Jude 1:11 “Woe to them, they have taken the way of Cain”
Genesis 4: 1 – 15
Last week, I told you how I responded to God about work. I don’t know if you noticed or not, but Cain didn’t respond to God at all which, I guess, was a response. In fact, sin got Cain, just like God said it would if he didn’t respond in the right way. I have learned from this story that my responses to God determine everything about my future. At this point of the story, Cain is at a crossroads. He has to choose a path: repent and follow God, or stay in his anger and let sin “have him.” Cain is a perfect picture of all the wrong responses. Instead of responding to God in repentance, Cain chose to remain in his anger. Another interesting thing about this point in the story? Nothing major has happened. Nothing has been harmed except for Cain’s ego. Unfortunately, Cain’s poor response caused major harm…he murdered his brother. The innocent was slain because of the sin of another. Sound familiar?
Now, remember that we are talking about the “way” of Cain. Jude 1:11 says “Woe to you who take this way!” It is a stern warning. Let’s look at Cain’s second chance to respond to God. You would think that after murdering Abel, God would just lay the smack down on him. You’d think that God would just slowly torture him and give Cain a nice slow, painful death (good thing I’m not God!) Look at what God does…He gives him another question: “Where is your brother, Abel?” Now, just like the “Where are you, Adam?” we talked about a couple of weeks ago, God knows where Abel is. However, this isn’t about where Abel is, this is about Cain’s response. Isn’t it amazing how God gives us chance after chance even when we don‘t deserve it? So, how does Cain respond?
This is the part that scares me about this generation, especially those in middle school through college. There is such little respect for authority that it is really scary. The majority of kids talk to their parents like they are garbage and give them very little respect. Now, if they talk to their parents like this, I get to be the next in line because we teachers get to be disrespected next. I mean, if they talk to mom and dad like that, do you really think they are going to automatically go to school and respect authority there? Then, many of these kids drop out, or barely graduate from school and then soon show up in the arrest reports. They didn’t respect mom and dad, then they didn’t respect teachers and principals, and then they didn’t respect the LAW! Surely, they’ll respect God though, right? Wrong!
Cain’s response is the most brazen example of arrogance that I know of in the Bible. Listen to the cocky arrogance in his voice as he responds to the Almighty God…”I don’t know! Am I supposed to keep track of him wherever he goes?” In the Salem Standard Version he says “I don’t know! He’s YOUR favorite…YOU go find Him!” What an attitude! Do you see why this is scary? This is so prevalent in the present day and time. We are the generation who is OWED a living. We are the ENTITLED generation. Everything should just be given to us and we should have to do NOTHING for it!
Now, I don’t really want to talk about this, but God wants me to, so I hope that this helps some marriages out there. Here is what this part of Cain’s story looked like for me. Before I asked Tonya to marry me, I basically told her that playing golf was number one in my life. I told her that I didn’t want any whining about me going to play all the time…it’s just what I did, and she would have to be cool with it. Tonya has always been a human “picture” of God to me. She acted cool with my arrogance and just loved me and was patient with me. Well, during the first few years of our marriage, I still treated it like a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship. I made absolutely no sacrifices for her…I didn’t help clean, in fact, I rarely helped at all. When I did happen to do something around the house, I expected some sort of medal from her or some sort of praise or something. Eventually, in the coolest way she could, she started pointing these things out to me. Of course, I responded with “you know baby… You are right! You’re always right! Thank you for showing me the error of my ways.” …NOT! I stewed in resentment. I thought of all the ways she was LUCKY to have me. I was mad at the lack of her appreciation of me. At this point, I had a choice. I could either let this resentment destroy my marriage, or I could start loving her as God has loved me! It put me on this journey of figuring out what it looked like for me to truly have a sacrificial love for her. I read books on marriage, and I asked people who had good marriages what they did. I discovered a lot of things and started putting them into practice. Long story short…my selfishness was about to destroy our marriage. It was when I started doing my part that things changed. Looking back, I can’t believe that I thought she needed to change and just accept me and my selfish ways. Of course I did because this required NO CHANGE and NO EFFORT on my part. Years later, I can not tell you how awesome it is being married to Tonya Hopkins. She is by far the best thing that has happened to me outside of salvation. However, the road to a great marriage started with ME…not her! Just like Cain, I was faced with a choice…humble myself and submit to God and my wife, or stay arrogant and let sin “have me” and my marriage.
All Cain had to do was say “I’m sorry, I did what you told me not to do and I killed my brother…I’m sorry!” Instead, we read this arrogant response that is now serving as a warning to those who are taking “the way of Cain.”
The world does not need one more person who behaves like Cain. It needs someone who will wholeheartedly submit themselves to Christ and SHOW others what God looks like! Please, please, please, if you recognize any of the Cain attitude in any area of your life…repent and start brand new today!
Great devotional, Adam. (as always) I appreciate your transparency…and Tonya’s! 🙂
Praying for you and other teachers who are on the front lines of the battle for the hearts of our kids! Keep living out loud! Blessings and strength, ~Myra
It reminds me of that Kenny Rogers song “She Believes in Me,” and the lines in it “she believes in me, I’ll never know just what she sees in me.”what a great analogy Adam, how true this is of us!! How can I ever totally understand God choosing me, loving me?!! Just to sit and contemplate this is a blessing!! I pray that God will keep me from acting and Responding like Cain did… And as he Loves me, it will Cause me to become more and more like the person he already sees me as, more like Jesus.