Tuesday, March 8, 2016

God's Grace in Human's Dark Hearts (Genesis 4:3-8)

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 at favour on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favour. 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.’ Now Cain said to his brother Abel, ‘Let’s go out to the field.’ While they were in the field, Cain attached his brother Abel and killed him
(Genesis 4:3-8, NIV).

The brokenness and the consequences of post-Fall sinful-world reached a new level in the relationship between Cain and Abel, the first brothers. They both brought their offerings to God. Abel, a shepherd, brought the best of animal; Cain brought fruits and vegetables.

God accepted Abel’s sacrifice and rejected Cain’s. Cain was furious – whether angry at God or at Abel or both, the Bible doesn’t say specifically. Nor does the Bible spell out directly why God rejected Cain’s sacrifice, but it seems likely that it was the state of Cain’s heart – and not the technicalities of produce offerings verses animal sacrifice – that stood between Cain and God. “If you do what is right,” God admonished Cain, “will you not be accepted?” God followed the question with a stern warning: “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.”

Even as He look into Cain’s dark heart, God gave the first murderer a choice. But Cain chose to be a slave rather than master of his sin. His external anger was a manifestation of a deeper sin inside. Each of us has the same choice: what do we do with it is up to us. Remember, now we have Christ and His Spirit. We can overcome sins by His power and grace. In Christ, “You must [can] rule over it.” God is sovereign and we have choices.

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