[16APRIL2012] Eastertide Devotional Series
I will be posting this devotional series as part of my Eastertide reflections for the next three weeks (see this link for other installments in the series). Each week of this devotional series focuses on a specific theme (week one: brokenness, week two: repentance, and week three: renewal). I hope you’ll enjoy the series and I invite you to comment here on the blog or email me direct; I would love to hear your thoughts.
Repentance: Week 2 | Day 2
Scripture Reading: Genesis 4:1-16
“The beginning of the pride of man is to fall away from God… Original sin is common to all, regardless of the personal sins of each other.” Augustine
We can only speculate why God accepted the gift of Abel, but not that of Cain; we don’t have enough information, but I assume there might have been something about the nature of the gift and the attitude in which it was given to God. In any event, the account continues and tells us that Abel and his gift were accepted, but Cain was not accepted nor was his gift…this put Cain in a mood—“This made Cain very angry, and he looked dejected.”
Now, one thing I find very interesting and encouraging, Cain is not disregarded by God. God responds to Cain as a Father or so it seems. The act of God rejecting Cain’s offering provides for a teachable moment. I think this might just be our first lesson in repentance. While there may be several lessons in this passage of Scripture, I believe one of the main points of this event between Cain and God is about repentance.
Picking up with the account, Abel is accepted and Cain is not, but God doesn’t leave Cain hanging. God loves Cain and engages him in conversation; “Why are you angry, Cain? Why do you look so dejected?” I can see Cain in my mind’s eye, pouting with angry eyes…biting his lip and refusing to answer God’s questions. As God sees the bitterness and resentment of Cain’s heart, he continues; “You will be accepted if you do what is right. But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master.” Cain turns and storms off, refusing to acknowledge God’s words, refusing to “change his mind” or repent. Ultimately, he rejects God’s instruction as the loving lesson and discipline that it was meant to be.
There is a lot here to talk about, but what really catches my attention is God’s instruction and exhortation to Cain to “subdue sin and become its master.” I think the key to this might be found in the act of a repentant heart. Here God tells Cain thousands of years before Jesus to “subdue sin and become its master.” I am encouraged… if God told Cain he could master sin…and if I have the overcoming power of Jesus Christ dwelling within me, well there should be no stopping me from becoming the master over any sin in my life. I believe this because it is God Himself who has said it, but it doesn’t just happen. It begins with repentance: a change of heart, a change of mind, a change of attitude, and a change in direction. Then, with God as our guide and empowering leader, we can subdue sin and become its master.
Our Prayer: Almighty Father, You are the One who tells us we will be accepted if we do what is right. Help us in our endeavor to walk with You, to be sensitive and tender of heart, willing to change, willing to do what is right. Lord reveal our rebellious attitudes and show us the places in our heart that stand in opposition to You, so we might repent…change our mind and do what is right. We desire to be found acceptable and pleasing in Your sight. May it be so; to Your glory and for Your Kingdom sake. Amen.