“Buy the truth and do not sell it; get wisdom, discipline and understanding.” (Proverbs 23:23 NIV)
Last week, we examined truth and the story of Eve. This week, we take a look at discipline and Cain.
Home on the Range—the Driving Range
“In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the LORD. But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast. Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 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 master it.” (Genesis 4: 3-7 NIV)
Cain is like the golfer who sees the hole but aims elsewhere and then gets mad because he ends up in the trees. Really? Yet, God approaches Cain. Note—God is the injured party here, not Cain, because Cain rejected what God required. God still takes the initiative to restore the relationship:
- “Why are you angry?” Cain’s anger is unjustified. If anyone has the right to be angry, it’s God. Cain disrespected Him.
- “Why is your face downcast?” Cain retreats in anger because he didn’t get his way and had to experience the consequences of his choice. The fact that the relationship is broken has little effect on Cain; his conviction of sin and a repentant heart are missing.
- “If you do what is right, will you not be accepted?” Cain knew what to do and chose to do otherwise. He decided how he would worship God instead of letting God decide what was pleasing to Him. (I know better than God, so I will do it this way. I know God said __________, but I am going to do ___________.)
God gives Cain a warning, “But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.”
Let’s look at what Cain has in his golf bag. Truth is there as is wisdom. God’s command and his perspective are clear.
What’s missing? Discipline. Cain needs to put in some time on the driving range. A few private lessons wouldn’t hurt either. Practice on the driving range allows a golfer to work out the kinks in his stroke. He can familiarize himself with different clubs. Body mechanics, the short game, all can improve with practice under a watchful instructor’s eye. God was available to teach and train Cain. Cain rejects His offer and his lack of discipline leads to greater sin and ejection from the course.
Lessons from the Driving Range:
1) Man will never master sin apart from a relationship with God. 2 Corinthians 5: 17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” Why must God make us new? Is will power enough to master sin?
2) When we enter a relationship with God through Christ, God equips us with His Spirit. However, the body needs retraining. What tools does God give to teach us even before we hit the driving range? What have been most helpful to you?
3) What does the driving range look like for a believer? For me, it’s often life at home. How do you practice?
4) How about private lessons? Can you think of a time when God instructed you?
5) How does practice on the driving range carry over to play on the course? Does the discipline of practice or the lack of it affect your play? How?