Christian Living
Cain's Discontentment
Michael Youssef, Ph.D.
Nov 3, 2018
Counting Stars in an Empty Sky

FOR YOUR GIFT OF ANY AMOUNT

We often try to find contentment by making surface changes in our lives—switching jobs, moving to a new city, beginning a new relationship—but nothing seems to work. We fail because we try to apply human solutions to a spiritual problem.

In the Bible, we see an example of discontentment in the life of Cain. Cain's restlessness began with jealousy toward his brother Abel.

We fail because we try to apply human solutions to a spiritual problem.

In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. But 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, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast. (Genesis 4:3-5)

Abel remembered his parents' teaching about the cost of sin. He remembered that God required an animal sacrifice. Cain wanted to please God in his own way and gave God a grain sacrifice. Perhaps Cain's sacrifice was just as costly as Abel's, but the price was not what was important. What mattered was obedience to God's commands, and Cain did not follow God's requirements.

When God rebuked Cain for his inadequate sacrifice, Cain responded with a renewed fury and hatred toward his brother. Cain could have used his failure to turn his pride and willfulness into submission to God; instead, he further rebelled and killed his brother. God let Cain remain in his discontentment and said, "You will be a restless wanderer on the earth" (Genesis 4:12).

Prayer: God, help me to remember that contentment is found in You alone. Help me to submit to You and find joy and peace eternal. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

"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 rule over it'" (Genesis 4:6-7).