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Day Thirty-Seven

 

First Threads of Rebellion-

The Pain of Cain

 

“If you do well, will you not be accepted?  And if you do not do well, sin crouches at your door; its desire is for you, but you must master it.”  Gen 4:7 Amp

 

 

          This story is rich with application for much that we see in the world today – especially as it relates to confusion over why certain people feel so rejected by God, even when they seem to have a heart that desires His acceptance.   So we look for a moment at Cain.

          The first thing you must see is the choice Cain makes for his livelihood:  he is a tiller of the ground.  However, just over in Genesis 3:17 we see that the ground is under a curse because of Adam and Eve’s sin.  Now, they shall eat in sorrow and toil of the fruits of it – all the days of their life.  It is one thing to have to eat of it, it is another altogether to bring this as an offering to God.  Yet this is exactly what Cain does.  He brings fruit from ground that is cursed – expecting that it will be received.  Cain brings produce that is a product of ground that is cursed because of his dad and mom’s rebellion – and brings it expecting God to be pleased with it. 

Another point is, as part of the product of having eaten from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil – man now knows how to distinguish between good and evil – between blessing and calamity.  So Cain knows this as well.  He knows what is good and what is evil.  He also knows God’s prescriptives for offerings.

          God had already demonstrated for Adam and Eve the kind of sacrifice that is acceptable and pleasing to Him. God Himself had made the first kill to shed blood to cover them from their nakedness.  God Himself made — for both Adam and Eve — long tunics of animal skins to clothe them.  This was also well known to Cain.  Thus, animal sacrifice for covering and atonement had been inaugurated to cover man’s bad choices (even freedom to choose badly) – even his choice to choose evil and calamity.  This too would have been known to Cain.

          Yet, Cain brings an offering of cursed ground and is angry and indignant, sad, and even depressed when his offering is rejected by God.  That is when God speaks words of eternal wisdom which also apply to circumstances even today!  His says:  “If you do well [Cain], will you not be accepted?”  Translation:  “Cain – if you follow what I have shown you is My way and My will – it will please Me and it will be accepted.  Is that not enough?”

          God continues: “But if you do not do well [choose My way and will] sin crouches at your door; it’s desire is for you, but you must master it.”  Translation:  “Not choosing My way, Cain – is you giving into your way — which is not only rebellion, just like your mom and dad did, but it is a poorer choice.  It cost greatly – but you still have the same choice.  Sin is now waiting for you, hungry to consume you – My desire is that you master it Cain – not that it master you.  Whatever you surrender to, will rule over you.”

          Now what I want you to see and interject in this same scenario, is a young couple, believers – living together but not married, yet expecting the Lord can bless them.  They believe they love the Lord with all their hearts, yet their love is not framed in obedience.  Thus, they become perplexed and saddened when the Lord does not bless their lives, or recognizes their prayers.  They become dejected in spirit.  Yet like Cain – they approach God according to their own ways, ignoring God’s commands.

          Think now of the young man who has grown up, knowing and following the Lord, who becomes confused concerning his sexual orientation.  Deceived, he pursues that life-style only to become isolated and bankrupt in his relationship with the Lord.  Thinking he has been made this way, but deceived, he finds himself rejected by God.  Failing to understand how he got there, he too is angry, sad, and depressed.  This young man felt he loved the Lord genuinely and even served him, but he also did not frame his love in obedience to God.        

          To all of these – God says:  “If you do well, will you not be accepted?”  There is a way by which we come to God – it is according to His word.  There is also a way by which He has said He recognizes our love – it is by our obedience.  John 14:21 says, “The person who has my commands and keeps them is the one who [really] loves Me….”

          Perhaps Cain said in his heart (or even these others), “That’s just too rigid, too impossible, too narrow to expect someone to live that way.”  And yet, it is the rigid bridge that can support our weight and bring us safely across a great chasm, would we reject it as rigid as well?

          The key to removing such heart-break and disappointment in each of these cases is to actually see how intransigence and rebellion will never get us the acceptance and approval from God that we desire.  The very thing that we hold onto so adamantly – is the very thing blocking us from His acceptance.  It is our way, our rights, our will which we cling to so steadfastly.  We think we should die if we cast these aside – but truly we will die if we retain them.  It is our submission and obedience to Him which will bring us His approval; it is the true knowledge of Him which ushers in eternal life.

          There is indeed an elimination that is necessary! The solution, however, is not to eliminate our brother, like Cain did.  Nor is it to eliminate God – as so many unfortunately do when they feel like they are unaccepted on their own terms.  The solution is to eliminate the very thing which makes us unacceptable!  “If you do well, will you not be accepted?”  If you come on My terms, according to My way – will you not be accepted?  Indeed you will – and it is the will within us which needs to engage.  It is the will which needs to say, “I will obey.” It is there we will find the acceptance of God which we all need.

 

Be-loved, follow His way.    

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