January 16, 2023
Bishop, W. F. Houston, Jr.
***C H O F Ministry Bible Study Reading:
*C H O F Ministry Focal Verse:
Genesis 4:7 - Sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.
The fact that more and more people in the United States are abandoning their Christian faith might not surprise some of you. For every new believer, four others will walk away from the faith. According to one source, approximately one million people will choose to reject any affiliation with Christianity over the next 30 years. They are mainly young individuals raised in Christian homes, then deconverted.
A tragically similar "deconversion" occurs in today's reading. The Lord was known to Cain. It was very clear to him that he should be worshiping God at that very moment. Having rejected his initial offering, God Himself warned Cain that his next choice would have consequences. Instead of "doubling down" on sin, he should have learned from his mistakes and accepted God's second chance. Cain ignored God's warning, unfortunately.
The warning from God is a remarkable illustration of His mercy. (vv. 6–7). Just as God accepted Abel's offering, God would accept Cain's offering as well if he admitted and repented of whatever he had done wrong with his first offering (we do not know exactly what it was). However, the rage was "crouching at the door," threatening to enter. The closeness of Cain's relationship with God would be preserved if he could just say no to temptation and take God's correction in a loving way.
Cain, sadly, did not mature enough to recognize his error and change his behavior. Instead, he did not let go of his rage and instead planned and carried out the murder of another person. To make matters even worse, in response to God's inquiry, he asked, "Am I my brother's keeper?" (v. 9). As a result, he was unable to appreciate life in the same way God does or to love in the same way God does. Despite Cain's lack of contrition, God decided to soften the severity of his punishment by giving him a mercy mark that would allow him to live (v. 15). When Cain made his decisions, he prioritized himself before God. Because of his rage, he could not see how dangerous his spiritual position was and chose to ignore the truth God was trying to teach him.
*Beloved, Cain failed in acquiring knowledge, but we don't have to be like Cain! What specific forms of immorality are "knocking on your door" and attempting to exert authority over you? Choose to act prudent, seek the Lord's assistance, and emerge victorious from the conflict!
Let Us Pray:
Thank you, holy God, for giving each of us a conscience that acts as a check and balance on our sinful tendencies. Help us turn to You in times of temptation and when we struggle to break sinful habits. You have allowed us to exercise our freedom of choice and reject sin. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.