It should have brought them together but instead it tore them apart. They both worshipped the same God, they had both offered their God a sacrifice and that is where it seemed to fall apart. Cain was a farmer, he toiled in the dirt and raised crops, his younger brother was a shepherd, and he raised sheep. And by all indications they were good at what they did. They were the first children of Adam and Eve after they had been expelled from the Garden for disobeying God.
Now I know everyone is sitting there thinking “I wonder who they married?” Well we really don’t know do we? Maybe God created more people, that would be an interesting theory wouldn’t it. Bible doesn’t say Adam and Eve were the only, just the first? Or maybe the siblings married each other. You understand that there were no genetic flaws at the point in history; they were only one generation from creation, no time for the gene pool to get a little murky. The reason that siblings marrying one another has been prohibited through the years is that there are all kinds of problems associated with their children, but that close to creation there were no genetic problems that would be amplified in that situation.
Now this is kind of an aside, but now that our government has permitted same sex couples to marry will siblings be the next taboo lifted? If we can’t impose our morals then would it be alright for two brothers to marry or two sisters or a brother and sister if they promised to not have children.
What about parents and children or Grand parents and Grand Children? I know you are saying “Yuck” but it wasn’t that long ago that people had the same reaction to homosexual relationships.
As a society we have already declared that religious convictions and morals have no place in the public arena and are not a reason to prohibit people who want to get married from doing so and we have opened a door we probably shouldn’t have opened. It is a slippery slope that we have started out on. But that was free.
So where were we? Oh right the two brothers and they both offered a sacrifice to their God, we don’t know exactly what all their sacrifices involved or didn’t involve. The writer of Hebrews makes this statement: Hebrews 11:4 It was by faith that Abel brought a more acceptable offering to God than Cain did.
But what makes one offering more acceptable then another one? We can make a couple of assumptions from the two verses that we do have in Genesis. Genesis 4:3-4 At harvesttime Cain brought to the LORD a gift of his farm produce, while Abel brought several choice lambs from the best of his flock. Did you catch that? Cain brought a gift, don’t know what it was, maybe it was brussel spouts, which would explain a lot. Able on the other hand brought several choice lambs from the best of his flock. A gift versus a sacrifice. Not just any lambs but choice lambs. And not just choice lambs but choice lambs from the best of his flock. These lambs were the best of the best.
Well the story continues, the scriptures tell us that God found Abel’s offering acceptable but didn’t accept Cain’s. And that ticked Cain off, and he reacted by killing his brother. Took him out in the field and attacked him and stole his life.
Now we don’t know if that was the intent all along or if things just got out of hand. Maybe he just planned on laying a good whoppin’ on his little brother but hit him a little too hard. “I didn’t mean to hit you that hard bro, come on get up. Come on Able this isn’t funny anymore, no more fooling around, Ok?”
In thinking about it I kind of lean toward that theory I think it was an accident, Cain wanted to hurt Abel but I’m not convinced that he wanted to kill him. After all Cain’s punishment was banishment and I’m thinking that had his actions been pre-meditated with malicious forethought and planning that God being a just and righteous God would have demanded a greater punishment.
So here we are on the scene of the first murder recorded in the Bible, the first time that one human being would take the life of another human being either intentionally or unintentionally. And what can we learn from this crime?
The first thing we learn is We Never Know the whole Story. All we know about Cain and Abel is summed up in a dozen verses spread out over the Old and New Testament. And at first reading it hardly makes sense, so what if God didn’t approve of Cain’s offering, it wasn’t the end of the world. God even told Cain in Genesis 4:7 “You will be accepted if you respond in the right way.” “Come on Cain, straighten up and fly right and everything will be fine. All you have to do is stop doing what is wrong and start doing what is right.”
But what was the right way? I assume that God was asking Cain to change his behaviour, was it just the offering or was there more then that? Maybe Cain only offering a token to God was simply the sign of deeper problems. It was the Apostle John who wrote in 1 John 3:12 We must not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and killed his brother. And why did he kill him? Because Cain had been doing what was evil, and his brother had been doing what was right. Now that’s interesting, Cain belonged to the evil one and had been doing evil.
I wonder how John knew that? I wonder if maybe during a campfire conversation with Jesus at some point the conversation turned to the first murder and Jesus gave John the inside scoop.
So what does that mean that he belonged to the Devil? Does it mean he had no choice in the matter and he was possessed or oppressed or repressed or what?
Well to answer the first question what does it mean to belong to the evil one listen up because John answers that very simply and clearly, this isn’t rocket surgery people, 1 John 3:10 So now we can tell who are children of God and who are children of the Devil. Anyone who does not obey God’s commands and does not love other Christians does not belong to God.
Two verses before that John had written 1 John 3:8 But when people keep on sinning, it shows they belong to the Devil, who has been sinning since the beginning.
So the simple answer here is that if a person doesn’t obey God’s commandments and keep on sinning they belong to the Devil.
