I read an article last week that made me think long and hard – and do some verse checking – about Cain and Abel. The author felt sorry for Cain, and God provided some pointed explanations. You can read the article for yourself – click here.
We all know the story about the fratricide, but sometimes we remember what we’re told instead of what we read ourselves. So, here are some verses to read:
Attitude. Cain was very wroth – and you could see it in his face. We aren’t told why God did not respect Cain and I do not believe it was simply the difference of a blood offering. That’s pretty evident in God’s question in the next verse:
And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? (Genesis 4:6-7a)
I’ve read several commentaries on the part B of verse 7. Frankly, I’m not going there in this discussion, and part A is pretty clear: If you do well, won’t you be accepted? We’re back to attitude.
Cain isn’t shown to ask about what was wrong with his sacrifice. It isn’t recorded that he asked God, “Why?” But we are told of his wrath. The next thing we do know:
And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him. (Genesis 4:8)
We do not know their conversation, but it could not have been friendly. Had this happened today, there would be a lawyer handy to take the words and create a defense for Abel – the death would be caused by something Abel said. Surely he set his brother off because nothing like this had happened before. But, that brings us back to attitude, and that creates lies:
And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother's keeper? (Genesis 4:9)
God knew the answer to that question just as He knows all about us. It’s the omnipotence thing – He knows. We will acknowledge that at some time, perhaps only before His throne as we bow before Him. It will be much better for us if we do it know and understand what is required of us:
He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? (Micah 6:8)