Dictator or Daddy?

Genesis 4:2b-7 

Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. 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 favor on Abel and his offering, 5 but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. 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.” 


Many of us feel pretty confident that we know the story of Cain and Abel.  We remember that Cain rose up in jealousy and killed his brother Abel, because God accepted Abel’s offering and rejected Cain’s.  This is accurate, but do we accurately remember what happened prior to the jealousy and murder?  Cain interacted with God Himself.  And what did God say?  This is important because it shapes our perception. 


In verses 6 and 7, it says that The Lord inquired of Cain and asked, “Why are you angry?  Why is your face downcast?  If you do what is right, will you not be accepted?…”  Translation… “Don’t be upset, I love you Cain, my son.  You already know what to do Cain, just do that.  Do better next time.  Give it another try,…but be careful sin is tempting to overtake you.”  Far more than the judgmental dictator we often interpret God to be in this exchange, He was a loving Parent graciously training His child.  Not heeding this instruction Cain proceeded with the story that we know all too well.   


This beckons a question in our lives: How do you see Him; as Dictator or as Daddy? 


How often has the Lord lovingly instructed us, but we didn’t listen and suffered consequence?  Even further, we look back and we remember Him, not as a compassionate and wise parental figure, but as harsh and unrelenting.  Possibly even blaming Him for our downfall.  This is true irony.  The Father desires for us to come to Him like children, pure and innocent, trusting and teachable, yet we come to Him blaming and repulsed, screaming out, “I hate you,” like despondent toddlers.   We respond to Him like children, just the wrong type.  Paul distinguished the two, he called the lost world “Children of Wrath,” rather than “Children of God.”  When we respond in anger to His instruction we look like “wrathful” children versus “Christlike” disciples. 


So, this morning how will you respond?  It is doubtless that an opportunity for Him to instruct us today is coming.  Will we respond to our loving Father in dissidence, like Cain, or will we respond in compliance?  It all begins with how we perceive God in our lives.  Do we see Him as the dictator we remember Him in Cain’s story, or do we see Him as scripture actually reveals Him,… as our Daddy?