“Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the LORD. And Abel also brought an offering—fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast. Then the LORD said to Cain, ‘Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 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 rule over it.’” Genesis 4:2-7
Are you familiar with the story of Cain and Abel? It is a terribly tragic part of our human story, and it serves to illustrate what has gone so terribly wrong with us as a race. We see that Cain gave only “some” of his produce while Abel brought fat portions from his firstborn animals. Though Cain had done wrong by failing to bring God his best as a sacrifice, he took offense that God didn’t accept it! He was so selfish and self-concerned that he couldn’t see his own fault and need for repentance. Rather, he blamed everyone else and became bitter.
Notice that Cain even had a personal visit from the Creator! Though God had expelled humans from Eden and barred them from accessing eternal life, He cared for them and sought to guide them. He personally spoke to Cain and tried to “talk him down”. He reasoned with Cain and tried to show Him the way to life and acceptance.
It’s important that we consider God’s words to Cain carefully, Disciple. He told Cain that the rejection he experienced was not based on who Cain was but on what he did. Cain’s offering was not rejected because God loved Abel more or loved Cain less. No, God was responding to Cain’s choice. God simply couldn’t look with favor on a bad choice, so He called Cain to make different choices in the future.
Our choices and actions matter to God. He must reject the ones that are out of line with His kingdom values and priorities. We are responsible to Him for what we choose – no matter what others are choosing. When God looked at Cain’s offering, He wasn’t comparing it to Abel’s. No, He was comparing it to what Cain could have brought. Too many of us are like Cain and try to blame others or point our fingers at those around us – even at God! – rather than face our own responsibility for making lazy, selfish, or foolish choices. But in that word “choice” there is the same hope for us as there was for Cain. We can choose, with God’s generous help, to do what is right next time. We can choose to honor God’s kingdom way and seek to please Him right now. God is eager to look on our choices with favor, moving past the foolishness and failures of the past. May you embrace the power of the Spirit within you today and rule over the sin that “desires to have you”!
Learning to offer God my best with you,