Today’s Reading: Genesis 2:5-4:26
“Why are you so angry?” the Lord asked Cain. “Why do you look so dejected? 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.” – Genesis 4:6-7
When God placed Adam in the garden with the tree of life and the tree of knowledge of good & evil, the opportunity to sin was created. God blessed Adam generously but asked for obedience in this one area – do not eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good & evil. Disobedience would mean death.
God surrounded Adam with beautiful trees that produced delicious fruit (2:9). He also gave him a job to do. Now that he was done naming all of the animals, God gave Adam the responsibility of tending the garden and watching over it (2:15). So God made it clear – this is what I want you to do and this is what I do not want you to do. Tend and watch over the garden but do not eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good & evil. The opportunity to sin existed BUT God had fully equipped Adam with everything that he needed to resist sin and choose life.
God saw that Adam had one more unmet need, the need for intimate companionship. God took one of Adam’s ribs and created from the rib a woman – Eve (2:22). There was now something missing from Adam that could be completed when united with his wife. This union was a beautiful thing, a gift from God, yet another opportunity to sin if not used the way God intended.
So Adam & Eve had a choice – to do what is right or refuse to do what is right. Sin was crouching nearby, just waiting for the opportunity to control Adam and Eve. The serpent convinced Eve that there was something missing from her life, something God was withholding from her through His rules of right and wrong. Eve had a choice and she chose to be deceived by the beauty of the tree’s fruit and the desire for wisdom independent from God. She ate of the fruit. Adam watched all of this occur (3:6) and willfully made his own choice. He chose to join her in doing what they had specifically been commanded not to do.
At that moment their eyes were opened and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness (3:7a).
And with SHAME came BLAME. When confronted with their sin, Adam blamed Eve and Eve blamed the serpent. Their response was essentially – it’s not my fault! No one was willing to take responsibility for their actions.
“Who told you that you were naked?” the Lord God asked, “Have you eaten from the tree whose fruit I commanded you not to eat?”
The man replied, “It was the woman you gave me who gave me the fruit, and I ate it.”
Then the Lord God asked the woman, “What have you done?”
“The serpent deceived me,” she replied. “That’s why I ate it.” – Genesis 3:11-13
Their son, Cain, played the same blame game after killing his brother in a jealous response to Abel’s choice to do what was right. God warned Cain that his anger was inviting sin to come and control him. He commanded Cain to subdue the sinful anger and stay in control, but Cain chose to wrap himself in self-pity and anger. When asked where his brother was, Cain basically responded – it’s not my responsibility!
Afterward the Lord asked Cain, “Where is your brother?”
“I don’t know,” Cain responded. “Am I my brother’s guardian?” – Genesis 4:9
Cain was given the choice to do what was right or to refuse to do what was right. He chose the latter and God punished him for his sins. When confronted with his sin, Cain could have chosen repentance and confession. His response was instead (4:13-14) – it’s not fair!
Cain replied to the Lord, “My punishment is too great for me to bear! You have banished me from the land and from your presence; you have made me a homeless wanderer. Anyone who finds me will kill me!” – Genesis 4:13-14
Do these responses sound familiar? We continue to hear them today, sometimes from other people and sometimes coming from our own mouth.
It’s not my fault!
It’s not my responsibility!
It’s not fair!
God’s response remains the same.
He warns us – Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you.
He advises us – Subdue sin and be its master rather than letting it master you.
God makes it clear, just as He did for Adam.
This is what I want you to do and this is what I do not want you to do.
We have the same choice Cain did.
We can do what is right or we can refuse to do what is right.
“Why are you so angry?” the Lord asked Cain. “Why do you look so dejected? 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.” – Genesis 4:7
This is the message you have heard FROM THE BEGINNING: We should love one another. We must not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and killed his brother. And why did he kill him? Because Cain had been doing what was evil, and his brother had been doing what was righteous. – 1 John 3:11-12
Lord, we ask for wisdom today – Your wisdom. Give us eyes to see sin crouching near us. Give us discernment to separate truth from lies. May your Spirit remind us of the dangers of temptation and may your Spirit be the source of strength to choose what is right in every situation. Place in us the desire to stay within the boundaries you have laid out before us. Reveal in us any sinful responses such as – It’s not my fault! It’s not my responsibility! It’s not fair! Father, we look to you and we place this day in your capable hands. Amen.