Read Genesis 4:1-7
Something is stalking Cain.
Something is out to get him. It lurks at his door; it wants him.
He doesn’t know it. All he knows is that he’s been mistreated. God is unfair and Abel – well, Abel is a self-righteous so-and-so. Abel makes him furious.
I can hear the drum: da-DUM, da-DUM. It comes closer, but Cain still doesn’t know. So God comes to warn him of the danger – because sin is dangerous. Look at what it wants: him.
Different versions of the bible put it differently; the NIV says, “It desires to have you,” like a hungry lion desires to have a deer. Another version says, “it wants to control you,” making it sound like something from a horror movie, some evil alien that takes over people’s minds. Either way, it’s bad.
God sees Cain’s jealous anger and the danger it puts him in, and comes to help. I love that. Cain is mad at God but God doesn’t let that stop him. He’s bigger than our hatred and rage.
“If you do what is right, will you not be accepted?” Cain is given a choice, just as his parents were: do what is right (obey), or don’t do what is right (sin); but it’s different for him. Adam and Eve, caught up in the dance, were inclined to obey God. That’s why the serpent needed to trick them. Cain, on the other hand, seems inclined not to obey. God is trying to persuade him. Then God warns him, “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.”
Other versions say lurking instead of crouching and I like that better. The serpent lurked in the garden. He waited for Eve and offered her a different kind of fruit: “You will be like God.” It was a trap. The serpent’s fruit was poisoned and the poison creates a craving for itself that grows bigger each time you feed it, until finally it kills. All humanity was changed with that one bite. Now we crave dragon fruit: We want to be like God.
Cain doesn’t want to be told that Abel is right and he is wrong. He wants to decide for himself. That’s the poison: the craving to decide for ourselves – about everything. We still want to be the ones who ‘know good and evil’ – rather than trust what God says about it.
God tells Cain that if he does not master this hunger it will destroy him. It comes down to this: overcome sin, or be overcome by it.
The battle is on.