Now we have dealt with the sinfulness of humanity and humanity has been driven out of the Garden of Eden. What comes next? Well the only thing they could do is move on and try to establish a life and a way of life. This is where chapter 4 picks up and where it all begins for the rest of us.
1 Adam lay with his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain. She said, “With the help of the Lord I have brought forth a man.” 2 Later she gave birth to his brother Abel. Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil.
So up to this point in our journey it has been just Adam and Eve and all the animals, but there came a point after they had been driven out of the Garden of Eden that it was time to start expanding humanity. Thus was the birth of Cain and Abel, the first two born into sin.
And when I think about that I also think about the stories that Adam and Eve must have told them about the Garden of Eden and about walking and talking with God in such a way.
And also how they had messed it all up and how death had been brought to humanity by their mistake.
I also think about how they must have warned Cain and Abel about being wary of the serpent and his crafty ways.
But they had their two boys and now since they had to work for everything they had, Cain and Abel also had jobs.
Cain was a farmer working the soil, or growing their fruits and vegetables and Abel kept the flocks, or was in charge of the meat!
And think about how much things have changed.
They went from eating from the fruits and vegetables that God had provided, which had all the nutrients that they would ever need, to having to grow their own and also having to raise, kill, and eat animals to provide for what they were missing in the fruits and vegetables that they were able to grow.
Already, things were so marred by sin that they could not reproduce the perfect food that God provided and they had to piece things together the best they could.
So, the impact of sin was immediately evident.
And not only did we see the implementation of God’s punishment for sin, but also the implementation of sacrifice, atonement, and making offerings to the Lord.
And this is actually what caused the issues between Cain and Abel.
We see starting in verse 3 . . . .
3 In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. 4 But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favour on Abel and his offering, 5 but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favour. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.
And this scenario also lays out some of the main issues with the Jewish society throughout history as well as the church.
Both Cain and Abel brought their offerings before the Lord.
Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil and Abel brought fat portions from some from some of the firstborn of this flock.
And the significance here is not the type of offering brought before the Lord but rather the quality of that offering.
Cain was a farmer and he brought what he had.
Abel was a shepherd and he brought what he had.
And some have said that God rejected Cain’s offering because it was “just fruit and vegetables.”
That is not the case.
Just ask a farmer, who raises crops.
Those fruits and vegetables are very precious commodities and to many of them very special because they work hard for it.
In fact my grandpa used to tell me about times when he pastored, and a lot of his time was in rural churches and many of the people were farmers.
And he would tell me about getting fruits, vegetables, goats, chickens, and even pigs as tithes because that’s all the people had.
They didn’t have money.
And to be honest, God doesn’t care about the object or thing that’s offered, God cares about #1 it’s quality and #2 whether it is given from the heart or not.
And that was really the contrast between Cain and Abel.
Cain just gathered up whatever was laying around and brought it kind of half-heartedly giving it.
He may have even resented having to do it in the first place.
Having to humble himself before God’s altar.
Abel on the other hand looked forward to this communing with God.
He loved and respected God and he wanted to offer God his best.
So, that is what he brought to God.
And as a result, the Lord looked with favour on Abel and his offering, because Abel understood the purpose; Abel got the point.
However, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favour. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.
In other words, Cain got a scolding by God and instead of learning from it, he got angry.
He was probably embarrassed because his brother’s offering was accepted and his was rejected.
He was also jealous of his brother.
The first case of sibling rivalry.
And the devil that mom and dad had warned them both about was beginning to get into his head.
And it was driving him down the wrong path.
The path of hate.
And the path of murder.
6 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 7 If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.” 8 Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.” And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.
And one thing that I do want to point out here in the beginning of this is, God didn’t punish Cain for his poor offering.
Yes, God rejected it and said it wasn’t “good enough,” but just because God rejected Cain’s offering, did not mean that God rejected Cain.
Cain was still loved by God and all God was really doing was trying to teach Cain to do better, to do what was right.
