Me and My Good Friend Cain

Genesis 4:7 “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 master it.”

Observation: God here addresses Cain, who had become “very angry” with God because God had rejected Cain’s offering of produce while accepting Abel’s offering of the firstborn of his flocks. Seeing Cain’s anger and downcast appearance, God gave Cain a direct warning of what lay ahead if he didn’t have a heart attitude adjustment.

Application: Do what is right? God says Cain must do what is right? It seems like a strategic phrase, so it’s no doubt important that I figure out what “doing right” means. Cain had experienced one of my fondest wishes: that I might hear God’s voice well enough to have actual dialogue with Him. Cain wasn’t the only one to have this experience; Adam, Eve and the serpent (a talking serpent, no less) had such dialogue with God, as did Abraham, Moses and a host of other ancestors in the faith.

Why would I think that hearing Him “out loud” would be beneficial to me? Did giving voice to His words cause greater obedience in Adam? Was Cain more inclined to work on his heart attitude simply because he and God could converse audibly? Sadly, no. The crystal clarity of God’s warnings had no apparent impact on a rebellious heart’s unwillingness to be broken into glad submission to his creator.

Why do I think I am different? “If only I could hear You better, Lord,” I plead. I find myself at this crossroad or that and my heart longs to hear Him better, to be able to more clearly discern His direction moment by moment. So why doesn’t it happen for me as it did for Cain? More to the point, why do I think I would use such self-disclosure by God to do better in His eyes than did His beloved Adam?

It comes to this: I must long to love and pursue Him with a whole heart regardless of His method of revelation. It isn’t about my making the best business decision, marrying the “right” person, or deciding against slipping office supplies from work into my purse. It’s about loving Him above all else, above all others. Death to flesh would have been an immeasurable help to Adam and to Cain. And to me.

Prayer: Father, it is flesh that rises against You in every instance. It isn’t how well I hear that matters, but how well I love, isn’t it? Break my heart, Lord, over Your brokenness for me.

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