January 9

Genesis 4:7 (NIV) 7If 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."

The first two brothers must have been taught by Adam to give an offering to the Lord. Perhaps the offering was a way of giving thanks for the abundance of the earth. It may have looked forward to the promised One that would deliver them from the dominion of Satan. God was pleased with Abel's offering of a lamb, but not with Cain's grain offering. We don't know why, except that God looks upon the heart. This verse tells us that Cain's heart was not right with God when he gave the offering. It was not the gift itself, as we later see acceptable grain offerings in the days of Moses. Cain's offering was a representation of his heart. He did not do what was right in his heart, and so, his offering was not accepted.

One sin leads to another. That is the warning God gave Cain. In fact, like a lion waiting to devour us, sin waits to devour our lives. The loving heart of God reached out to Cain with the warning that sin would like to dominate him, to be the authority over him, bringing him to destruction. But then God told Cain the correct response is to master it. Don't let it master you.

Is there sin crouching at your door, waiting to dominate your life? Master it! Don't allow it to master you. We master it, just as Cain could have, by looking to the work of the Seed to come, the Savior. Because of what Christ did, we can master it! His resurrected life gives us the power to master it rather than be devoured by it.

Cain was about to plot a murder because of jealousy. Read the verse again. Think about how this verse applies to you each time that you give in to temptation. You can stop the cycle or go deeper into it.

Consider: If you are caught in a cycle of sin, you can still master it by the power of the risen Christ, the Seed that crushed the rule of Satan.

January 9

Micah 5:2, 4-5a (NIV) 2"But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times."

4He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God. And they will live securely, for then his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth. 5aAnd he will be their peace.

When the Magi came to Jerusalem to ask where the Great King would be born, those who studied the prophesies quoted this verse. They knew the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. Perhaps they thought His ancient origins were in David, or even further back in Abraham. They may have even pondered that His origins were in the King of Salem, Melchizadek, who met with Abraham. But did they guess that His origins were even before time began?

He was predicted to stand and shepherd His flock in the strength of the LORD. He had certainly brought them spiritual food and drink. (John 6) His answers and miracles showed Him to be standing in the strength of the LORD. The prophecy goes on to say that He would shepherd in the name of the LORD. That means shepherding with the authority of Jehovah. The religious leaders were often asking Him what authority He claimed when He spoke and acted as He did. He not only represented God, He is God!

They will live securely."Do not fear those who can kill the body, but fear Him who can cast both body and soul into hell." Jesus brought a security that went beyond the physical. He has freed us from the second death and the slavery of sin in this life. His greatness has reached the ends of the earth. He is our peace with God. He has given us His own peace.

Consider: The religious leaders stayed with Herod while the wise men went to worship Jesus. Go to Him and lay your gifts at His feet. Find His peace, and let Him shepherd you.