“And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the Lord. Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the Lord respected Abel and his offering, but He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell.” (Genesis 4:3-5)
In this passage about Cain and Abel’s offerings to the Lord, we learn that what we give makes a difference. At a first glance we might think that what both men did was good. But after closer reading, we see that Cain gave the Lord some fruit from the ground, most likely a dispensable portion of what he has, while on the other hand, Abel gave him the firstborn of his flock. In other words, Abel selected the best he had and gave it to the Lord. God does not need anything from us, but when we give, he wants us to give joyfully with our hearts. It is only right that God, who is the first and best should have the first and best of our time, strength, and service.
“So the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted?” (Genesis 4:6-7)
Here we see that God is kind, merciful, and patient. He offers Cain a chance to “do well” so that he might accept his offer. Cain had a choice, but Cain’s envy of his brother caused him to eventually kill him. If Cain had listened to God, reformed his heart, and brought his sacrifice in a better manner, would God have not accepted it? Certainly God would have accepted it and Cain’s honor would be restored. Cain had the power to do the right thing and to walk in the right path. Likewise, when we are doing what is wrong, we must remember that we have the power to change and do what is right.
And He said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to Me from the ground. So now you are cursed from the earth, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. When you till the ground, it shall no longer yield its strength to you. A fugitive and a vagabond you shall be on the earth.” (Genesis 4:10-12)
The consequences of sin are devastating. Cain was too proud to admit his wrong, and too full of himself to change his ways. He lost his brother, he was banished from his home, and he was exiled to wander the earth for the rest of his life. But God is merciful, and even though Cain had committed a heinous crime, God allowed him to live, and to start a new life, and God even marked him so that nobody could kill him. Even though we are weak and sinful, God is compassionate and gives us second chances.
One thought on “Lessons from Cain & Abel”