We have been going through the first 11 chapters of Genesis on Wednesday nights at our church. Tonight we were in Genesis chapter 4. The story of Cain and Abel.
I was reading through Walter Brueggemann’s commentary on Genesis, and something caught my attention. The story of Cain and Abel never gives a reason for God rejecting Cain’s offering…
I’ve heard lots of sermons that made assumptions. Cain’s offering wasn’t the best that he had. Abel’s was. The text never says anything like that. It simply states the fact that God looked favorably on Abel’s offering, but not Cain’s.
We wonder why God would do such a thing? It’s not fair. Why would God look favorably on one person’s offering and not look favorably on another’s? We can hardly imagine such a scenario.
Or maybe we see scenario’s like this all of the time. God heals one person, and not another. Why does God seem to look favorably on one person and not another? The truth is that we will probably never know the answer to questions such as these, but the reality of life is that God sometimes acts in ways that seem unfair to us…
But what is interesting is that the scripture never tries to answer the question…
Instead the question becomes, “What will Cain do with this unjust treatment?” Will he become angry and bitter, or will he do what is right. The word of the Lord comes to Cain in the seventh verse:
“If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”
So now the focus of the text shifts from Cain’s offering to how Cain chooses to respond.
We all know what Cain chooses to do. Cain chooses to allow anger to fester until it becomes murder. Cain doesn’t master the sin that is crouching at his door…
What about us? We all live in a world that is not fair. Sometimes, it even feels like God is not fair. Will we choose to become angry, bitter, and cynical? Will we injure others with our words, and kill relationships with our response to our “unfair treatment”?
Or will we hear the Word of the Lord saying to us: If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? Will we place our trust in a God who, at times, seems unfair?
Just a thought,