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Cain, Abel, and the Sin Crouching at Your Door – Gen 4:1-16 PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Tsang   
Wednesday, 31 May 2017 08:10

 

We continue with the story of Genesis; after the fall in Gen 3, we see the effects of sin on the next generation – Cain and Abel. Cyrus pointed out three major themes in this story: The nature of sin, the Character of God, and a favourable offering.

 

The Nature of Sin. Sin is not simply an impersonal force or a set of destructive behaviours. Sin is dynamic and active and it seeks to defeat us. Like computer hackers trying to break into a system, the adversary is creative, intelligent, and crafty. When a lion is crouching, it tries to appear small and hidden, and then it pounces and attacks at the most strategic moment. We need to take sin seriously and be aware of the danger. How do we guard against sin? 1 John 1:7 speaks of the importance of community in helping one another from falling into sin.

The Character of God. In the midst of this story, we see God’s interaction with Cain through a series of questions: “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. (Gen 4:6-7). God is gentle, tender, and compassionate, trying to counsel and guide Cain toward the right course of actions.

 

A Favourable Offering. One obvious question is why was God pleased with Abel’s offering and not Cain’s? This offering to the Lord is best seen as a gift offering and not an offering for the forgiveness of sins. To read that God favoured an animal offering vs. crops is reading something back into the story of Gen 4 that God did not reveal until much later. The best explanation is that Abel brought the firstborn and fat portions whereas Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil (Gen 4:3-4). God sees our hearts when we bring an offering. This story reminds us that when we give to God, we are to give of our best whether it is our time, our tithes, or our service.

 

Peace and grace, John

Last Updated on Wednesday, 31 May 2017 08:13