Devotionals Genesis


Have you experienced temptation that overwhelms you? It starts off rather slowly and as time passes there is a build up to such a point of passion that even though you know succumbing to the temptation is wrong and sinful, you are unable to control yourself … and you sin. The natural answer to my question is a definite “yes” … yes by all of us. Temptation is an awful thing and at times the sinful part of us refuses to back down resulting in the passion increasing to the point of no return. Then in our case we are conscience stricken as the Holy Spirit working in our hearts brings us to remorse and hopefully, confession and repentance. The later part of this does not apply to Cain! Yes there was temptation and passion and passing the point of no return … but there was no conscience here. The Holy Spirit does not work in his heart. The passage does not permit that. As soon as the offerings were presented, our text says:

Ge 4:6 Then the LORD said to Cain.

Please read:

Ge 4:6 Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 7 If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.” 8 Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.” And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.

1) God’s warning to Cain. There was no conscience and no conviction … there was God speaking! We cannot even say these were words put into Adam’s mind to speak as our text is very clear … Yahweh said to Cain! In a general way God works in consciences of all people but in a specific way He addresses His people by His Spirit. He takes what we know about His Word, Will and requirements for His people and impresses it upon our hearts. The shape of God’s warning here is two-fold.

(1) An arousement to evaluate conduct. Look at what God said in question form … Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? You need to see God’s grace here. He questions Cain. He asks why Cain is angry, leading to depression … to feeling sorry for himself. God rejected his offering. He ought to have seen this and questioned his heart for sin. If anyone should have been angry it was God … yet he reached out in grace! Has this jolted your conscience to think about the reasons why you might be angry or depressed or feeling sorry for yourself? Is it possible that the offering of yourself as a “living offering” is lacking? Do you realize that God speaks Truth into your conscience? He is gracious and gentle. Look at this:

1 Cor 10:13 No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

Does God’s Word not arouse us to reflect and assess our thoughts and desires? Does it not cause us to think seriously about the actions that might follow if temptation becomes full blooded resulting in sin? His Word is His gracious response to us when tempted. He does provide a way out. Our task is to take His Word seriously and avoid temptation translating into sin.

(2) The second part of God’s warning is a repetition due to the first part not being adhered to. If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? Once again we see amazing grace” in this question. It is as though God is giving Cain a second chance to reevaluate the first two questions … Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? Here we see God brining the real reason for Cain’s anger and depression to the fore. He did wrong in bringing the incorrect offering. He ought to have known better because his father would have taught him what to present to God. His brother did, did he not? Cain chose to bring the unsuitable, unacceptable offering. That is what was wrong. In fact, that is his first sin here. We have to see this because God says if he did right he would be accepted. How hard is this to understand? He had the opportunity to made amends. This is how merciful and gracious God is! This is true with us as well. God gives us many opportunities to “make right” as in doing the right thing … doing what He requires in His Word. When we respond like Cain in stubborn anger because God favors another’s offerings of obedience to our disobedience, our anger translates to depression where the whole world around us is wrong and against us. That is the depth that our “wow is me” progresses too. And then, on top of it all, our anger is directed at the innocent and against God!

3) For a third time God’s grace and mercy continued. But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it. Beloved, how gracious is our God? What a merciful Savior! Look at this third warning, broken into four parts.

(a) If you do not do what is right. Can anyone have the audacity to say God does not “bend over backwards” to warn us of how easy temptation moves to sin? The choice is there. The choice is yours!

(b) If you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door.

(i) This is the first time the word sin is used in the Bible. The word “sin” means “missing the mark”. Hitting the mark would mean being obedience to God and His Word. Missing the mark means failure … and in this case willful failure to obey God’s Word.

(ii) The word “crouching” points to a lion or leopard positioning itself to pounce upon its prey. Surely this reminds us of:

1Pe 5:8 Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

Where is this sin? “At your door”! It’s almost in the house (heart). Escape is still possible … but by now it’s difficult.

(iii) Why is it difficult? Because this sin that crouches at your door … desires to have you! That is satan’s objective … to have you! This is not a house pet crouched at the door waiting for you to open the door so that kitty can come in and relax on the couch! No … this is a ruthless, wild beast wanting to rip your heart out … it’s after your blood! Do you see how merciful and loving God is? Are you able to see how He escalates His warning? Now look at how it ends.

(iv) The warning ends with an instruction. The onus is upon Cain just as it rests upon you and me to use God’s escape route when temptation arrives at our door. God tells Cain … you must master it. As sovereign as God is in salvation, so must man be intentional in his part to escape the temptation. Put another way … God gives us 1 Corinthians 10 verse 13 (above). That’s His part … our part is to make use of what He gives us to counter sin! The Lord Jesus gave the apostle John some harsh words to the Church at Laodicea. Yet in them we find grace upon grace:

Rev 3:19 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. 20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.

Father God, this passage today shows us how merciful and gracious You are to us. We are weak and frail, yet at the same time You are strong and able. Empower us by Your Spirit to live by Your Word and in so doing, weaken temptation when it comes knocking. Help us to open the door of our heart to You alone … all the time. Amen.

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