Summary: We continue now in our Basic Bible Stories Series with the story of Cain and Abel. Previously we looked at Adam and Eve in the garden and the Fall of Man. Today, we see the “fruit” of that fall: children born into sin (Psalm 51:5).
BASIC BIBLE STORIES
Cain & Abel
We continue now in our Basic Bible Stories Series with the story of Cain and Abel. Previously we looked at Adam and Eve in the garden and the Fall of Man. Today, we see the “fruit” of that fall: children born into sin (Psalm 51:5).
As I reviewed the text, meditated on it and examined it, I saw a series of “two’s” or pairs; something I hadn't ever seen before. And it is by way of these “two’s” that I will present the story of Cain & Abel today.
Now remember, the Bible says, that these things were written for our LEARNING. So let’s not be so quick to dismiss the “old” story of Cain and Abel, and let’s not be too quick to think that we “already know it.” The Lord may just show us something we didn't realize before, and thereby using His Word to transform us today, more into the image of His Son.
1. TWO Sons (Cain and Abel)
Time had passed since Adam and Eve were driven out of the Garden of Eden after disobeying God’s command NOT to eat of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. And Adam “knew” his wife and she conceived and had a son. When the Bible speaks of “knew” in this way, it is indicating a very intimate knowledge, a close personal relationship, and in this case, it meant a close physical relationship which resulted in Eve becoming pregnant.
Now Eve had two sons: one, Cain, the other Abel. Although Adam and Eve had many children (Genesis 5:4), Eve was excited perhaps because she may have thought that this son was the answered prophecy of Genesis 3:15. Perhaps they were expecting it within their lifetime. Nevertheless, Cain and Abel were the sons of Adam and Eve and their paths would eventually become polar opposites.
2. TWO Careers (Farmer and Shepherd)
We read in verse 2 that Abel was a shepherd and Cain was a farmer (tiller of the ground). They both had two careers or roles to play; one no more important than the other. We need fruits and vegetables just as we need the wool of sheep. There was nothing evil of itself in being a farmer or in being a shepherd.
The Lord directs our steps and Cain and Abel had jobs to do in the new world as each of us do now. But as we shall see, whatever our position or role or career, we are to behave ourselves in faith without offering God the fruit of our labors which tends to boasting (comp. w/ Romans 3:27; 1Corinthians 1:29; Ephesians 2:9), but rather faith in His Word.
3. TWO Offerings (Pride and Faith)
The Bible says that in the process of time (Genesis 4:3) that Cain and Abel brought offerings. Interestingly, it gives the impression that they knew that they had to bring offerings to a specific place at a specific time, in order to address their sins. The Bible says in Hebrews that these sacrifices only temporarily addressed sins (Hebrews 2:4-5, 11). And, when Adam and Eve sinned, the only thing that could be done was to cover the sins until the time came to have them removed. This is the beauty of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. His blood did not just cover our sins, but removed them in the sight of God (Hebrews 10:12, 9:28; 2Coritnhians 5:21; et. al.).
Now Cain brought of the fruit of the ground, while Abel sacrificed one of the herd. Cain’s sacrifice was not inappropriate because the Lord did require offerings from the fruit of the ground from the Israelites (Numbers 18:12), though nothing is mentioned at this time. But, the Bible tells us something about HOW Cain offered his sacrifice.
He did it without faith (Hebrews 11:4). On top of that, Abel’s sacrifice was considered more “excellent.” So we have a sacrifice made by Cain without faith, and that was not as excellent as Abel’s. Furthermore, in 1John 3:12, Cain’s works were declared outright “evil.”
What was so evil, faithless, and “non”-excellent about Cain’s offering? Well, if you remember back to the Garden after Adam and Eve sinned, they tried to cover themselves with fig leaves. However, obviously this was unacceptable to God because God made them coats of skins, implying that animals had to die to provide these coverings; i.e. blood was shed. And, in Hebrews 9:22, it is the blood that God considers when it comes to addressing the problem of sin. Now, until Christ, these sacrifices could only cover the sins, but not “cleanse” them. Nevertheless, a blood sacrifice was ought to have been made. Therefore, Cain’s sacrifice did not consider the need for blood: God’s acceptable, prescribed way. Cain thought he would bring of his own labor to the offering; presuming that the fruit of his labor was all he needed. Is it not the same today?