TOPIC:"Your Face Does Speak"
by Rev. Dr. Reg Dunlap
"Then the Lord said to Cain, 'Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast?' " (Genesis 4:6, NIV)
Abraham Lincoln, the greatest of men, once stated: "After forty every man is responsible for his face." What Lincoln had in mind was this truth: At birth we are not responsible for the way we look. But time has a way of making each one of us accountable for our face. The habits, the actions, the choices we make have a way of being revealed on each one of our faces. Every human being carries their life in their face.
The face is an index to what is written within. To put it in the words of William Shakespeare: "Your face is a book where men may read strange matters." I wonder: What do people read when they see your face? Do they behold a radiant personality with Christ at the controls? Or do they see only beauty that goes no deeper than the skin? I say again to each one of you, your face does speak. It does tell on you.
In this message I want to draw upon three faces from Scripture for our consideration. Each one has a message for us to behold.
Consider, first of all, we find in the verses before us a DEJECTED face. That is the face of Cain. We read in verse 6 the question of God to Cain: "Why is your face downcast?" The New Living Translation has God asking: 'Why do you look so dejected?" while the Authorized Version renders God's words this way: "Why is thy countenance fallen?" The Living Bible is more expressive: "Why is your face so dark with rage?"
To find the answer to that question I must give you this background material. Cain was a farmer while Abel was a shepherd. Both of these brothers brought gifts to the Lord. Cain brought some fruits of the soil, while Abel brought several choice lambs from the best of his flocks. Cain's offering was rejected while Abel's offering was respected. We are not told here in the context the reason why God accepted Abel's offering and rejected Cain's offering. Let me suggest two reasons, I believe, God acted the way He did.
For one thing, Cain's offering was a bloodless gift while Abel's offering was a bleeding gift. Abel approached God on the basis of a sacrifice, while Cain approached God on his own merit. Abel came before God in the true spirit of worship - as a confessed sinner in need of forgiveness. Cain came before God on his own terms and in his own self-righteousness.
Do you . . .