Daily Bible Reading Reflections

Rule or Be Ruled

Today’s Bible reading is Genesis 4 and Acts 25.

Genesis 4:6-7 contains a warning from God for Cain when the firstborn son of Adam and Eve was dangerously vulnerable.

“Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? 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.”

That warning is many thousands of years old, but just as relevant as this morning’s headlines. Take a few moments to think through what has been preserved for us.

Unbridled anger raises the gates of our hearts, giving “full vent” to our spirits (Prov 29:11) and dangerously exposing us to what is lurking on the outside. A “fallen face” is often the outward sign of an inward guard let down.

Sin crouches. Sure, sometimes it walks up and slaps us across the face, but more often than not, it is crouching like a lion. Prowling like a predator. Patiently waiting. Ravenously watching. Prepared to pounce. How remarkably terrifying are the words our Creator chose to use with Cain–“sin is crouching at the door.” Not, “a long ways away from here” or “as someone else’s hypothetical problem you’ll never have to worry about.” Sin is crouching at the door. Your door. And its desire is “for you.”

An unmistakable element of God’s warning to Cain is the principle of personal responsibility. “If you do well, will you not be accepted?” Cain was “very angry” (4:5), but just because he was angry didn’t mean he was “doing well” to be angry. What would Cain do next? How would he choose to deal with his frustration? Just as sin was crouching at the door, Cain’s opportunity to “do well” remained as a viable option. But the choice was his, and with the choice, accountability to his Creator. “Cain, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.”

Rule or be ruled, those are the options. Sin can’t be tamed. Sin is a liar. Open the door and it will devour. Don’t believe it? Read the rest of Genesis 4…

So how secure is your door? That’s an evaluation worth honestly making today.