It’s like if we were doing a chore for our parents and we just half-way did it, usually we would be sent back to do it over and do it the right way.
But our parents didn’t reject us and cast us out.
They used it as a way to teach us to do better the next time.
And that is all God was doing here with Cain.
But Cain got mad and angry about, so God asked him, why are you so angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted?
Just do what you know is right and it will all be good.
Don’t get mad and angry and go off pouting about it.
Just do what is right.
But God also knowing the sinfulness of the human heart that had developed, issued a sober warning to Cain.
But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.
There has never been a truer statement uttered.
Sin crouches at all our doors and we have a choice to do what is right or what is wrong.
And when we continually do what is wrong, sin grips us and it has it’s way with us.
Which is exactly what happened with Cain.
Sin got hold of him.
His anger, his resentment, his bitterness, his jealously built up and built up until one day, Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.” And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.
The first murder.
And at the root of that murder and all murders lies sin, hate, bitterness, jealously, and all the things that go completely against God.
And the thing is, Cain was really angry at God, but he just couldn’t take it out on God, so he did the next best thing.
He destroyed what God loved.
Cain though was so selfish and self-centered, he didn’t even consider his parents and their feelings.
It was all about him.
And we wonder why our society is the way it is.
Well it’s really because we have a bunch of Cains running around.
Doing everything they can to please themselves and not God.
So, Cain murders his brother and now he has to face God . . .
9 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?” “I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?” 10 The Lord said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground. 11 Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. 12 When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth.”
So, things start out sort of similar to God’s confrontation with Adam and Eve in the Garden, by questioning Cain for answers of what God already knows.
Where is your brother Abel?
What do you think God is doing here? He is giving Cain a chance to come clean with what he has done.
However, Cain lies about the situation and also gets a little “smart” with God. I don’t know…Am I my brother’s keeper?
He’s pretty bold with his attitude. Especially someone who has just committed murder and is answering to God for it.
Do you think Cain actually thought he could get away with it?
So, after giving Cain every opportunity to repent and own up to it, God calls him out . . .What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground. Busted!
But for some reason, God did not strike him dead right there. God had a bigger purpose in mind.
First though, to deal with Cain....Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground which opened its mouth to receive your brothers blood from your hand. When you work the ground, it will not longer yield its crops for you. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth.
So, when Adam was cursed he was forced to work the ground, and now Cain had even that taken away.
And think about it, Cain was a farmer and that’s all he knew and now he would not even be able to do that.
He was condemned to now being a wanderer and a nomad.
A man without a home.
Think about how lonely an existence that would have been.
Almost gives us a glimpse of hell.
But back to God’s greater purpose of not striking Cain down. Why do you think God did things the way he did? So, Cain would serve as an example to others of what not to do.
God is sending a message that this in unacceptable and those who do things like this will be dealt with.
And the smug attitude that Cain had, now quickly dissolves.
He now realizes the gravity of his situation.
And now, he who showed no mercy is now begging for God’s mercy.
13 Cain said to the Lord, “My punishment is more than I can bear. 14 Today you are driving me from the land, and I will be hidden from your presence; I will be a restless wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.” 15 But the Lord said to him, “Not so; if anyone kills Cain, he will suffer vengeance seven times over.” Then the Lord put a mark on Cain so that no-one who found him would kill him. 16 So Cain went out from the Lord’s presence and lived in the land of Nod, east of Eden.
So, there is actually quite a bit going on here.
First, Cain asks for mercy, my punishment is more than I can bear! What about his brother he had killed? I’m sure murder was more than he could bear!
But also, Cain acknowledges God driving him from the land, but also look what else he says, I will be hidden from your presence. What do you think he means by this?
Cain in reality is no different from any lost person today.
Cain, Abel, Adam, & Eve still enjoyed God’s presence with them, even though it was different, God was still there teaching them and helping them.
