As I opened by bible today for a brief break earlier while at work, the pages fell open to Genesis 4. I began reading and boing! I was reading something I really had paid little attention to in the past.
Chapter 4 discusses the seeding of Cain and Abel, and momentous events in their lives. Later on in the chapter it mentions the seeding of Seth. We know the story, Abel became a keeper of flocks and Cain worked the soil. They both brought offerings to the Lord. Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil and Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The story goes on to state that the Lord looked with favor upon Abel and his offering, but had no favor upon Cain and his offering. Why? I asked self as I have done many times before when reading this chapter. I arrived at a conclusion a while back, that my answer and God’s favor hid in the wording that I have bolded above.
Ages ago, I use to catch an attitude about God’s actions when reading this because I was thinking, how could God not show favor to Cain ?..…he gave an offering from things he grew in the soil, but most importantly he gave to God. We all know gardening is not a simple task and most of us put our heart into it. However……..Thank you Holy Spirit for providing the understanding through the years.
Cain just brought some and appeared to have given little thought about whether it was the FIRST fruit or last to give to God. Abel gave some of his FIRST born flock. Non acceptance from God of Cain’s offering led Cain to become angry and his face became downcast. I thought his behavior normal, because as humans that is our behavioral pattern when rejected, misled, disappointed and shown no favor when we think ,(not taking into account what the receiver may think )we’ve done well by our actions.
Before I go any further, let’s scan over the words below.
- Angry- cross, annoyed, irritated, irate, mad, livid
- Downcast- sad, depressed, disappointed, discouraged, disheartened
- Countenance-n- appearance, especially the look or expression of the face
- Sin-n- transgression of divine law; any reprehensible or regrettable action, behavior, lapse, etc.; great fault or offense
The new lighting I found after removing the lamp shade is in the verses below:
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.”
There’s my “boing”! Did you see it? I have always loved how God asks a question and then gives an answer. How did I ever miss that God said “sin is crouching at your door”? Pull out your bibles and read the rest of the story in Genesis 4. We will discover within this chapter that Cain eventually, did not rule over that “crouching” sin, he was cursed by God and became a “restless wanderer”.
The other thing I want to make note of is how our countenance gives away what is truly on the mind and heart. I’m a great expressions watcher. It’s almost like a natural second job to me, but doesn’t pay the bills, (but God) allows me to own that gracious gift. Some of us probably wish that we could walk around with a face eraser to erase most of the expressions that show. Not happening! even with a mask on. The eyes can still be read along with body positioning.
How many times folks have we done something half-heartedly? How many times have we been shamed because we saw others giving someone else a gift, and we didn’t give…. then run out to buy a gift because you saw someone else give?
Besides, we are told in Ephesians 5:11- Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.
So back to Cain’s countenance we go. The lessons I learned from verses 6-7 are:
1. Doing right in the eyes of God is acceptable and that we should give to God from the heart.
2. Doing wrong in the eyes of God is not acceptable and has consequences. (Have you ever watched the Truth or Consequences game show? For those who are younger than I, here’s a tidbit about the show- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Truth_or_Consequences )
3. Sin is right at your door waiting for the right opening moment to jump in. The longer sin crouches, the more cramps it gets and can’t jump as quickly. This will allow you more time to practice taking control of the “crouching” sin. 🙂
4. Sin’s desire and Satan’s ultimate goal is to rule over the children of God.
5. We as children of God, heirs of His promise, “MUST rule over” sin in order to be in line with His will.
6. Sin is a thing. Don’t let THINGS rule over you that are not good for the Body of Christ.
Here’s one of my favorite reminders to self when sin tries to rule over me and change my countenance from being joyful in the Lord. I like sharing these verses with people whose countenance becomes downtrodden for whatever reason sometimes unbeknownst to me. It’s a great pick me upper and it pays to remember who you are in Christ.
Ephesians 5:8-10 – For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of the light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord.
Sticky Note—When you appear before the Lord while living on this earth, make sure you have your countenance in check. Remember that He is watching us at all times. Henceforth, whatever you do, make sure that it is from the heart, that it is right, and that it is pleasing to God, to recieve His favor.
Love Covers A Multitude of Sins