Genesis 4:1-8 The Way of Cain

Jud 1:11  Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core.

(1-2) The son of promise

Adam and Eve had lived in the presence of God. They had all they ever needed provided for them right there in the garden and they had enjoyed a constant relationship with God. But man had chosen to sin with his wife, with his gift from God and they both had been cast out of the garden and out of the close fellowship that they once had with the Father. Now they are living on the outside in the world apart from what they once had.

Eve gives birth to Cain and exclaims “I have gotten a man from the Lord!”

Cain means “Acquired or gotten.”

Did she think that Cain was the redeemer promised by God?

After all he was the firstborn.

How could she have raised Cain?

Could he have been spoiled?

She would soon know who he truly was

(v2)She also gives birth to Abel – “Keeper, frail, vapor”

These two will soon illustrate the many differences between saved and unsaved man.

(v3-5) The separate offerings

Abel was a keeper of sheep.

Cain was a tiller of the ground.

Abel brought the firstlings of his flock and the fat while Cain brought the fruit of the ground.

How did they know to offer like this to God?

They had a place.

They had a time.

They knew what to bring.

Did Adam show these two what to do?

Was it something that God had given Adam to do after the fall?

(v5) Cain brings his offering to God. His is rejected while Abel’s is accepted.


Was it because it was bloodless?

Was it because it had already been cursed by God?

Was this for sin or worship?

Either way they were to bring their best to God.

Was it Cain’s heart?

1Sa 16:7  But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.

Nothing in chapter 4 really indicates that Cain and Abel came for forgiveness. Their sacrifice could have been acts of worship. The again all men were under condemnation after the fall. Obviously God would have described to Adam or these boys what was required of them.

Cains offering had to have been what he wanted to bring to God

What he thought was right for God

What he had felt was right and proper

What had been easy for him to offer.

We see this today in many churches. We do things our way and we call it okay because it is current and it is the hip thing to do, or it makes us feel good.

Or we hold onto old ways of doing things.

God is never mentioned in the picture. God’s requirements are never thought of.

(v6-7)  Why are you angry?

Cain was now angry(v5) and it was growing.

The point from God was the fact that Cain’s sacrifice was not good because he had not done well and not the fact that it was fruit. Abel’s sacrifice was better because it was the best that he could give and that it was from his heart. It was also better because he had faith in the Lord

Psa 40:6  Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required.

Psa 40:7  Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me,

Psa 40:8  I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.

Something deficient in Cain’s attitude was reflected in his offering.

God gives Cain an opportunity to repent and change his attitude. The gracious words from the Lord were for Cain to get it right and realize that he didn’t have to go on being angry, he had the chance to change because sin was at the door waiting to pounce on him. Here we see the second illustration of the free will of man. God wanted him to do well but He would not force him to do so.

There are two kinds of anger in scripture.

1)      Righteous anger

This is anger against the vileness of sin, but we must be careful that it doesn’t lead us astray.

Joh 2:13  And the Jews’ passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem,

Joh 2:14  And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting:

Joh 2:15  And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables;

Joh 2:16  And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise.

Joh 2:17  And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up.

Eph 4:26  Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:

2)      Unrighteous anger

Wrath “To snare the nostrils”

Col 3:8  But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.


The conditions in which anger lives


1)      A rebellious spirit.

Cain was rebellious toward God.

1Jo 3:12  Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous.


He was motivated by the devil.

Joh 8:44  Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.


He had the wrong motivation toward the authority of God when he brought his gift.

2)     A resentful spiritually

The Lord had respect for Abel’s offering and He had none for Cain. Now Cain was mad and he was resentful. He never blames himself, it was all Abel’s fault, it was God’s fault.  The only suitable sacrifice would have been life, not plants, which had already been cursed.  Man ate plants.  Sheep were used for covering and sacrifice; they were used for God

3)     A resistant spirit

Cain was consumed with hostility toward God and his brother. This was not a quick thing (v8)

This seed of hate grew.


The conflicts to which anger leads.


Cain slew Abel

Cain was all burned up towards Abel, even after stern warnings from God. The serpent tried to persuade Adam and Eve to sin. God was trying to persuade Cain not to sin.


The consequences to which anger leads


The murder was shocking in its lack of precedent, in its seeming suddenness and fatality.

Mat 23:35  That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar.


Abel died a believer, he had understood faith and God had accepted his offering by faith.


About Clint Rodgers

I am a father of 2 wonderful children and the husband of a beautiful woman who has taught me more about compassion for goofballs than I could have ever learned. I have know Jesus for many years but about 5 years ago I truly met Him and now I do my best to follow Him as I walk in this world
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