Over the last three weeks, we have looked at people in the Bible in depth and the lessons that their lives can teach us. So far, we’ve looked at Eve, Adam, and Abel. Today, we’ll be looking at Cain. Between Abel and Cain, we know more from Cain simply because in Genesis chapter 4, he’s involved a bit more than Abel. But what do we know about him?
In Genesis 4:1-3 says, “Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, and said, ‘I have acquired a man from the Lord.’ Then she bore again, this time his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the Lord.”
From this, we know that Cain was Adam and Eve’s firstborn and Eve saw Cain as a blessing from the Lord. Because Abel was a keeper of sheep and Cain was a tiller of the ground, we can also immediately see that the two brothers were very different.
Genesis 4:4-5 says, “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.”
Just in this little bit of scripture, we can see that Cain’s immediate reaction to God’s rejection of his offering is that he gets angry. He doesn’t repent or seek forgiveness or act in humility. Instead, he chose to become angry. Likewise, when bad things in our lives happen, some of us can become angry. But instead we should be slow to anger and should seek God first and foremost.
In Genesis 4:6-7, it says, “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? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.’”
God knew that Cain was angry. And these two verses tells us several things about Cain: 1) If Cain had done well and had offered God the best of what he had, like Abel did, then Cain’s offering would have been accepted. 2) Sin lies at the door. It’s been tempting Cain, but instead of letting sin rule over his life, Cain should have chosen to rule over it.
Likewise, instead of giving into temptation in our lives, we should rule over sin and not let it rule over us. As we learned last week, giving God the best of what we have, whether that’s our money, time, gifts, talents, service, or anything else, will please Him and be accepted by Him. But if we give into sin, as sin and Satan desire, we are walking into a trap—a trap that sin itself has set for us and desires us to fall into.
Anger can be righteous—we’ve seen Jesus get angry at the people in the Temple and God’s wrath is a form of righteous anger against sin. But in Cain’s case, it isn’t righteous anger in the first place. And it isn’t innocent—once it starts festering inside Cain’s heart, it grows until he snaps. The emotion anger itself eventually causes Cain to cross a line that he can never come back from.
Genesis 4:8 says, “Now Cain talked with Abel his brother, and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him.”
It didn’t just stop at anger.
Cain allowed sin to take hold of him, just as God warned him not to, and he allowed it to take him too far—to the point of murdering his own brother.
When we sin, what should our reaction be? Because we live in a fallen world, sin is inevitable. But when we do sin, we should regret it because Jesus died to set us free from sin, so we shouldn’t allow it to enslave us. But when we do, Jesus offered us a way out—Him. So, we should seek forgiveness and then repent of our sins—to turn away from them. But that isn’t what Cain does. After God asks Cain where Abel is, Cain sins again and tells a lie:
“I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?” But more than a lie, Cain shows right here that he doesn’t care nor does he have any regret for what he’s done. He doesn’t take responsibility for his actions and tries to deflect away from it.
Is there anything that you need to take responsibility for? How many times have we tried to ignore the sin in our live because we enjoy it too much or because we simply don’t care? But if we love God, then we will care about it and even though we do live in a fallen world and won’t be perfect, we should still do our best to try to live in a way that pleases God.
Know that He loves you and I—He loves all of us so much. If Cain had repented when God asked Him what happened, I do fully believe that God would have forgiven him right then and there.
Don’t wait another moment to repent of any sin in your life. Your life is too precious to throw it away, like Cain did. That’s his example to us—do not throw your life away. Bring God your best and use what God has given you.