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Why Are You Angry?


The book of Jude refers to Cain with a stern condemnation — “Woe to them!  For they have gone the way of Cain….”  Genesis provides understanding about the way of Cain and how God works with sinners.  Cain, the first person born, brought an offering from the fruit of the ground, and his brother Abel offered the firstlings of his flock.  God had regard for Abel and for his offering, but for Cain and his offering, He had no regard.  Explicit understanding why God received each as He did is not provided in the record.  Later, in the Law, both grain and animal sacrifices are acceptable, so what was offered does not seem to be the issue.  God does not look at the outward appearance, but according to 1 Samuel 16.7, He looks at the heart.

Abel’s sacrifice was by faith (Hebrews 11:4), which automatically implies he received and obeyed God’s instruction, God’s Word (“So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God” (Romans 10:17 NKJV).  Abel did as he was taught, and Cain did what he thought.  Abel’s deeds were righteous, while Cain’s were evil (according to 1 John 3:12).  Herein is the first way of Cain — to worship God based upon one’s own reasoning and standard (which has never been acceptable to God).  The Scriptures emphatically and unequivocably communicate that God, not man, determines how we are to worship Him.  Man’s opinion is absolutely meaningless.

Cain became very angry, and his countenance fell (which means he was sad or depressed).  The way God worked with him is extremely noteworthy since Genesis set the foundation for many things between God and man.

Genesis 4:6 & 7
Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry?  And why has your countenance fallen?  If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up?  And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.”

God dealt with Cain the same way He had done with his parents, Adam and Eve, by asking questions that provided opportunity for repentance.  1 John teaches us that we must be honest regarding our sin and specifically confess it to God if we want Him to forgive and cleanse us.  The questions to Cain were on the mark.  “WHY ARE YOU ANGRY”; “WHY HAS YOUR COUNTENANCE FALLEN?”  Cain should have responded by looking within to answer the question.  His immediate response should have been to ask himself why Abel’s sacrifice was acceptable and his own was not, while holding in mind that God always judges righteously.  The obvious conclusion would have been: “I have done something wrong!”  He did not question himself, so God prompted him to do so by asking probing questions.  The questions gave Cain opportunity to acknoweldge his error and ask God for help.  Honesty and accepting responsibility for his actions were imperative, as God warned him that sin was crouching at his door.  God did not ask the questions of Adam, Eve, and Cain because He did not know the answers.  Man MUST exercise free will to acknowledge his sin, repent thereof, and ask for the help of God.

Adam and Eve quickly responded to God’s questions by refusing to accept responsibility for their wrongdoing, rationalizing, and blaming someone else (respectively, the woman and the serpent).  Cain was totally non-responsive to God, rather he went to his brother and talked to him.  We know that did not work out well.  Had they the courage and good sense to really think about what they had done wrong and why, history would be much different.  The pattern set here for the way God deals with mankkind is consistent throughout the Scriptures.  A good example of someone who responded correctly to God’s question is Jonah.  When he was angry, he prayed to God.  When God asked why he was angry, he was open to learn.  God gave him experiential knowledge so that he could understand the truth.  Ask yourself why, and do not be afraid to find out the truth with the help of God.

2 Responses to “Why Are You Angry?”

  1. on 12 Dec 2006 at 5:24 pmVictor

    for further thoughts on this post, you might enjoy listening to “The Way of Cain” at http://www.LivingFaithRI.org

    Bless GOD

  2. on 21 Jan 2007 at 6:36 pmBud

    Thank you for this article.

    I often think of David, a man after God’s own heart. When he was found wrong he immediately had a change of heart and asked God for forgiveness. Once he was forgiven he did not walk around in guilt, but instead raised himself up and began to walk again.


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