A Short Study of Genesis 4:7
“If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted?”
Cain laid out on his altar the best he could of himself produce. He offered these things in pride fully expecting God’s favor and blessing. The LORD not only did not accept his offering but had no respect to it whatsoever. Figuratively speaking, he spit on his sacrifice. Cain reacted by being wroth. This word means to blaze up and flush the face, to glow, or to kindle a fire as in jealousy. Also it says his countenance was fallen. “Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18). To his anger and hostility at the judgment of God upon his character, the LORD said, “If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted?” (Genesis 4:7)
God is altogether good. He is pure in holiness and righteousness. “He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, even they both are abomination to the LORD.” (Proverbs 17:15) There is nothing in God to blame for our rejection. God places the blame where it belongs saying, “if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.” In almost every revised version the text reads, “if you do not well, sin croucheth at the door, its desire is for you, but you must master it.” (RSV, NKJV, NIV) Before we can ever hope to worship the living God, the rule of God must be established in the heart. Sin crouches at the door of his domain and will pounce on anyone or anything that attempts to invade his territory.
The testimony of Cain’s father, which was the testimony of God, did not affect any change in Cain. For this same reason it did not affect Israel in the wilderness; “Not being mixed with faith in them that heard it” (Hebrews 4:2). Faith is an attitude of heart that overcomes this world and the rule of it within us (1st John 5:4). No matter what it is in the life of those who find God’s displeasure in worship; the reason is always the same “Sin lieth at the door.”
“How can one enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? And then he will spoil his house.” (Matthew 12:28-29) Until sin be overcome by faith and the rule of Christ established in the heart, we will always be defeated in the worship of the living God.