Most people who hear it find the biblical tale of Cain and Abel to be fascinating. This is due to the narrative’s focus on the animosity and competition between siblings. Thus, this becomes the second major story in the Old Testament after the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden.
Since such animosity can occur between brothers, as well as between friends, families, and other people around us, this is a story that many of us can relate to.
The story begins in Genesis 4:1-26, when God banished Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden after they disobeyed Him. They labored to grow the food they ate and started to build a family.
Adam and Eve had a first child named Cain. He was the eldest and not long after, Eve gave birth to her second son, Abel.
Cain cultivated the land while Abel looked after the sheep. The latter loved his parents very much and he followed all what his parents asked of him.
Additionally, Abel loved God and he wanted to find ways to please God. That’s why God favored Abel more than Cain.
Cain, on the other hand, was his brother’s exact opposite. He was greedy and egotistical, and he enjoyed bullying his sibling.
One day, Cain and Abel offered a sacrifice to God as their parents commanded them. God was so pleased with Abel’s offer while not so glad with Cain’s.
Cain, being egotistical, was deeply angered by this.
God noticed Cain’s anger speaking to him and said that if he wanted his offering to be acceptable to God, he must choose to do the right thing, as sin was waiting for him, if he didn’t do what was right.
Instead Cain let his anger and jealousy rule over him, and he allowed himself to commit a terrible act.
So, Cain grew more enraged and resentful of his younger brother to the point where he plotted to kill him.
Cain then asked Abel to go out with him to the field and there he murdered his little brother.
When he came back home, his parents asked him where Abel was, but he didn’t tell them the truth and kept it to himself, pretending nothing happened.
Following the killing, Cain heard God’s voice. God asked him about his little brother’s whereabouts but he attempted to cover up what he had done.
He persisted in lying to God and shied away from confessing the awful sin he had committed. However, God was aware of it all along.
The Lord exiled him from the settled land after he slew Abel. Cain was terrified that someone would kill him while he was in exile.
Therefore, the Lord promised to safeguard him with a sign and to revenge him seven times if he were to be killed.
Cain went off into the Land of Nod and founded his own city and civilization there.
#1 The Lord Knows Our True Intentions.
The first lesson comes from why God disapproved of Cain’s offer.
Cain and Abel prepared their own offerings when the time came for them to make one to God. While Abel brought a lamb that had just been born, Cain offered some common crops.
Unfortunately, God was not pleased with his offering—not because he only offered common crops, but rather because of his intentions.
Cain’s faith in God might not be as strong as his brother’s. Because of this, he didn’t make a gift out of love or faith but rather out of a desire to outdo his brother.
God therefore noticed the raging hatred and envy toward his brother that was there in his heart. Nobody could hide from God since he knew everything.
Cain made an unclean offering, and his motives were evil. God, thus disapproved of it.
We receive a lot of things in life, either through our jobs or from others who are kind to us and appreciate us. As a result, we experience both joy and gratitude.
Therefore, if we voluntarily give something to God, as long as we do it out of love and faith, he will undoubtedly be pleased and joyful. He sees our hearts and is aware of our intentions. Because he is a loving God, he wants us to offer him everything we have to the best of our ability.
#2 The Lord Will Always Love Us – in spite of our sins.
The second lesson comes from God’s love for Cain in the face of punishment.
Cain killed Abel as a result of his uncontrollable hatred and jealousy. He was never sorry for what he did, instead he was so worried about himself.
But in order to bring justice to Abel’s murder, God chastised Cain right away as the latter gave in to his fury and jealousy. Yet, God never ceased loving him.
God punished him by making him wander far away from his parents. However, God still showed his love for him. He put a mark on Cain so that no one could ever hurt him nor kill him. This was how God protected him despite the sin he committed.
After he was banished by God, he started his new life and had his own family. Because Cain was destined to wander the earth as a fugitive, he fled to the land of Nod, also known as the land of exile. This place was also named after Cain’s first son, Enoch.
His people built cities. Thus, it is clear that although God punished Cain for the sin he committed, he still had compassion for him.
God made sure he would be able to live comfortably and begin a new life in another place even though he was forced to live away from his home. He was given the opportunity to change for the better and move away from wickedness.
God wished for Cain to mature into a good man and to start a new chapter in his life, one that would reflect his love and faith for him.
A second chance at life was given to Cain so that he may atone for the transgression he had done to his soul and to the spirit of God.
We fall into sin everyday as no one is infallible, but God is always there to forgive us as long as we truly repent and seek his mercy. He is, after all, a kind and loving God.
We should not deliberately sin, even though God’s love is bigger than our trespasses. This is due to the fact that every sin offends God and is punished accordingly.
Let’s offer to God all that we have and all that we do with the sincerest desire to please and love him. God’s generosity knows no limitations as long as we ask him our temporal and spiritual needs.
Thus offering God the best of what we have, will definitely make him so much happy. The story of Cain and Abel is a reminder of the first murder in human history, but it doesn’t only focus on the offense of man against God.
The story of Cain and Abel greatly demonstrates God’s unconditional love, mercy, and compassion.
What are your thoughts on this topic? We’d love to hear about them in the comments below.
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Image attribution for featured image:
The Story of Cain and Abel; as in Genesis 4:3-15; illustration from a Bible card, published by the Providence Lithograph Company, 1906. This image is in the public domain. Cropped from original.
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