“In the course of time Cain brought to the Lord an offering” (Genesis 4:2-7).
Although sin did not win, it did affect God’s creation. We see this as the story continues. The first sinful couple became the first sinful family. Adam and Eve had two sons: Cain, who was born first, and Abel, who was born after. Cain was a “worker of the ground,” while Abel was a “keeper of the sheep.”
It was good that man continued in God’s design. The brothers, like their parents, were workers for God, tending to His creation. They were also worshippers of God, giving offerings to the Creator. In fact, they had a specific time and place for worship. “In the course of time Cain brought to the Lord an offering.” Abel also brought to the Lord “his offering.”
Then, something strange happened. Although they both brought offerings to the Lord, only one was accepted by God: “The Lord had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering he had no regard.” This made Cain “very angry” with his brother. Very angry.
Seeing his anger, the Lord mercifully warned Cain. He pointed out that his anger was undue. If he would have worshipped God the right way, his offering would have been accepted. Cain’s offering was from the ground which God had cursed. It was also the fruit of his own labor and void of any blood. This was not the way God wanted to be worshipped. But Cain wanted to worship God his own way. He fell to temptation and sin would overcome him.
- What was so wrong about Cain’s offering? Why was Abel’s offering received by God? How do you think Adam and Eve instructed their boys to worship?
- What does this tell us about God’s desire to be worshipped? How was God kind and merciful in His response to Cain’s refusal to worship Him appropriately?
- What can we learn from these two sons? How should we think about worshipping God this week?