Sermon

The Way of Cain (Genesis 4)

Adam was created and blessed by God but sinned against God by choosing His blessings more than His presence. Last week we learned that God graciously forgave his and Eve’s sin, but sin has consequences. In Genesis 4, we learn about a man named Cain and are commanded not to follow in his steps.

  1. Cain’s Offering (4:1-7). In this section we are told that Adam and Eve had two children: Cain (a worker of the ground) and Abel (a shepherd). One day both sons brought offerings to the Lord. God “had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering He had no regard.” Why did the Lord reject Cain’s offering? At first it seems mysterious, but upon closer examination we discover that Cain’s offering was rejected because Cain did not offer it in faith. How do we know he had no faith? Consider his response: “Cain was very angry, and his face fell.” A faithful man is humbled by rebuke. He sees it as instruction and learns from it. A foolish man rebels against rebuke because he is more offended that his pride is hurt than in gaining wisdom. Cain is a foolish, self-righteous man who is warned by God that sin’s “desire is for you, but you must rule over it.”
  2. Cain’s Murder (4:8-9). Cain, the self-righteous fool, ignored God’s warning and gave into his sinful, jealous anger. He “rose up against his brother Abel and killed him.” 1 John 3:12 says, “Why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous.” Notice how self-centered Cain is when the Lord asked: “Where is Abel your brother?” Cain replied: “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?” Cain is so self-absorbed that he is offended that God would even ask him about his brother.
  3. Cain’s Punishment (4:10-24). The Lord said to Cain: “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground.(Side note: we are reminded in verse 10 there are no unsolved crimes with God because no crime goes unnoticed.) Cain has murdered his brother and God, being a righteous judge, punishes him. But, consider the difference between Adam’s and Cain’s punishment. In Genesis 3, God cursed the ground because of Adam. In Genesis 4, God cursed Cain from the ground because of his murder. Cain was told that since he sowed blood into the ground, the ground would “no longer yield to you its strength.” Yet, even in this, God was gracious to Cain in placing a mark on him so that he would be protected from vengeance.
  4. Seth’s Promise (4:25-26). As of verse 24, the world is in very bad condition as it is full of Cain’s family and sin is rampant. But, as bad as it was, God never leaves the world without faithful witnesses. In verse 25, we learn that Eve had another son named Seth. Seth’s name means “appointed” and with Seth we are told “at that time people began to call upon the name of the Lord.

Do you insist on getting your own way and get angry when you do not get it? If so, you may be walking in the way of Cain. He was a self-righteous fool who disregarded the commands and warnings of the Lord. Seeing the promise of Seth, let us all turn from walking in the way of Cain and walk in the way of Christ. He is our Lord and Savior and we must trust that He will free us from our bondage of sin and give eternal life.