Sin Lieth At The Door

Today’s Passage  – Genesis 4 – 6 (Click on the reference to listen to the audio. Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Matthew 3 – 4; Proverbs 2; Psalms 6 – 10)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Joshua 1:8

Read the “0102 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.” (Genesis 4:7)

In Genesis, chapter four, we read the familiar story of the slaying of Abel by his brother Cain. The events leading up to Cain’s murder of his brother are very interesting. Cain and Abel each brought their individual offerings to the Lord. Cain offers to the Lord from “the fruit of the ground”, presumably something from his garden. Abel, on the other hand, offered an animal sacrifice to the Lord, which caught God’s attention: God “had respect unto … his offering”, which means he gazed upon it and considered it. By the way, the Bible does not say that God was angry with Cain’s offering or that Cain’s offering was somehow sinful in itself; it just says that God did not have “respect” for it, meaning that it did not cause Him to look or gaze upon it in the same way that his brother’s offering did. Cain’s offering represented the work of his own hands from his labor in the garden. Again, it was certainly right for Cain to give back to the Lord a portion of what the Lord had blessed him with, but it seems that Cain was offering this fruit as a means of obtaining God’s favor, and as an atonement for his sins. Hebrews tells us that “without shedding of [Christ’s] blood is no remission“. God was very pleased with Abel’s offering because it was a blood sacrifice, which pictured the blood that the Lord Jesus would someday shed on Calvary for the sins of the world.

There is a phrase in verse seven that has always intrigued me: “if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door“. What does this mean? There are some theologians who believe that the word “sin” in that verse means “sin offering”. The Hebrew word for sin in  verse seven is chatta’ath, which has been translated into the phrase “sin offering” over 100 times in other Old Testament passages. This theory is very logical in that when people did sin, they could offer a sin offering, which served as a type or picture of Christ’s offering of Himself on the Cross. However, in my opinion the phrase in Genesis 4:7 is not speaking about a sin offering, but rather it is alluding to a personification of sin that is waiting to pounce on us like a ravenous beast and put us in bondage if we yield to it. Cain was angry because God did not respect his offering as He did Abel’s, and that anger inside of Cain was driving him over the edge. Anger in itself is not a sin, but it can cause us to sin, and this is certainly what happened to Cain. His anger turned into wrath and in his wrath he murdered his brother. God was warning Cain that his anger, which was completely unjustified because it was directed against a righteous God, was going to lead him further down the road into sinful actions. Even though Cain’s anger was an emotion that he perhaps could not control, he should still have repented of the way he felt, recognizing that his emotions were not in agreement with God. And, he could have asked God to help him deal with his emotions. Instead, however, he allowed his unjustified anger to cause him to go out of the door of God’s will where sin pounced on him.

Don’t allow sinful thoughts or even irrational emotions to develop into actions that are in rebellion to the will of God. What can you do:

  1. Recognize that your thoughts and emotions may very well be rooted in your sinful flesh and are thus, outside of the will of God. Cain’s anger was a result of his jealousy. He was jealous of his brother because God was pleased with Abel’s offering, and “did not have respect” unto his own. He wasn’t thinking right to start with, which eventually lead to more irrational thinking.
  2. Restrain your thoughts, emotions, and actions. The last phrase in verse seven, “and thou shalt rule over him“, literally means that we must rule over our sinful thoughts and emotions – we must control them. Through the indwelling Holy Spirit of God, we can have victory over our sinful thoughts. Paul said to the Christian, “for sin shall not have dominion over you” (Romans 6:14) We can control what we think about (Philippians 4:8), and we can “cast down sinful or irrational imaginations. (2 Corinthians 10:5)
  3. Repent and ask God to help you. Turn away from the sinful direction with which you were heading. Ask God to help you. I think God wants to help you do what pleases Him.

Don’t be like Cain. A sinful progression eventually caused him to murder his only brother. What a shame. It didn’t’t have to happen to him, and it doesn’t have to happen to us either.


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