Cain’s Lost Opportunity

While I have read the account of Cain and Abel dozens of time over the years, I was recently struck by one particular truth in a new and fresh way (isn’t God’s Word wonderful that way!).  In Gen 4:5, God expresses His displeasure over Cain’s sacrifice (more likely over the condition of Cain’s heart than over the sacrifice itself), to which Cain responds with an attitude of anger and despondency.  In one of the earliest and most remarkable expressions of God’s grace in all of Scripture, the Lord warns Cain of the dire consequences of continuing on the path he is on and encourages him that it is not too late, with God’s help, to change course and please God.

If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it. (Gen 4:7 ESV)

Amazingly, this opportunity of turning is offered before Cain’s fateful decision to murder his brother.  Sin, like a wild animal, was crouching at Cain’s door desiring to overtake and devour him.  Yet, Cain could still master it if he would repent and turn to God.

How similar is the situation we often find ourselves in today!  Listen to the words of the Apostle Peter:

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith … (1 Pet 5:8-9a ESV)

Satan, like a wild animal, is a fierce adversary.  When he is aided by the pervasive power of unchecked sin, those who fail to heed Peter’s gracious admonition are, like Cain, easy prey.  Cain failed to resist because he failed to repent and, in faith, avail himself of God’s power.

Perhaps you find yourself at an impasse in which Satan and sin are crouching at your door, seeking to devour you.  Every child of God is engaged in a fierce battle, one that must be fought through actively exercising faith in God and in His promises.  We must take heed to the Lord’s gracious admonition so that, unlike Cain, we may please Him.


About Al Huss
I am a professor of New Testament at Calvary Baptist Seminary in Lansdale, PA

One Response to Cain’s Lost Opportunity

  1. Wow – THANKS for pointing out God’s grace in this passage. It’s amazing how much we overlook – perhaps because we are reading with pre-suppositions that filter out some of the truth. Thanks Al.

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