Genesis 4:6-7 “And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.”
Can you remember the first sin you ever committed? I would only be guessing, but I can tell you that there have been many since that time. As I grew, the way sin was dealt with both in our family and in our church at the time, seemed harsh and vengeful. Each and every wrong action had a punishment to it.
When you and I look through history, especially biblical history, we must remember to take with us guidelines for doing so. At the time when the Lord had come to Cain and asked ‘why is thy countenance fallen?’, He was lovingly instructing Cain what was acceptable for sacrifice and what was not. But then, Cain’s anger, jealousy and decided will against God’s instruction came forth in the form of murder.
In Genesis, the judgment placed upon Cain seemed harsh. Even Cain himself told the Lord that it was so. So, in looking at the punishment placed upon Cain, capitol punishment had not been taught, nor was it given to Cain. His action of taking the life of his brother was to separate him apart from everyone else. The lovingkindness of the Lord was shown here in marking Cain and saying,
Genesis 4:15 “And the LORD said unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the LORD set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him.”
Separation from the presence of the Lord was the punishment. God’s face would be hid from him for the rest of his time on earth. That mark, God’s mark on Cain, signified that to take his life, judgment would be taken sevenfold on that one. God’s mercy displayed.
Psalm 127:3 “Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.”
God did not utterly forsake Cain. He was blessed with children. He was shown lovingkindness, mercy and forgiveness. So, what to take from all this?
Sin lieth at the door… At the time Cain and Abel had made their offering, Abel’s was accepted and Cain’s rejected. We are not privy to the whole conversation that took place, but what we are given, is for our instruction.
Sin lieth at the door… As the relationship between man and his Maker grew, what unfolds are attributes of our sovereign, holy, righteous, and almighty God. With the learning of who God is, we see the teaching of good and evil, right and wrong and the consequences of both.
I am sure that Adam and Eve told the story of just how they came to be, who God was and their relationship with Him to their children. God Himself walked with Abel and Cain. Up until the time Cain decided to commit murder, God was waiting to help Cain understand how NOT to let sin through the door.
Maybe it’s just me, but there are times when I race past all the warning signs and plunge into my sin. Other times, I hear the warning and heed the voice of the Holy Spirit. Still others, when the pressure to sin is great, I come to God for the strength to withstand it in that evil day.
To us, those times of temptation may seem insignificant. But God’s instruction to Cain was that there was a precipice at which he was standing. The door to sin had been opened and he had a decision to make. Jealousy and anger rose within him. The outside pressure of wanting to be accepted by God and the unspoken oppression of the enemy moved Cain to take his brother’s life.
Did you ever think how this could have been any different? Say Cain asks the question of God, “How could my sacrifice have been accepted?” God’s instruction regarding the shedding of blood and Cain’s submission and obedience would have saved his brother’s life. Those small, seemingly insignificant moments could have had monumental consequences.
“Small compromises lead to great disasters or little sins lead to big sin sins” – Steve Curington
Let’s keep short accounts with God – the time between the committing of sin and the confession and repentance that follows.
This year is just over 24 hours old. Let’s deepen our resolve to go to God when sin is at the door.