“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. Matthew 5:17 NIV
“You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment.” Matthew 5:21-22 NIV
What about the first murder? What about Cain and Abel? As I read this grievous story as recorded in Genesis 4:3-16 MSG, several questions and observations come to mind.
Abel was a herdsman and Cain a farmer.
Time passed. Cain brought an offering to God from the produce of his farm.
Abel also brought an offering, but from the firstborn animals of his herd, choice cuts of meat. God liked Abel and his offering, but Cain and his offering didn’t get his [God’s] approval. Cain lost his temper and went into a sulk. v. 2b-4
Question: Why was Cain angry and at who?
Observation: He envied Abel’s acceptance and he was angry at God because his wasn’t approved,
God spoke to Cain: “Why this tantrum? Why the sulking? If you do well, won’t you be accepted? And if you don’t do well, sin is lying in wait for you, ready to pounce; it’s out to get you, you’ve got to master it.” v. 6-7
Question: What did God do for Cain”
Observation: God gave Cain an opportunity to correct his behavior and warned him of what would happen if he didn’t.
Cain had words with his brother. They were out in the field; Cain came at Abel, his brother and killed him. v. 8
God said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?”
He said, “How should I know? Am I his babysitter?” v. 9
Question: What did God give Cain the opportunity to do?
Observation: Cain was given the chance to confess, but instead Cain lied and insulted God.
God said, “What have you done! The voice of your brother’s blood is calling to me from the ground. From now on you’ll get nothing but curses from this ground; you’ll be driven from this ground that has opened its arms to receive the blood of your murdered brother. You’ll farm this ground, but it will no longer give you its best. You’ll be a homeless wanderer on Earth.” v. 10-12.
Question: What was God’s judgment on Cain?
Cain said to God, “My punishment is too much. I can’t take it! You’ve thrown me off the land and I can never again face you. I’m a homeless wanderer on Earth and whoever finds me will kill me.” v. 13-14
Question: What was Cain’s response?
God told him, “No. Anyone who kills Cain will pay for it seven times over.” God put a mark on Cain to protect him so that no one who met him would kill him. v. 15
Question: What did God do for Cain? Observation: God gave Cain the grace of a protection for his life, though the judgment still stood. v. 15
Cain left the presence of God and lived in No-Man’s-Land, east of Eden. v. 16
The questions I have to ask myself: “Who do I get angry with and why? What does God ask me about it, and what does he give me the chance to confess? How do I respond to Him? I have to remind myself of what Jesus has done for me on the cross.”
As we continue to pray the Lord’s prayer together during this series, ponder with me:
For if you forgive others their trespasses [their reckless and willful sins], your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others [nurturing your hurt and anger with the result that it interferes with your relationship with God], then your Father will not forgive your trespasses. Matthew 6:14-15 AMP
Note. To access scripture links that don’t appear in the email version, read the web version in your browser.