Daily MannaWeekly ParashahDonationsTrinity DoctrineAudio

Daily manna from the Torah by Dr Ketriel Blad

Bereshit 1-5

In the beginning of

Genesis 3:22 – 4:26

But He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell. So the LORD said to Cain, "Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? "If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it."

Gen. 4:5-7 NKJV

 How could Cain have avoided murdering?

Cain, Adam and Chava's firstborn went through a very deep crisis. His offering to the Eternal wasn't welcomed. The problem was not that The Eternal didn't like what he had to offer, but the motivation in his heart when he did it. The Eternal sees what is in the heart and what lies behind actions. To Him, it is not as important what you do as why you are doing it. Cain brought an offering but this wasn't welcomed. The verses we are dealing with say that the Eternal didn't look at Cain and his offering. First, it is about Cain, and then, his offering. The Eternal wasn't pleased with Cain and that is why He couldn't receive his offering. What was Cain's problem? His motivation wasn't the right one. He sought after his own interest and not the Eternal's. He presented an offering because of himself or to show off but not because he had an upright heart before the Eternal. The Eternal is not impressed by exterior actions that lack kavanah – a right intention.

Remember this, dear disciple:

What you do is not the most important thing before the Eternal, but why you are doing it.

Now, the Eternal who cannot be fooled, wanted to take advantage of the occasion and teach Cain a lesson of critical importance that could have saved his life and his brother's. In some way, He expressed his disliking both of Cain and his offering. But Cain, instead of searching his heart and changing his attitude – make tshuvah – opted to follow his evil inclination - the yester harsh - and gave place to an anger that burnt inside him such that his countenance fell. The Hebrew text literally reads that his face fell. What happens when the countenance falls? I think that three things happen; first, facial expression falls caused by a change of positioning of the muscles; second, a downward or wayward look; and third, the head is tilted downwards.

When anger filled Cain's soul, he couldn't show a joyful or happy face. His body language spoke the truth of what he had inside. The Eternal asks him why he's burning with anger and why his countenance has fallen. In this way, He gave him a chance to reflect upon and change his attitude – to make tshuvah – but instead of hearkening to the Eternal's correction, he decided to follow the path of evil. The Eternal gave him a very precise word in order to prevent him from continuing on the path of death but to choose life. With that word, Cain would have been able to choose another path. How? By making an inner choice to change his attitude. The Eternal said that Cain had the possibility of subjugating what wanted to take control of his being. Cain could have subjugated his anger and prevented his countenance from falling. Cain had been created to have control in this world and also in his inner world where a battle between good and evil was taking place. HaShem gave him the key to get out from the cage of sin. How could he have done that? By choosing the right thing and saying no to anger, envy and eagerness to harm his brother. It was all about an election. What great power did Cain have in himself! HaShem gave him the authority to subjugate sin in the very moment that evil was creeping in his soul.

But Cain would not change and the consequences were disastrous.

We can learn two things from this: If sin wants to take hold of our soul, we have the Eternal given authority to say NO and choose what is good. We cannot blame anything or anyone for our sins because we are responsible for giving evil room in our souls. If we choose what is good, even if our feelings are burning within us, the Eternal will assist us to subjugate our mind and overcome sin and its disastrous consequences. A great power is required for taking control of our minds, more than the power required for taking a city, as it is written in Proverbs 16:32: "He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, And he who rules his spirit than he who takes the city" (NKJV). That power is within man. The Eternal told Cain that he could rule over sin. That is why only he was responsible for having neglected good and following evil and its consequences. Evil begins inside of us and in it is inside us that we have to win the battle between good and evil.

The second thing we can learn from this text is that The Eternal is not pleased by a fallen countenance. He created us to be glad, not depressed, fallen or bitter. We can choose not to let our countenances fall during times of struggle and adversity in our lives. WE can choose to change and lift our faces.

How can we do this when so many heavy burdens take over our soul and in so many times? The answer is in Psalm 121:

A Song of Ascents.

I will lift up my eyes to the hills- from whence comes my help?

My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.

He will not allow your foot to be moved (slip); He who keeps you will not slumber.

Behold, He who keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.

The LORD is your keeper; the LORD is your shade at your right hand .

The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night.

The LORD shall preserve you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul.

The LORD shall preserve your going out and your coming in from this time forth,

and even forever more.

The introduction to this Psalm says that it is a song of ascents. It is a song that helps you rise to spiritual heights. Praising the Eternal with songs is the only way I have found that helps me prevent negative emotions or feelings from taking over my soul during times of hardship. If I praise Him in spite of adversity, He helps me to lift up my face as it is written in Psalm 43:5: "Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me?  Hope in God; for I shall yet praise Him, the help (or salvation) of my countenance and my God."

May your countenance always be upwards,


Flash Player Needed