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Cain and Abel

Cain's jealousy of Abel's good offering

Application:

Jealousy can lead to the sins of hate and bitterness.

Text:

Genesis 4.

 

Adam's Two Sons:

After Adam and Eve had to leave the garden of Eden, they had two sons.   Their first son was called Cain and the second was called Abel.  Cain was a farmer and grew grains, vegetables and other crops, while Abel was a shepherd who looked after the family's herds.  Adam must have told his sons they needed to offer a sacrifice to God to show how sorry they were for their sins.

Abel's Sacrifice:

Abel wanted to make a special sacrifice to God.  So he chose his best lamb and offered it to the Lord.  It must have been hard for Abel to give up his most prized possession, but it was important to him to give his best to God.  The offering was burnt on the alter and the smoke rose up toward Heaven.  When Abel saw this, he was very glad because he knew that God was pleased with his offering and had accepted it.

Cain's Offering:

Cain must have thought his younger brother was foolish to sacrifice his best lamb.  He probably said, "I'm sure God will be happy with some of the crops that I have grown!"  He laid his offering on the altar, but to his dismay it just smoldered and never burnt up.  The smoke just swirled around the altar making his eyes water.  That could mean only one thing!  God had rejected his offering!.

Cain was filled with jealousy and anger!  God had preferred Abel's offering and his was no good!  He got furiously angry and planned what he was going to do.  So he put an smile on his face and invited Abel to go for a walk with him into the fields.  He then turned on Abel and hit him and hammered him to the ground, and killed him!

When Cain realised what he'd done, he looked around and sighed with relief.  No one had seen him - he was safe!

God Seeks Abel:

As he walked happily back, the Lord asked him, "Cain, where is your brother."  Cain just shrugged his shoulders and carelessly answered, "Am I my brother's keeper?"

God replied, "Cain, what have you done?  Your brother's blood cries out to Me.  Now you will be driven away and forced to live as a wanderer."

Cain finally realised the horror of what he'd done, and he had to live with fear and the knowledge that he'd murdered his brother for the rest of his life.

Acceptable Offerings:

Did God really care whether it was a lamb and not plants that were sacrificed? (Let the children respond).  Yes, He did, because only the shedding of blood could bring forgiveness for sins.  Abel gave his very best and that's what was important to God.  He also offered his sacrifice trusting that it would please God.  This showed that unlike Cain, Abel had faith in God.

Our memory verse from Hebrews 11:4 shows us what God thought about Abel's offering:

"By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain."

But, Cain didn't really sacrifice anything valuable at all and gave God something he didn't really need or care about.  God knew it, and showed Cain that his offering was not an acceptable sacrifice.   Instead of taking God's words as a loving correction, Cain became angry and lashed out in jealousy and hatred at his only brother.

Growing Sins:

God said to Cain, "Why are you cross?  If you did what is right, will you not be accepted?  But if you don't do what is right, then sin desires to have you.  And that was what happened to Cain.  He got extremely angry and plotted how he could kill his brother.

He did not listen to what God had also said, "You must master and overcome sin!"  Cain did not overcome his sins and they grew from jealousy to anger, and then from hate to bitterness, and then to plotting revenge, and from there to murder!

Result of Jealousy:

We must be aware that jealousy leads to bad feelings of anger and bitterness.  These are sins that if we don't ask God's forgiveness, they will grow in our lives to until they control our words, feelings and actions.

Stop now!  Don't be like Cain!

If you are jealous of someone, ask Jesus to forgive you and to take away all anger and bitterness!

God bless.

 

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