And the answer to the second question is here as well because the verse doesn’t end there, instead the Bible, the word of God gives us this promise: But the Son of God came to destroy these works of the Devil. Destroy what? Those who belong to the devil? No, to destroy the bondage, to break the bonds that hold us to the evil one.
It’s bizarre, you see when we belong to the devil we are in bondage, we are a slave to sin and there is only one person who holds the key to our chains. The secret for you and me are the words that God confronted Cain, with and here they are for you today, Genesis 4:7 You will be accepted if you respond in the right way.
You see the person who holds the keys to the chains that bind you to your sinful behaviour is you, and you will only be freed when you are willing to give God the key.
The first murder didn’t happen in isolation, it happened because Cain had chosen evil over good, when it happened and why it happened we will never know but it happened.
The second thing we learn is There Is a Reason Envy is Wrong. Why did Cain kill his brother? Because Abel had what Cain didn’t have, God’s approval, and Cain envied his little brother for that.
He wanted what someone else had and he didn’t have. You see envy isn’t wanted something like someone else has it wants what someone else has. And if it can’t have that then second best would be if they didn’t have it either. The best example of that is recorded in Matthew 27:18 . . . the Jewish leaders had arrested Jesus out of envy. Jesus had what the religious leaders of the day didn’t have, he had the respect of the people, he had an insight into God, he knew the truth and they didn’t and they figured they couldn’t have what he had and if that was the case then they didn’t want him to have it either. You see that is the reality of envy, It is not enough for you to succeed, others must fail.
You ever think about the Ten Commandments? They got some big ticket items in there, don’t kill, don’t commit adultery, don’t steal, don’t give false testimony against other people you can kind of understand those things, they attack the very things that hold society together, and then they end by saying Exodus 20:17 “Do not covet your neighbor’s house. Do not covet your neighbor’s wife, male or female servant, ox or donkey, or anything else your neighbor owns.”
But that isn’t the only warning about envy in the scriptures, David warns us about it in Psalm 37:8 Stop your anger! Turn from your rage! Do not envy others— it only leads to harm. Jesus warns us in Mark 7:21-23 For from within, out of a person’s heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, eagerness for lustful pleasure, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. All these vile things come from within; they are what defile you and make you unacceptable to God.” And Paul warns us in Romans 1:29 Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, fighting, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip. Did you catch what envy was lumped in with? Murder, sexual immorality, theft, malicious behaviour. And then Jesus tells us that it makes you unacceptable to God.
Envy is not a game, it is a sin and it is dangerous. It’s dangerous for you and it’s dangerous for your relationships.
3) You Will Get Caught If you don’t get anything else from this series please understand and believe this point, you will get caught. I don’t know what it is that you’d prefer that others not know about in your life but you will get caught. Cain was sure that he had gotten away with it, but he hadn’t. He tried to bury his sin in a field, how do you try to bury your sin? Cain was convinced that he hadn’t been seen and yet he was seen and he did get caught. And you will get caught.
Everyone who sins knows they are too smart, too clever or too lucky to pay the price but listen up you will get caught, I can’t guarantee how or when but I can guarantee this you will get caught. It’s gonna come back and bite you.
Numbers 32:23 . . .you may be sure that your sin will find you out. Some one will see or hear you do it or they will be a participant and they will tell. Or you will feel so miserable about what you have done that you will confess. Or you will mess up either intentionally or unintentionally and leave proof, but be sure of this you will be caught. Maybe you will be like the man on his death bed who told his wife, “Honey I have to confess before I die, I cheated on you.” To which his wife replied, “I know and I poisoned your soup.”
But maybe you will make it through to the end and as you lie on your death bed you will think, “Denn was wrong, I didn’t get caught.” And as you step though into eternity and into the presence of God you will realize that Denn was right and you did get caught. Because the Word of God says in Psalm 11:4 But the Lord is in his holy Temple; the Lord still rules from heaven. He watches everything closely, examining everyone on earth.
That day in the field when Cain decided to end his brother’s life, whether it was intentional or unintentional, was the beginning of the path that mankind still walks. And understand that it is a matter of degrees. The person who takes one life, is the same as Paul Bernardo who took several, or Robert Pickton who has been charged with taking many, or the 9/11 terrorists who took thousands or Hitler and Stalin who took millions. And in most cases they begin with something much smaller then murderous rage, the seed is resentment, envy, jealousy or hatred.
You may not be able to control how others feel about you but you are in complete control about how you feel about others. Confucius said: “Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.” And Jesus said Matthew 5:21-22 “You have heard that the law of Moses says, ‘Do not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.’ But I say, if you are angry with someone, you are subject to judgment!
So where you at? Maybe you aren’t ready to use the rock, just yet but is there envy in your heart for someone in your life, or do you feel like you’ve been done wrong by someone you have a relationship with? The time to clear that up is right now, not later but now.
First you need to confess it to God because it’s a sin and then you need to let it go. The bible tells us that when we ask God to forgive us that he casts our sin as far as the east is from the west, that’s were you need to put those destructive thoughts and attitudes. You need to get rid of them and with God’s help you can.
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