World English Institute
CAIN AND ABEL
Outside the garden of Eden, life was difficult for Adam and Eve. Adam had to work hard to grow enough food for them to eat. Thorns pricked his hands and feet, and weeds grew up everywhere. Eve also suffered pain and sorrow. Their home was not as happy and peaceful as it had been in the garden.
To make matters worse, Adam and Eve did not have the same friendly relationship with God that they had enjoyed in the garden of Eden. Their sin had separated them from God.
THE BIRTH OF CAIN AND ABEL
Adam and his wife Eve had sexual relations, and Eve gave birth to a baby boy. The baby was named Cain, meaning "to make." Eve said, "With the Lord's help, I have made a human being."
Eve felt good about being a mother. Even though she had suffered pain in giving birth to her child, her pain was followed by happiness.
Later, Eve gave birth to another baby boy. This boy was Cain's brother, Abel. When Abel grew up, he became a keeper of sheep. Cain became a farmer like his father and grew grains, fruits, and vegetables.
CAIN AND ABEL OFFER GIFTS TO GOD
As Cain and Abel were growing up, Adam and Eve taught their sons about God. At harvest time, Cain brought a gift to show honor to God. He brought some of the plants that he had grown from the ground. At the same time, Abel brought some animals from his flock. He brought the best parts of his best sheep. The Lord accepted Abel's gift, but he did not accept Cain's offering.
Cain was sad because of this, and he became very angry.
GOD WARNS CAIN
The Lord asked Cain, "Why are you angry? Why does your face look sad? If you do good things, you will be right with me. Then I will accept you. But if you don't do right, then sin is in your life. Your sin will want to control you, but you must control that sin."
Hateful ideas had already come into Cain's mind. He wanted to hurt his younger brother. That is why God warned Cain that he must take control of his evil thoughts. Otherwise, his evil thoughts would take control of him.
CAIN KILLS HIS BROTHER
Cain did not listen to God. Instead of controlling his evil thoughts, Cain decided to kill his brother. Cain said to Abel, "Let's go out to the field." So Cain and Abel went to the field. Then Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.
GOD CONFRONTS CAIN
Later, the Lord said to Cain, "Where is your brother Abel?"
Cain replied, "I don't know. Am I my brother's keeper? Is it my job to watch and care for my brother?"
By saying he did not know what had happened to Abel, Cain became a liar as well as a murderer. Instead of following God, Cain had followed Satan. Satan had been a murderer and a liar from the beginning of human history.
The Lord said to Cain, "What have you done? You killed your brother! His blood is like a voice shouting to me from the ground. You killed your brother, and the ground opened up to take his blood from your hands. So now I will cause bad things to happen to that ground. In the past, you planted, and your plants grew well. But now you will plant, and the ground will not help your plants grow. You will not have a home on the earth. You will wander from place to place."
CAIN FEELS SORRY FOR HIMSELF
When God confronted Cain with his crime, Cain did not say he was sorry or promise to change his ways. He did not ask God to forgive him. He only felt sorry for himself. Cain said, "This punishment is more than I can bear! Look at me! You are sending me away from my land. I won't be able to see you or be near you! I won't have a home! I will be forced to wander from place to place on the earth. And if anyone finds me, he will kill me."
GOD PUTS A MARK ON CAIN
Then the Lord said to Cain, "I will not let that happen! If anyone kills you, then I will punish that person much, much more." Then the Lord put a mark on Cain. This mark showed that no person should kill him.
So Cain went away from the Lord and lived in the land of Nod.
A WARNING TO US
This historical account of Cain and Abel teaches us several important lessons about God, worship, and sin.
1. If we do not control evil, it will control us. Evil entered Cain's life through his thoughts. Bad thoughts led him to evil desires. Then, evil desires led him to evil deeds. Finally, Cain submitted to his evil desires rather than to the Lord.
In this story, one sin leads to another. Cain's jealousy leads to anger. Anger leads to hatred. Hatred leads to trickery and murder. Murder is followed by lies as Cain tries to cover up his crime. Cain's sins cut him off from God and from people. They leave him all alone, filled with self-pity.
Cain was the first person in history to kill another human being. This murder was especially bad. This was not a case of two evil men fighting each other. In this case, a good man was tricked and killed by his own brother. How could such a thing happen?
It happened because Cain, like his mother Eve, decided to follow Satan rather than God. Satan may have whispered to Cain, "You have every right to be angry. You deserve as much honor and respect as Abel does, but God has rejected you. God is unfair!" Cain killed his brother because he was proud, stubborn, and irresponsible. As a human being, Cain was a failure.
In spite of God's warning, Cain did not try to control evil. He allowed evil to control him.
2. God will punish those who hurt others. Evil people often hurt innocent people, and good people suffer unfairly. The story of Cain and Abel teaches us that God does not forget such unfairness. Eventually, God will judge evil people guilty and will punish them for their crimes. Cain killed Abel, and God could not ignore the murder of this innocent man. Abel's blood shouted to God from the ground, asking God to make Cain pay for his crimes.
The blood of Abel is still shouting today. What does the blood of Abel say? It says that everyone is responsible for his or her actions. Cain dishonored God and the human race.
3. It makes a difference how we worship. God accepted Abel's gift, but he did not accept Cain's. It was not that Abel's gift was better than Cain's. Cain's stack of grain, fruit, and vegetables may have been more valuable than Abel's little lamb. The difference was not in the value of the gifts. The difference was in the attitude of their hearts.
Later in the Bible we read that "Abel offered a better sacrifice to God because Abel had faith." Abel trusted God and obeyed his commands. That is why God accepted Abel's gift.
Cain, on the other hand, did not offer his gift by faith. God said to Cain, "If you do good things, you will be right with me. Then I will accept you." Cain had done something wrong. Cain was more interested in pleasing himself than he was in pleasing God. That is why God refused Cain's offering.
Some worship is acceptable to God, and some is not. God is pleased when we love him and trust him enough to follow his instructions. On the other hand, God is not pleased when we proudly ignore his requests and worship as we please.
What is worship? Worship is drawing near to God with tender, open hearts offering him love, thanksgiving, and respect. Worship is honoring, serving, and obeying God because we trust him as the true and living God.
We worship God, not because he demands it, but because he deserves it. Worship is our response to the power, glory, majesty, goodness, mercy, and loving-kindness of God.
4. God gives us a chance to change our hearts and lives. Cain was very angry with Abel. Cain's heart was filled with jealousy and hatred. God knew what Cain was thinking, and God gave Cain a chance to change his heart and mind.
God tried to stop Cain from killing his brother. In the same way, God wants to keep us from sinning today.
Do you have resentment and hatred in your heart? Are you angry with someone who has embarrassed you, hurt you, or made you look bad in front of others? Would you like to get even by hurting that person who has hurt you? If so, listen to the warning that God gave Cain.
Whenever we get angry with someone, God would say to us as he said to Cain, "Why are you angry? Why does your face look sad?
Sin is crouching at your door. You must get control of your anger, or it will get control of you."
Over and over, God gives us a chance to change our hearts and lives. God gives us a chance to follow him in paths of peace and goodness.
Scripture References: Genesis 4; Matthew 15:8-9, 19; John 8:44; James 1:12-15; I John 3:12.
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