If you are the parent of more than one child (or if you have siblings), then you know the same factory can produce very different offspring! And so it has been since the beginning, starting with Cain (the older brother) and Abel (the younger). The story is well known but worth revisiting as it has a number of lessons for us today.
Genesis 4:5 - …but on Cain and his offering He did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.
Things to think about:
· The story of Cain and Abel begins with them each offering a gift to the Lord. “Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. And 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.”
o During this time there was no law dictating what should constitute an offering so there was no distinction between an offering of plants or animals. This was simply an act of worship and gratitude to the Lord.
o We do see that Abel brought fat portions from the firstborn (the best) while Cain brought “some of the fruits…”
o God knows our hearts. Why do you think He was not pleased with Cain’s offering?
· From here, we see that Cain became “very angry”
o What do you think it says about Cain’s character that anger was his dominant emotion?
o What would other possible reactions have been?
o One thing we don’t see is Abel gloating or ruling it over his older brother. How does this compare with Joseph’s behavior with his brothers after his dream in Genesis 37?
· God gently said to Cain, “if you do what is right, will you not be accepted?” But He also warned Cain that “sin is crouching at your door, it desires to have you but you must resist it.”
o God provides a wide open door of Grace to us when we have blown it
o However, Cain did not repent or show a teachable spirit
o Rather than looking to change his attitude, Cain sought to cause harm to his brother
· If there was any doubt as to the content of Cain’s heart up to this point, it is now plain to see in his conniving and murderous plan. “Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.” While they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him. Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel? “I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?”
o His jealousy was so out of control that he did the unthinkable and killed his brother. Let’s not judge Cain too harshly here though, Jesus told us that if we have anger in our hearts for others, we have effectively done the same thing.
o To add insult to injury, when God asks him where Abel is, Cain gets sassy and sarcastic – “Am I my brother’s keeper?”
§ We can have a tendency to justify our actions with an attitude that says I’m not responsible for the negative consequences I’m having on others.
· So Cain was warned and he didn’t repent. Sin always has consequences. That’s not to say there isn’t forgiveness but there will be scars. In Cain’s case, given his lack of repentance, God told him his work wouldn’t be blessed and that he had to leave his family and be a wanderer.
o Cain now moves to self-pity (my pain is more than I can bear), loneliness (I will be a wanderer), and fear (whoever finds me will kill me)
o God shows him one more act of mercy by promising him a mark that will serve to protect him from harm by others
· If you are the parent of a wayward child, please note that God didn’t put any of the blame on Adam and Eve. He dealt directly with Cain.
· Lessons for us today
o God cares about our hearts
o God gives us plenty of warning
o Unrepented sin has serious consequences
o Signs of a Poor Reaction to a Bad Decision
§ Won’t listen to reason
§ Blame others
§ Compounding with more bad decisions
o What did you learn from Cain’s story that you needed to hear or be reminded of?