Studies in Genesis, Cainís Insolence, Lesson XII, Genesis 4:1-11
We are in chapter four of the book of beginnings so to review we will read verses 1-6.
Genesis 4:1-6, And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the Lord. 2 And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. 3 And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord. 4 And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering: 5 But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. 6 And the Lord said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? 7 If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.
(Notice how God promotes doing well and demotes not doing well, He does both, we so often neglect the latter fearing hurt feelings but God cares about more than feelings)
Now throughout the book of beginnings God commands his creation to be fruitful and to multiply.
And God begins this process with Adam and Eve by blessing them with children, the first of many, two boys, one named Cain and the other Abel.
Eve named her first boy Cain, a word meaning to get or gotten or acquired for she had said I have gotten a man from the Lord.
Did she ask, was this the man promised by God who would take vengeance upon the one who deceived her?
She will quickly discover the answer by Cainís treachery against her second son.
For that second son, a boy named Abel is soon born.
Now Abel means breath or vanity.
Is this name a connection with her function as the bringer forth of life?
For in Abel she has brought forth that which breathes, that which has life.
And then in our chapter four passage God describes their livelihoods for this is important in connection with Godís promise of a deliverer.
Both sons were tied to the land, Abel a keeper of flocks, and Cain a tiller of the ground.
No indication is given that one vocation was better or worse than the other for that is not important here.
The important thing is the difference in obedience between the two sons
And God quickly gets to that difference by bringing up Cain and Abelís response with regard to an offering of sacrifice presented to God.
Recall Godís covering of Adam and Eve with the skins of an animal which immediately taught them that access to God was only by the shedding of blood.
By Godís response to the offerings it must be concluded that both Cain and Abel knew of this principle.
But was Cain one of the crowd who desired recognition of his work?
Was he the father of the ďwhateverĒ crowd?
Whatever pleases me should please you!
God canít be serious about this nasty blood thing, can he?
Certainly God would be proud of an offering from the ground, wouldnít He, for He has given the works of my hands great increase?
This or course is the works salvation message that Satan had spread since the garden.
You can save yourself by your works!
Bring to God the works of your hands and he will certainly be satisfied but this conclusion casts away Godís clear word, that without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin.
Abel obeyed God and lost his life for it, at the hand of his brother Cain.
He brought the offering satisfying to God for it was an offering of the firstling of his flock and the fat thereof.
Blood had been shed as God prescribed, obedience had taken place.
And this process will be followed for centuries by the generations from Eve until the Unique One, and only One came to bruise Satanís head shedding His perfect blood on the cross of Calvary.
And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering: 5 But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect.
Think of yourself having two sons.
Tell the sons that raking the yard will bring you pleasure.
One son rakes the yard and one son chooses to clean his room.
Both look for approval for both have done needed tasks for the yard was full of leaves and the room was full of mess.
And both report to their father of what they had done.
But one son leaves the father with a wilting countenance and the other with a smile.
What is the difference?
The difference is obedience.
The difference is following the fatherís word.
Believing His word and doing his word for his word was to rake the yard.
Like the son who cleaned his room Cain chose to please himself expecting that God would be pleased.
Cain had become the rule maker seeing himself in charge.
But Abel offered that which God required and in so doing pleased God.
And the lesson is that Godís will is to overrule our will.
6 And the Lord said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? 7 If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.
American Standard Version of verse 7, If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.Ē
In verse 7 of the KJV God personalizes sin and refers to sin as ďhis and himĒ and in the ASV sin is referred to as ďitsĒ.
In other words sin has overcome Cain resulting in his disobedience and his resulting anger for not receiving the respect of God.
So God is telling Cain to rule over sin or sin will rule over you.
God asks Cain, Why are you angry?
Get a hold of yourself and think things through as to what you have done.
Do well and you will be accepted.
Do right and I will be satisfied but if donít you will become a slave to sin and sin will take hold of you and bring you down.
God is telling Cain that he has no right to be angry.
This is the necessary instruction to those who do not obey and a good lesson in parenting,
In this it is inferred that Cain knew better and he had all knowledge to do right.
But it is obvious that Cainís way still lives and fills the earth for Godís word fills the earth and the Cainís of today choose to ignore it and are angry when God steps in with judgment.
Cain was the father of religion for Cain defined what it was that would please God.
As seen by the anger of Cain resulting from Godís lack of respect of his offering Cain wanted Godís approval.
