Our lesson title comes from a book by Herman Wouk, published in 1951, chronicling the mutiny aboard the USS Caine, a Navy minesweeper in the Pacific during WWII. This is not to be confused with Mutiny on the Bounty with Mr. Christian and Captain Bligh.
As you might expect we will not be arguing the merits of Captain Philip Francis Queeg or the actions taken by Steve Maryk. We will be examining a mutiny of sorts that took place by Cain, son of Adam and Eve.
As Genesis chapter 4 opens we are introduced to the very first child born into God’s creation; his name was Cain. According to verse two, in today’s terms, Cain was a farmer. Abel, his younger brother, was a keeper of the herds. (A perfect match for all of us who like our meat and potatoes)
Signs of Trouble
Starting in verse three Cain and Abel bring offerings to God; Cain brings fruit of the ground and Abel brings firstlings of the flock. God accepted Abel’s offering and rejected Cain’s.
(The type of offerings offered have been the subject of debate and considered to be a factor in God’s acceptance and rejection. We will not be getting into that today. We will however focus on the heart of each giver.)
Apart from the obvious there is another difference in the description of each sacrifice: Abel offered “firstlings of the flock and of the fat thereof”, in other words, he offered his very best. On the other hand it says Cain brought “of the fruit of the ground”; there are no words here to give us the impression he offered his best.
Cain is upset over the rejection of his offering and he is pouting about it. Who gives him council? Starting in verse 6 the LORD speaks to Cain to show him the error of his ways and what he must do to be accepted.
For those of us in a position of authority, and providers of council, are we greater than our Creator? How many times have we thought we could defuse a situation simply by our wisdom? How many times have we considered leaving a church because our council was not accepted? We speak on the outside and the Holy Ghost convicts on the inside but ultimately the decision rests with the person. God made it clear to Cain if you play with sin your desires will turn until ultimately you will be ruled by evil passions. Cain had received council from God and chose to reject it.
The typical response to these events is Cain was crazy not to listen to God. Do we not defend the bible as the inspired, inerrant word of God? How many times have we decided to reject God’s council written in the pages of His word? Who are we to point the finger at Cain? We should accept that we are just as capable of making the wrong choice and pray to God for strength against the urges of the old man nature.
Going back to our lesson title how could we possibly declare a mutiny against God? Whether the lesson title caused you to remember the events aboard the USS Caine or the Mutiny on the Bounty there is a common thread, our propensity to rebel against authority. It is no accident that we lean towards the actions of executive officers Stephen Maryk or Fletcher Christian.
The very first mutiny happened when Lucifer and a third part of the angels wanted to throw down God’s authority. Those urges we feel can be traced back to the Father of Rebellion and are embedded within the character of the old man nature. Cain allowed the old man nature, a nature within every one of us, to get the upper hand.
What happens next is a perfect illustration of the devastating effects of sin… Cain, so blinded by his own sin, blamed all his ills on Abel. In verse eight Cain rose up and killed his brother. Sin left unchecked will always be destructive. Do not be fooled into thinking your sin will only affect you; sin left unchecked will not only be self-destructive it will also affect those around you.
Rebellion’s Curse – Verses 9-16
When God reveals Cain’s sin, and the penalty for it, Cain’s first thought was for himself. Where is the remorse for killing his brother? Where is the broken and contrite heart for such an evil deed? One sure sign that sin is controlling us is when we become self-serving.
Can you imagine telling God He isn’t being fair? Cain tells God, verse 13, “My punishment is greater than I can bear.” Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to say and when you are done with your sin you will find out that your sin is not done with you.
This does not have to be our fate… 1 John 2:14-17 I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one. Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
These verses are council directly from Almighty God addressed to us. May God grant us the wisdom to accept them and overcome the wicked one.