It’s hard to know what was going on in Cain’s brain when he decided to murder Abel.
Obviously, there was some jealously going on (older brother to younger brother). Probably some shame in the fact that his sacrifice wasn’t accepted, but Abel’s was.
If I were to guess, I would say there’s probably a bit of hopelessness there too. Cain was a “tiller of the ground” and Abel was a “tender of the flocks” (Genesis 4:2), so a rejection of their specific type of sacrifices probably signaled to Cain of future rejections as well. (Debate on that all you want).
One thing is for sure though: God told Cain that hatred was in his heart, and if he didn’t master it, it would overtake him.
Sure enough, that’s exactly what happened.
Sin is at the Door
It’s an omnipresent part of our lives as Christians that sin is always “crouching” at every door.
Jesus prays in Matthew 6:13 that God would “deliver us from evil.”
And again in John 17:15: “…Protect [the disciples] from the evil one.”
It’s just a fact of life. Turn on the television or fire up your web browser and you’ll see sin (in a general sense) circulating all around you. Talk to a coworker or family friend, and you’ll most likely see a temptation to sin percolating shortly.
God was exactly right when He told Cain that “sin is at the door.” It’s true for us, but it was especially true for Cain in Genesis 4.
It’s Desire is For You
Sin wants to kill, maim, destroy, and devour.
1 Peter 5:8 says that that’s the ongoing activity of Satan — that he walks about like a roaring lion, “seeking whom he may devour.”
In James 1, sin’s full grown nature is to bring forth death for us. Why would any one of us want to participate in that?
Fortunately, James 1 also gives us the reason for that as well: “We are drawn away by our own lusts and enticed.”
Sin is like a Siren’s song, luring us towards the rocks of destruction. Promising us life and happiness, but in the end, only delivering death (see also: Harlotrous woman in Proverbs 7).
But You Must Master It
That’s really what this amounts to, isn’t it?
Sin is present.
Sin wants us.
We have to not want it.
That’s the battle that Cain had to face, and that’s our battle as well. We fight it every single day, in hundreds of different ways, from hundreds of different directions.
Over time, it gets easier to win these battles. But if we fail, we’re blessed to know that we have “an advocate with the Father” (1 John 1:8).
Cain took the wrong path. God help us to take the right one — and if we don’t, to find it as soon as possible