Cain--Rebel With a Lost Cause
Gen. 4:1-7 "The man Adam knew his wife Eve intimately. She became pregnant and gave birth to Cain, and said, “I have given life to a man with the Lord’s help.” 2 She gave birth a second time to Cain’s brother Abel. Abel cared for the flocks, and Cain farmed the fertile land. 3 Some time later, Cain presented an offering to the Lord from the land’s crops 4 while Abel presented his flock’s oldest offspring with their fat. The Lord looked favorably on Abel and his sacrifice 5 but didn’t look favorably on Cain and his sacrifice. Cain became very angry and looked resentful." 6 The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why do you look so resentful? 7 If you do the right thing, won’t you be accepted? But if you don’t do the right thing, sin will be waiting at the door ready to strike! It will entice you, but you must rule over it.”
As we begin this series, I wanted to start with Cain because Cain reaches back to the beginning of mankind.
He is the first child to ever be born...and the third human being to occupy the planet. His name means "acquire" for Eve said, "I have acquired a man from the Lord." He is born on the heels of the great and tragic fall of man into sin recorded in Genesis 3.
Shortly after Adam and Eve are driven from the Garden of Eden as punishment for their sin, Cain is conceived. Following their fall, God delivered the very first prophecy uttered in the Bible when He told Satan, the serpent, "And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel" (Gen. 3:15).
This was God telling the devil that, from the seed of the woman, one would arise that would deal him a death blow..."he will crush your head." And also that the devil would "strike his heel."
This was the prophecy that set in motion the rest of the Bible. The "crusher of Satan's head" pointed to none other than Jesus Christ. And the devil "striking his heel" predicted the way Jesus would die on the Cross, nails driven through His heels.
Now, it's very possible that Eve thought Cain was the fulfillment of this verse, and that it was he, her firstborn son, who would deal the devil a death blow. Not even close! Her firstborn son would wind up being the first bad boy of the Bible, for Cain became the first murderer, having killed his own little brother.
The story goes like this...
One day the two brothers came to make an offering to the Lord. The original language calls it a Thanksgiving offering...the two boys were coming before God to thank Him, as well as to hopefully secure his blessing over their lives.
As with all things in Genesis (the book of beginnings, or first things) this is the first recorded Thanksgiving/Worship offering made to the Lord, made by the first two boys, who came from the first two parents...
Now, let's see what the Bible tells us about the first bad boy of the Bible, and what made him bad...
It's important to keep in mind here that when Adam and Eve sinned, God "made tunics of skin" (the first clothes) to cover them. By taking the life of an animal do so, God was showing mankind as early as the Garden of Eden that it would take the shedding of blood to cover sin.
And this thought was also confirmed when God declared that the Redeemer would have His heel bruised, would shed blood, to cover man's sin.
So...when Cain and Abel brought their offerings, those offerings revealed which boy had faith in God, and which one didn't. Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground, but Abel brought an offering of the first of his flock---clearly signifying that the shedding of blood had been involved in his offering.
Hebrews 11:4 "It was by faith that Abel brought a more acceptable offering to God than Cain did. Abel’s offering gave evidence that he was a righteous man, and God showed his approval of his gifts. Although Abel is long dead, he still speaks to us by his example of faith."
You see, Abel still speaks today because what he did, we must do----Abel placed his faith in a blood sacrifice, and we too must place our faith in the shed blood of God's Son in order to be forgiven. But Cain, on the other hand, had rejected the way of the blood to atone for his sins.
He brought an offering of fruit, and where we read that the Lord "didn't look favorably on Cain's offering," the original language says God wouldn't even look at it! This offering in defiance of what God had clearly taught the first family about the necessity of the blood was the beginning of his demise.
Next we see that...
Seeing that Cain was very angry over his offering being rejected, God came to him and said: "You will be accepted if you do what is right. But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you...” (4:7).
God was saying, "Hey Cain, we can fix this. Approach Me the right way, by way of a blood sacrifice, and I will accept it."
You see, it wasn't about favoritism of one boy over the other...It wasn't personal...it was God saying, "There is only ONE WAY to enter into My Presence, ONE WAY to atone for your sin, ONE WAY to receive My blessing---and that is by way of the blood!
But Cain rejected God's way, and in doing so he also rejected God's grace....
He essentially said, "I'll do this my way....I'll choose my own path, my own approach, my own truth.
So Cain really is the first religionist---I'll achieve righteousness by my own works, not by grace. And he's also the first relativist---Cain's belief was, "It doesn't matter how I approach God, as long as I'm sincere."
Now watch this: The attitude of Cain is the very attitude resting on America and much of the world today. We want to approach God our way, we want entrance into heaven by the method of our own choosing. We reject the whole notion of "One way, One truth, One Savior," and prefer a plurality of options.
Whether it's the path of Buddhism, or the road of self-righteous humanism, or the emptiness of Christ-less New Age mysticism, or of just believing that we are essentially good and don't need God's forgiveness....
We don't like at all being told by God like Cain was that "You will be accepted if you do it My way---by coming to Me by faith in the shed blood of My Son." Any other way won't work, He won't even look at it!
When he rejected God's way....
III. Cain fell prey to the crouching lion of sin...
When Cain rejected God by rejecting the blood, he opened a deadly door. God had warned him, "Will not your face be happy if you do well? If you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door waiting to destroy you.”
Here's the deal: When we reject God's offer of grace, spiritual darkness and bondage await us.
Put bluntly: Grace rejected is destruction accepted.
What happens next shows that God's warnings to Cain were totally spot on. Sin crouching at the door pounced as Cain became filled with jealousy, anger and bitterness toward Abel.
As the two brothers walked through a field together, the Bible paints a sad and frightening picture: "Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him" (Gen 4:8).
He literally pounced on him and apparently stabbed him to death, for the Bible says that God later said to Cain: "The voice of your brother's blood (bloods) cries out to Me from the ground" (vs. 10).
Now interestingly, the original language doesn't use a singular for blood, but a plural. It reads, The voice of your brother's "bloods" cries out to Me from the ground."
God is not just looking at Abel, but also to all of the descendants of Abel that now would never be born due to his murder. The word "crying" shows us that blood innocently shed cries out to God for retribution and justice. This is why Hebrews says the blood of Jesus speaks better things than that of Abel. The blood of Abel cried out for justice, but the blood of Jesus cries out for reconciliation and peace.
Cain had hoped that the ground would absorb the blood of his brother and that would be the end of it, but Abel's innocent blood found the ear of God. Cain, the first child born on earth, became the first murderer, and the first fugitive, for God banished him; He told Cain....
"When you till the ground, it shall no longer yield its strength to you. A fugitive and a vagabond you shall be on the earth" (Gen. 4:12). And it says sadly that "Cain went out from the Presence of the Lord...and dwelt in the land of Nod on the east of Eden" (vs. 16).
Cain began his bad boy career by rejecting God's way. He sealed his bad boy career by rejecting God's second chance. And he set the course for the rest of his life when he decided to "go out from the Presence of the Lord." Never again did Cain seek the Lord; his entire life from then on was lived out in spiritual darkness...by his own choosing.
These are the lessons we learn from the Bible's first bad boy.
Question: Have you accepted God's one and only way into heaven by placing your faith in the shed blood of His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ?
Or are you at a place in your life where you have decided to go your own way?
Have you "gone out from the Presence of the Lord?"
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