But now, Cain would be all alone, isolated a restless wanderer on the earth.
And Cain’s main concern ironically was that whoever finds me will kill me, because they would know that Cain was cursed of God and he was bad luck.
Also, think about his family, how they felt with his murdering his brother.
Actually, think about Adam and Eve, not only did they lose Abel but now they have also lost Cain.
It is really tragic what it did to them all.
However, God wasn’t about to let anyone kill Cain because #1 it would defeat the purpose of God’s lesson and #2 God does not intend on us seeking vengeance.
God is the ultimate judge and God will make the decision of life and death.
So he tells Cain, Not so; if anyone kills Cain, he will suffer vengeance seven times over, not something anyone would mess with . And just to be sure people knew who Cain was and not to touch him, the Lord put a mark on Cain so that no one who found him would kill him.
Just out of curiosity, what do you think the mark was? The Bible never says.
So, Cain is feeling somewhat better about his situation, as bad as it is and he does something that many of us do when we have sinned.
We go though this cycle of #1-Sinning, #2-Feeling guilty, #3- “Repenting” ( if you want to call it that-because true repentance involves turning around, making a change), #4-Feeling better about ourselves, #5-Forgetting about God’s mercy and how bad we felt about the sin in the first place, and #6-Sinning again.
And I say that applies because of verse 16, So Cain went out from the Lord’s presence and lived in the land of Nod, east of Eden.
Didn’t God tell him he would be a wanderer and a nomad?
Then why did he settle down in Nod?
Because he was “outside of God’s presence” or actually, outside of Gods will and he quickly forgot how bad things initially were and went about doing what he wanted to do, rather what what God told him to do.
And not only did he not wander as a nomad, but also...
17 Cain lay with his wife, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Enoch. Cain was then building a city, and he named it after his son Enoch. 18 To Enoch was born Irad, and Irad was the father of Mehujael, and Mehujael was the father of Methushael, and Methushael was the father of Lamech. 19 Lamech married two women, one named Adah and the other Zillah. 20 Adah gave birth to Jabal; he was the father of those who live in tents and raise livestock. 21 His brother’s name was Jubal; he was the father of all who play the harp and flute. 22 Zillah also had a son, Tubal-Cain, who forged all kinds of tools out of bronze and iron. Tubal-Cain’s sister was Naamah.
So, Cain and his unnamed wife had a son who he named Enoch.
Cain was proud of this son and was going to “show God” that he would not be a wanderer but rather we now find him building a city, to which he named after his son Enoch.
And through his son Enoch, we see an expansion of one branch of humanity, all the way up to Lamech, who took it up a notch and married two wives.
He was going double his contribution to the population!
And things continue, but there was also some special attention paid to Lamech though in the Scriptures . . .
23 Lamech said to his wives, “Adah and Zillah, listen to me; wives of Lamech, hear my words. I have killed a man for wounding me, a young man for injuring me. 24 If Cain is avenged seven times, then Lamech seventy-seven times.”
Any thoughts as to why Lamech is given this attention?
When you break it down a bit look at what he is saying, I have killed a man for wounding me, a young man for injuring me. In other words he killed out of revenge. He murdered this man.
And he says if Cain is avenged seven times, the Lamech seventy-seven times!
He is bragging about the murder he committed and he is saying if God let Cain do it and didn’t let anyone touch him, then it will be 10 times worse if anyone touches me.
Apparently he didn’t understand the message that God was sending through Cain, but we never hear what comes of Lamech do we?
Makes you wonder.
And now though, Genesis shifts it attention back to Adam and Eve ...
25 Adam lay with his wife again, and she gave birth to a son and named him Seth, saying, “God has granted me another child in place of Abel, since Cain killed him.” 26 Seth also had a son, and he named him Enosh. At that time men began to call on the name of the Lord.
So, the Godly line continues because through Seth, men began to call on the name of the Lord.
They began to worship and serve God as they should....but not all of them.