Summary: Cain murdered Abel. Why? How does God respond? How do we respond differently in a hate and anger filled world? We love.
5.17.20 Genesis 4:1–16
1 Adam lay with his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain. She said, “With the help of the LORD I have brought forth a man.” 2 Later she gave birth to his brother Abel. Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. 3 In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the LORD. 4 But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering, 5 but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast. 6 Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 7 If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.” 8 Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.” And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him. 9 Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?” “I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?” 10 The LORD said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground. 11 Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. 12 When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth.” 13 Cain said to the LORD, “My punishment is more than I can bear. 14 Today you are driving me from the land, and I will be hidden from your presence; I will be a restless wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.” 15 But the LORD said to him, “Not so; if anyone kills Cain, he will suffer vengeance seven times over.” Then the LORD put a mark on Cain so that no one who found him would kill him. 16 So Cain went out from the LORD’s presence and lived in the land of Nod, east of Eden.
Easter is a season of life, especially from death. Life is a precious thing. There’s lots to love about life. I love good food and drink. I love my family. I love my Lord, who gives me all of this life. Love comes from God. We love, because He first loved us. We flow with love when we have life in Jesus.
How Do We Live in A Hate Filled World? We Love.
The opposite is life is death. The opposite of love is hate. This Old Testament lesson shows us why we need Easter: why we need life from Jesus, because sin brought death. Sometimes that death comes sooner than expected, especially at the hands of a vicious murderer such as Cain.
It all starts out with such a seemingly small thing. It starts out in church, in a sense, through a religious act gone bad. Cain offers some of his grain, while Abel offers an animal to the LORD as a sacrifice. There were no laws from Moses commanding these sacrifices, but Adam may have taught them how and why to do these sacrifices. They were giving to the LORD a portion of what He had given to them.
Abel’s sacrifice, the Bible does distinguish, came from the fat portion of the firstborn. Fat was considered the prime part of the animal back in the Old Testament. But that’s not to say there was anything WRONG with the content of Cain’s offering. He worked with crops, so he gave some of his crops. However, somehow, in some way, God let Cain know that his offering was NOT acceptable while Abel’s WAS.
So what did it come down to? Hebrews 11:4 says, “By faith Abel offered a better sacrifice to God than Cain did.” One offering was made in faith while the other was not. It’s that simple. Well then, why did he make the offering at all? Maybe because his father told him to, or his brothers were doing it as well.
Moses writes, The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering, 5 but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. It’s kind of interesting how this is written. Notice how the OFFERING is connected to the PERSON. God is never primarily concerned with WHAT you offer as He is with WHY you offer it. He can tell when you’re only going through the motions. He can tell when you go to church just because your parents made you go. He can tell when your religion is more a sense of DUTY than it is a sense of faith and thankfulness to the God who has died for you and given you forgiveness and hope in Jesus.