1 Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, and said, “I have acquired a man from the Lord.” 2 Then she bore again, this time his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. 3 And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the Lord. 4 Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the Lord respected Abel and his offering, 5 but He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell.
Genesis 4:1-5, NKJV
First Children Born
Genesis, the book of beginnings, continues in chapter 4 with a record of the first children born to Adam and Eve. Very little is actually said about these children other than their names and occupations. Both children were sons: first Cain was born and then Abel. Abel became a keeper of sheep and Cain was a tiller of the ground.
We are told that in the process of time, each son brought an offering to the Lord. Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground and Abel brought of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord, we are told, respected Abel and his offering, but He did not respect Cain and his offering. This made Cain very angry.
When one considers the period of time that has passed from verse 1 to verse 5, we realize that we are actually told very little. Like our children, each son was different. Abel worked with sheep and Cain tilled the ground. I think we should note what we are told in these verses and what we are not told. Let us be careful that we do not make false conjectures, but stay within the limits of what we are told.
We know that the Lord was displeased with Cain's offering, but we are not told why that was the case. Was it wrong for Cain to be a tiller of the ground? No! God was not displeased with Cain's occupation, He was displeased with Cain's offering. Why? I have heard many explanations for this, but I think it is safe to safe that we really do not know what Cain did wrong. However, Cain knew. He knew not only that the Lord was displeased, but he also knew why the Lord was displeased.
Because sin has entered into the world through Adam and Eve, that knowledge of good and evil has been passed on to their children. Just like us today, keeping ourselves from sin is an impossible job. Abel is not being portrayed here as the perfect son, but rather, the son who obeyed the Lord in the offering he gave.
What was the immediate result of God's displeasure to Cain? Cain became very angry. Was his anger justified? No! Cain was jealous of Abel. Is that not the way things are to this day? Often the ones who are hated the most are those who are attempting to live a righteous life before God.
Ephesians 4:26-27 (NKJV) says, “Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil.
Jesus said in Matthew 5:22 (NKJV), But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire.
So, though we may think of anger as only a little sin, Jesus took it quite seriously, for anger, if left unchecked, may soon turn into much worse sins, as we certainly will see in the case of Cain and Abel. Already, even in the first generation, we see the aweful consequences of sin which has entered into the world.
Let us go before the Lord Jesus Christ and confess our own sin of anger and jealousy. Let us pray that God will give us the grace to be forgiving toward others. Truly, no offense committed against us is greater than the offenses we have committed against our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Go, today, in the strength and power of the Lord. Be angry, and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil.
God Bless You,