Saturday, May 17, 2014

May 17: Crouching at the door

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 4:6-8  HCSB)

Isn’t sin always crouching at everyone’s door? Why did God make this generic statement that seemingly applies to the entire world at this very crucial moment in Cain’s life? Within the next two verses Cain suddenly went out and murdered his own brother in a shocking fit of jealousy—humanity’s first murder. The Bible had barely begun and we already have uncontrolled anger and death… these are not modern problems, they’ve been around since the very beginning of time.

The truth is, this piece of advice was not generic and general at all, it was exactly what Cain needed to hear. It could have given him the push he needed to turn things around if he had only listened. God promised that if he did what was right, he would be accepted. In other words, “Cain, you can turn this situation around right now. You’ve made a mistake but it can be fixed. Just do what is right. I’m ready to accept you, hear your prayers, and bless you as soon as you do.” This word had the power to change everything, but Cain chose to do the opposite and committed what must have been the worst sin of his life.

Doing what is right has its rewards. The world may not notice, our situation may not immediately change, but God will see and approve of us. But the devil is constantly fighting to convince us that this promise cannot be trusted. We’re tempted to take things into our own hands because we feel we can’t count on God to deal with our situation, when in truth, God is waiting for us to place our trust 100% in Him so that He can resolve the matter.

Another important point to be made about this promise is that sin is crouching at the door of those who do not do what’s right, who insist on doing things their way. Both Cain and Abel had just finished giving offerings to God, and because Abel had given his very best as an expression of deep love and respect… God had been pleased with him—not with his brother. Cain had given, but had not given his best, and therefore did not express deep love and respect. This is the setting for God’s words to him. 

Sin is always trying to drag us down — all of us. But when we’re not doing what’s right, sin is crouching at our door, and resisting it is far more difficult than for those who’ve been doing what’s right. When we’re close to God, walking by faith, and making sacrifices, sin is there but our eyes are open, the attraction is weakened, and it doesn’t take a great deal of effort to resist it. It’s as if we have a hedge of protection around us, and the light of God in our inner-selves reveals the ugliness and shallowness of sin, so our fight against it is fairly easy.

Either way, we all have the responsibility to rule over sin.  I don’t know about you, but I want to walk the path of righteous Abel, not Cain.

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