Tues Sept 18: Cain: sin crouches

Read: Genesis 4:1-7, Romans 6:12-14

Focus: 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. (Gen 4:7)

During a day out in the high country in Colorado mountains, we suddenly stumbled on a rather large moose, grazing beneath a nearby tree. These huge animals are infamous for being tetchy; irritate them at your peril, because they have been known to charge passing trains, which is not a sign of great intelligence. We edged closer, bold because of the nonchalant attitude of the moose, who didn’t appear to be aware of his visitors. But he was fooling us. In a moment, his head came up, and he broke into a charge. He had us in his sights. We felt led to get out of his way! Thankfully, he ran out of steam before he could reach us, but it was a worrying moment.

As God speaks to Cain about sin, He paints a picture of a crouching animal that, as one translator puts it, ‘that is eager to be at you’. This speaks of the deceptive, compulsive power of sin and temptation, promising much, urging us to surrender to its wiles, subtle in its attack. No wonder we need to be aware of our weaknesses and diligent about our choices. But there’s hope from God even in the warning to Cain, because he is told to master his sinful inclinations. The call to mastery obviously shows that Cain was not a helpless victim of temptation, but could have conquered it.

Sometimes we excuse our behavior, insisting that we ‘just can’t help it’. We’re only human, we insist. But that’s not true. With the help of God’s Spirit, we can rule over that which seeks to rule over us. Sin crouches. Tackle it, with God’s help.

Prayer: Today I will be vigilant, Father, aware of temptation, yet not intimidated by it. Amen.

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