Crouching at the Door

3 In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. 4 And Abel also brought an offering—fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favour on Abel and his offering, 5 but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favour. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast. 6 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 7 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 rule over it.”  (Genesis 4:3-7)
13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.  (1 Corinthians 10:13)
13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. 16 Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters.  (James 1:13-16)
When the Lord told Cain that his manmade sacrifices wouldn’t be accepted, Cain was faced with a choice. Would he submit to the Lord or would he fall into the clutches of the Devil? It is easy to fool ourselves that there is neutral ground when it comes to obeying or disobeying God. But the Lord uses a Hebrew word that is normally used for a lion lying in wait for its prey when he warns Cain that sin is crouching at his door, ready to pounce on him.

Cain should have learned from what happened to his parents. They had fooled themselves that sin was not as serious as God claimed. They learned the hard way that sin is never our friend. The Devil tries to tempt us close enough for sin to pounce on us and prey on our souls. God urges us to say ‘no’ while it is still crouching at the door.

The Apostle Paul talks about this same door in 1 Corinthians 10:13. He encourages us that the Lord always provides a “way out” for us to run away from temptation. If we stay where we are and allow temptation to grow inside us, then we will very quickly find ourselves torn apart by sin. The Apostle James explains that evil desires conceive sinful thoughts within us, which give birth to sinful actions, which become spiritually fatal. Eve followed this progression in her temptation. She looked, then she desired, then she reached out and then she ate. Cain is about to follow that same progression too. His anger is leading to sinful thoughts, which will in turn spill over into sinful action.

Later in the book of Genesis, we meet somebody who took God’s warning more seriously than Cain. When Joseph was tempted to commit sexual sin with an Egyptian woman, he saw sin crouching at the door to get him and he ran out of the door instead. We are told in Genesis 39:10 that he “refused to go to bed with her or even to be with her.” Let’s be like Joseph and deal with sin while it is still crouching at our door.
1)   What are the big temptations in your own life? Do you find it easy or difficult to resist them?

2)   Might part of your struggle be that you are entertaining temptation for too long? Cute little lion cubs grow up into savage lions! How might you learn to kill off temptation quickly, before it starts killing you?

3)   Do you spend as much time asking God to lead you out of temptation as you do asking God not to lead you into temptation? Spend some time asking him to help you to spot the exit signs and to flee temptation!
Father God, I ask you to help me to flee from temptation. Help me not to fool myself that sin can ever be my friend. Help me see it for what it is, while it is still crouching at the door to devour me. Help me to spot the way out early and to run for the door. Give me victory over sin for the sake of your own glory. Amen.
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