BOLD Week 2: Raising Cain – Genesis 4
Anger can turn you into a person you never want to become – This is what happened to Cain, the son of Adam and Eve in Genesis chapter 4.
He had a bad temper to start with, but he didn’t deal with it. Eventually, it turned him into this other person…But Cain’s problem was not an anger problem; his problem was a worship problem! Or maybe we can grasp it better if we see it as a motivation problem.
Cain’s anger was a sin that was a snapshot of a greater problem. In Genesis 4, we learn how to worship God on His terms. and how we have to constantly check our motives – that part of our soul that really knows the why behind our actions.
Genesis 4 is teaching us a valuable lesson on pride, anger, vanity and MOTIVE. When you get to the lowest common denominator of that list – Moses is actually teaching us about Worship!
The two brothers – Abel a shepherd and Cain a farmer. One not better than the other. This leads into an exercise in worship in verses 3-5:
They both brought an offering…and both brought suitable offerings – this is when all of life takes a hard right turn:
The New Testament tells us that God received Abel’s offering because he had faith (Hebrews 11:4) while Cain did not (Jude 11-13 and 1 John 3:11-12).
— Abel was in relationship with God and Cain was separated from God.
A huge principle learned from today’s teaching is this: God always inspects the giver and the worshipper before He inspects the gift, service, or worship.
In verse 4, Abel offers “the firstlings of his flock” for his offering. Abel gave what cost him most!
On the other hand, Cain merely offers “the fruit,” not the best or first fruit, of the ground. Abel brought the best and Cain was not so particular.
One of the key themes throughout Scripture is God seeks worship that is perfect and costly. He will not be satisfied with second best. Romans 12:1
This is a huge AHA! Sin first shows itself in what you give back to God.
Motives matter to God. God isn’t impressed with those who do the right thing for the wrong reason.
The cause of God’s rejection of Cain’s offering now leads to his response:
When Cain learned that God had “no regard” for his offering, “he became very angry and his countenance fell” Cain became angry with God! Rather than being concerned about remedying the situation – his heart – and pleasing God, he became angry. Here is where we need to stop and ask ourself a few questions:
1) How do we respond when God says no? 2) When God convicts us and deals with the sin in our lives, how do we respond? 3) Do we seek to make things right? Do we come before the Lord in worship and confession with a humble and contrite heart? Or do we pout and get ticked off?
So the Lord pursues Cain with three consecutive questions: “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up?”
God wasn’t pleased with Cain or his offering. These first two questions demonstrate that He was even more displeased by Cain’s response.
Cain knew what was right. He knew the quality of offering to bring and chose not to bring it. He knew his heart wasn’t right, but he chose not to address it.
But this is also where we see God’s GRACE. Cain was still invited to bring the correct offering. God warned Cain and He wanted Cain to “do well,” but Cain hardened his heart. God paints a graphic picture! A huge reminder that we do have a choice whether or not to sin.
When we sin, we sin because of our refusal to rely on God’s power to “master it.” So, if our motive (our heart) is wrong, then our offering is wrong…AND OUR WORSHIP IS WRONG.
In his anger, Cain took the life of his very own brother. We cringe at such a horrible act and think, “I could never do something like that.” But if we were honest, most of us would have to confess our own lists of people we’ve assassinated with our words, actions or attitudes
Cain directs his anger, jealousy, and hatred toward his brother. That’s what Jesus was pointing to in Matthew 5 where He says hating your brother is really the same as murder.
That is what Cain did. Uncontrolled anger and jealousy resulted in Abel’s death and destroyed Cain’s life too.
Don’t let it happen in your life. Acknowledge that the attitude is wrong, confess it to the Lord, and ask His help in overcoming this destructive attitude.
Cain begins on a sinful note by lying to God. To make matters worse, Cain goes on to utter the infamous old adage, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” This was a tragic mistake on Cain’s part.
Secret sin on earth is open scandal in heaven!
As a consequence of Cain’s act of deliberate sin, God curses him in verses 11 & 12, Moses records these words: “Now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. When you cultivate the ground, it will no longer yield its strength to you; you will be a vagrant and a wanderer on the earth.” This is the first instance in Scripture where a human is “cursed.” The ultimate penalty for a Hebrew is not death, but exile, a loss of roots.
All Cain cared about was himself. There was no reverence for God, no regret for the loss of innocent life, no sorrow for sin, and no thought for his parents who had lost one son tragically through murder and would be losing another through rebellion.
God’s process is always mercy before judgment.
There is no sin that you have ever committed that is too big for God. He will accept you IF you accept His Son’s sacrifice for your sin.
In verse 16, we read these sad words: “Then Cain went out from the presence of the LORD, and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden.” ‘We don’t know what ultimately happened to him. He may have responded to God. Cain was not beyond God’s grace and neither are we.
But, like Cain…it is always our choice. It’s always our attitude, our motivations and our actions that God sees straight through. And it is always revealed in our worship…or lack of worship.