“If you do what is right, will you not be accepted?” Genesis 4:7 (NIV)
We don’t know whether God spoke to Cain when he was at the altar or later. But let’s assume for a moment that God spoke to him in an audible voice, as He often did in the early part of the Old Testament.
Cain was still smoldering when God spoke to him, “Why are you angry?” (4:6). “Why the long face?” Cain knew the answer. “Because I’m fed up with my stupid little brother. Because when he brings an offering, you put on a great fireworks display, but when I bring one nothing happens.” That’s what he was thinking, but of course, he didn’t say it.
Then the Lord said to Cain, “If you do what is right, will you not be accepted?” (4:7, NIV). There is no favoritism here. God treats all people exactly the same and gives to each an opportunity. If you do what is right, you will be accepted.
If Cain had offered a lamb to God by faith, he would have been accepted. But lambs were Abel’s thing. There was no way in the world that Cain was going to do that.
But there is a way in which you can come to God and it is the same for all people. It is through the shedding of blood that sins are forgiven. God will hear your prayers and you will find mercy. Believe the promise of God and act on it.
How can any person find mercy from God and an open ear to his or her prayers? Is this true of the worst person you know? The best person you know? Is it true of you?