Cainís way is the way of the world for the way of the world is to come to God any way one wishes.
I did it my way does not work with our God who says you must do it His way for destruction is guaranteed to those who choose otherwise.
The only place available to those who choose to do it their way is a place called hell, a place chosen by disobedience.
Heavenís doors are only open to those who do it Godís way.
And Godís way is found by following the trail of blood shed by His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ.
Cain knew better, Cain thought, in being a tiller of the ground, he would come to God by his own labor, and in that, chose to cast aside the labor of a Saviour, the labor of the one who would obey His father, coming to seek and to save that which was lost.
Men throughout the centuries have chosen to be sons of Cain and refuse to acknowledge Jesus Christ, instead making up their own multitude of ways to wake up God to their plight.
But God is not awake to their pleas for he only looks for the blood of his Son which covers the sins of the world.
The message of the Gospel is inclusionary in that all may come but it is also exclusionary for all may come only on Godís terms.
And those terms are that there is one approach to God and that is the way of Christ, the way He has earned through his shed blood and death on the cross.
Cain symbolically spit at this way and so God refused Cain and Godís refusal continues to all who refuse His Son.
There is nothing clearer in the scriptures than Godís exclusive remedy to manís sin.
Could there be any clearer message than Jesus saying, no man cometh unto the Father, but by me?
Or Jesusí Apostle Peter declaring 12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
Now in Godís rebuke of Cain God pointed out the standard He had set but Cain instead compared himself to his brother.
His brother received the respect of God and he did not.
He saw his brother receive notice but he did not see the why of that notice.
And it concerned obedience to Godís word.
It is so prevalent to be judged by others as to the blessings received from God, not because of favoritism but because of obedience.
Cainís response was not a reasonable response which God asked for when He asked, Why art thou wroth? If thou doest well shalt thou not be accepted.
In other words just obey me and respect will also come your way.
Why do you kick against the pricks of truth?
We learn as Peter learned from Acts 10:34,Ö. Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:
But God is a respecter of obedience.
Obey His word and blessings will come regardless of whether you are a Cain or an Abel.
Unfortunately Cain paid no attention to this instruction for Cainís heart was far from God and therefore hatred built up against the one in whom God had respect.
For this is the way of the world and this hatred continues in Cainís offspring.
So Godís counsel being rejected we read of its consequences in Genesis 4:8-15:
And 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 slew him. 9 And the Lord said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother's keeper? 10 And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto me from the ground. 11 And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother's blood from thy hand; 12 When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth. 13 And Cain said unto the Lord, My punishment is greater than I can bear. 14 Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth; and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass, that every one that findeth me shall slay me. 15 And the Lord said unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the Lord set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him.
Now after the offerings presented to God by the two sons, we do not know of the state of Abel who had received the respect of God but we do know the state of Cain who had not.
Was Abel basking in the notice from God and making the situation worse than it could have been if he had been humble before his brother?
We do not know the circumstances for all we know is that in the process of time when they were both together in the field where crops had been grown, where sheep had been shepherded Abel met his death at the hand of his brother.
At this terrible event again God responds with a question.
Instead of asking Where art thou, as He did of Adam and Eve He now asks of Cain, Where is Abel, thy brother.
God knows exactly where Abel is for he has heard Abelís blood crying to Him from the ground for even blood has a voice that speaks to its maker.
Cain is now a murderer and to this question he responds as a snotty child.
Pardon me for using that word but that is exactly what he is.
Imagine the evil heart that speaks to God in that manner!
Condescending, patronizing, high and mighty and to this add the new description of this first son, now a liar for he, knowing full well that his brother no longer lives and lies in his own field, says: I know not, Am I my brother's keeper?
So lying not only enters the picture but disrespect comes in also.
Cainís offering was not respected and therefore God will not be respected.
So Cain returns Godís question with an impudent question, sarcastic in its tone.
What am I a keeper of your favorite?
Just a servant of the one you prefer?
Am I a shepherd of the shepherd?
But God responds again with a question aimed so that Cain think of what has taken place.
God, in saying thy brother's blood crieth unto me from the ground, is telling Cain that justice must be executed for blood has been shed and therefore justice demands its consequences.
In Adam and Eveís case the ground was cursed but in Cainís case he is cursed from the earth, for the earth is now the recipient of his brotherís blood, a task never before required of the earth.
Cain, heretofore took much joy from the earth and the earth reciprocated but from now on he is cursed from the earth and will no longer have reward from its bounty.