Genesis 4: 3-7
Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the LORD. But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast. Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 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 master it.”
This afternoon, this familiar story came to my mind and as I considered the passage, I was struck by the care God showed for Cain. What a compassionate God! He cared so much that he searched Cain out for a heart-to-heart talk and lovingly warned him of the sin that could destroy both of the sons of Adam.
The first chapter of James gives us a similar warning and a promise to those who persevere.
James 1: 12-15
Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.
When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.
Instead of repenting and bringing God the best of his crops instead of “some of the fruits of the soil”, Cain was mastered by the sin of his heart. He yielded to sin and missed an opportunity to really know and honor his Creator.