thank you, Lord, for Your Spirit that guides and counsels me in the truth. Thank you for your gift of love and repentance that allows restored fellowship. Help me Lord to see my sin and take responsibility for it so that I may receive your full acceptance and lavishing grace.
In His grace,