The Book of Genesis begins with such amazement and hope…creation, the garden of Eden, walking with God …… yet it quickly goes down the tubes. We first have Adam and Eve succumbing to the temptation of Satan and the resulting punishments (e.g. death enters the world) that make their way even to the year 2023. But evil continues as we read about Cain & Abel. It’s really an awful story… a story of some of the worse things that can come out of a family….resentment, lying, anger, and even murder. Let’s refresh our memory.
“Abel became a keeper of flocks, and Cain a tiller of the soil. In the course of time Cain brought an offering to the Lord from the fruit of the soil, whileAbel, for his part, brought one of the best firstlings of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not. Cain greatly resented this and was crestfallen. So the Lord said to Cain: “Why are you so resentful and crestfallen? If you do well, you can hold up your head; but if not, sin is a demon lurking at the door: his urge is toward you, yet you can be his master.” (Gen. 4:1-25)
What are some of the lessons we can learn from this story? Well, Cain apparently was trying to pass off a half-hearted, 2nd best gift to God. Thru selfishness or laziness or pride, he put forth less than his best offering and God was not pleased. “Cain you can do better than that”. God wants our best.
Because Abel gave his best, God was pleased. Cain was jealous of Abel and was “bummed out” when Abel’s gift was praised by God…. resentment and pouting and disappointment took over. Be alert to succumbing to this jealousy when our brother is praised and we are not. We can either give in to resentment or we can “do well and hold up our head”. God wants us to learn from our mistakes and grow.
God reminds us that we need to be on our toes when we see this disappointment of sin. It does not have to end poorly…we can still do well, but “sin is a demon lurking at the door” and we need to master that temptation. We can do it, but it’s not easy. If we fail we can begin anew and do well, but if we allow it to master us, things will get worse. Cain succumbed to this temptation and things did get a lot worse, as he killed his brother and then lied to God about it. What chaos when we don’t turn back to God after we make a big mess with our sin.
Another thing we can learn from this passage is to check out our countenance. Look in the mirror…..do we see signs of being crestfallen and resentful ? These are danger signs in our self and in those we love. When we see it in others, in our friends, in our spouse or our children…. we need to reach out to them. “How are you doing… you look a bit down…. did something happen… can I help you?” Remind them that “you can still do well…hold up your head and see the Lord ready to help. Remind them that “sin is a demon lurking at the door: his urge is toward you, yet you can be his master.”
We need each other to fight that demon of sin, and to remind each other of the truth that God is always ready to help us. If we’ve made a mess, he will help us rebound and start again. It’s not too late. So look into the loving gaze of our dear Lord and know that all will be well with our soul. And that is very good news.
One thought on ““We Can Still Do Well””
“Jesus I trust in you” over and over has been my best immediate defense in temptation. Please Jesus, help to remember to call on you in those times🙏