“So the Lord said to Cain, ‘Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it’ ” (Genesis 4:6-7).
Since the Garden of Eden, man has struggled with the problem of sin (Genesis 3:1-8). Sin is simply the violation of God’s commands to us (1 John 3:4). All have sinned and fell short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23). However, how do we react when we are confronted about our sin?
After being driven from the Garden of Eden because of their sin of eating the forbidden fruit (Genesis 3:22-24), Adam and Eve have 2 children named Cain and Abel (Genesis 4:1-2). Cain and Abel in worship offer sacrifices to God. Cain brings a sacrifice of the fruit of the ground, and Abel offers a sacrifice from the firstborn of his flock he was shepherding (Genesis 4:3-4).
God was pleased with Abel’s sacrifice, but not with Cain’s (Genesis 4:4-5). Why? Abel offered his sacrifice by faith (i.e. in accordance with God’s commands, Romans 10:17), Cain had not. Later we read, “By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and through it he being dead still speaks” (Hebrews 11:4). Cain had failed to follow what God had told him to offer in sacrifice to Him.
When Cain learns that God was not pleased with his sacrifice, how does he react? He becomes angry and his countenance falls (Genesis 5:5). In love God tries to encourage Cain. “So the Lord said to Cain, ‘Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it’ ” (Genesis 4:6-7). God was eager to forgive Cain of the sin he had done, but Cain needed to acknowledge his wrong and repent of it by conforming to God’s Will.
However, how does Cain respond? Instead of humbling himself before God and repenting of his own sin, Cain responds by continuing further in sin by taking his anger out on his younger brother. He murders his own brother: “Now Cain talked with Abel his brother; and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him” (Genesis 4:8).
God knew what Cain had done, even though Cain tried to deceive God saying, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Genesis 4:9). God heard Abel’s innocent blood crying to Him (Genesis 4:10). Cain would spend the rest of his life on earth as a fugitive and vagabond (Genesis 4:12). His descendants would become very ungodly and depart even further from God (cf. Lamech, Genesis 4:23-24). Ultimately, his descendants would make up those who perished in the great flood (Genesis 6:12-13).
Sadly, many today, when confronted about the sin they have committed, stubbornly resist God and refuse to repent of their sin. I acknowledge that my own pride can lead me to try to cover up my sin and pretend it is not so bad. In love God reaches out to me through His Son Jesus Christ giving me an opportunity to be forgiven of my sin (John 3:16). However, instead of resisting God and clinging to my sin as Cain did, I must repent of the sins I have committed (cf. Luke 13:3). Today, I will strive to have humility when I am confronted by God or others about the sin which I have done!
“For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death” (2 Corinthians 7:10).