“sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it”. Genesis 4:7
Crouching – Genesis chapter 4 is the story of Cain and Abel. It is a story that we have probably known since childhood God knows that emotional situations can become the seedbed for sinful acts. He sees Cain’s depression. He knows that there are two monumental choices facing Cain. Cain can agree with God’s assessment of the situation and take steps to repair the relationship. Or Cain can defend himself, refuse God’s assistance and let his emotional state carry him into action.
Sin is crouching at the door. Notice some very important things about this statement. First, sin is still outside. It is right there, ready to come in if invited, but it is not yet part of the emotional equation. The word used here is rabas. It means “a resting place”. In almost every occurrence in the Old Testament it is associated with “repose” or “rest after exertion”. It does not carry with it the idea of something evil lying in wait. In fact, this word is used many times to symbolically describe the rest of sheep under the shepherd’s care. Translations that imply that this verse means sin is crouching like a tiger, ready to spring into action probably miss the mark. God says to Cain, “Sin is in repose just outside your mind. If you choose to accept my solution, it will stay there. It cannot begin to work until you open the door. But if you don’t heed my warning, if you let this emotion take hold of you, sin will have the opportunity it needs to come to action. Be careful, Cain.”
Then God closes His conversation with this remark, “Sin’s desire is for you but you must master it.” Sin wants control. Sin needs control. The word for desire used here occurs only three times in the Old Testament. In both of the other occurrences, it is about sexual desire. Is there any stronger form of desire to take over someone than sexual desire? Is there any stronger emotion than the emotion of wanting to possess the object of my lust? God makes it very clear. Sin wants to own you. Sin wants a controlling, intimate involvement with you. And it will use the emotional gateway to get what it wants.
But God says that Cain can be sin’s master. It is up to him. Choose! You still have time, Cain. You can still reverse this emotional roller coaster you are on and prevent the downhill slide. Nod your ascent to my evaluation of the circumstance of your life. Agree that I am your King and deserve your tribute. And it will be acceptable. You will find joy. You will be released from this depression.