God, Cain, and Abel

I have learned so much from our study in Genesis 4 this week.

This biblical story has been a major part of my life this week:

  • My wife and I studied it together.
  • My discipleship group studied it.
  • My children learned about it.
  • Our college group studied it.
  • Our Bible reading plan went around it.
  • I have had numerous discussions concerning it.

This type of unity is changing the way our church is interacting with each other!  While I didn’t expect to get that much new out of the story on Cain and Abel, this has been one of the most rewarding weeks concerning my time in the Word.

I am calling this post “God, Cain, and Abel” because we do the narrative disservice when we just label it “Cain and Abel.”  God is the hero.  He is the main character.  He is the initiator at every level.

Here are some notes from my time studying and teaching Genesis 4 this week:

  1. The Bible exposes the ugliness of sin in order to magnify the beauty of salvation.
  2. Love intervenes.  God initiates conversation with Cain before and after sin.
  3. Cain’s offering was when he got around to it (“in the course of time…” [Gen. 4:3]).
  4. Abel offered his firstborn.  He gave God his best not his leftovers.
  5. Giving the firstborn reveals to God that he has priority in Abel’s life.
  6. Cain’s offering was out of obligation; Abel’s offering was out of admiration.
  7. “No one can murder his brother who has not first murdered God in himself” (Oswald Chambers).
  8. There is a sorrow concerning sin just as self-absorbed as the sin itself (after being confronted by God for murdering his brother, Cain responds, “My punishment is greater than I can bear”).
  9. Cain was sorry about the consequences rather than the sin itself.
  10. There’s a difference between being sorry that you sinned and being sorry that you got caught (cf. 2 Cor. 7:10).
  11. We must be sin’s master and not its companion (cf. Gen. 4:7).
  12. Life and death are God’s prerogative (cf. Gen. 4:15).
  13. God treated Cain better than he deserved and better than he treated his own brother.
  14. Genesis 3 describes the Fall of Mankind.  Genesis 4 describes the fall of the family.
  15. Cain’s life could be summarized by going “away from the presence of the LORD” (Gen. 4:16).
  16. The promise of Gen. 3:15 will not be undone!  The seed of the woman will come!  (After Abel’s murder, Seth is born who is a sign of hope and God’s continual presence in these sinners’ lives.  Seth is the son whose family line will lead to Jesus [cf. Gen. 4:25; Luke 3:38]).
  17. Cain was deep in sin before he murdered Abel (cf. 1 John 3:12).
  18. Live a life that outlives you (Abel is said to still speak even though he is dead – its his legacy of faith [cf. Heb. 11:4]).
  19. Abel’s blood, shed by sin, cries out for justice.  Jesus’ blood, shed for sin, cries out for mercy!