The Story of Cain and Abel
Dayna Street leads us in Lesson Five of "The Beginning" as we look at the story of Cain and Abel. We'll come to understand how the birth of sin led to anger, jealousy, and murder on earth.
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The Beginning: HisStory in Genesis 1-11
Lesson Five: The Story of Cain and Abel – Genesis 4:1-24
Last week, we saw that Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden because of their rebellion against God. Today, we will see the harsh reality of what life was like after the Fall.
We are going to see lots of “firsts” as we walk through Genesis 4:
The first pregnancy. The first birth. The first family. The first brothers. The first case of sibling rivalry. The first worship service. The first mention of “sin” in the Bible. The first murder. The first cover-up. The first recorded conflict between the seed of woman and the seed of the serpent. The first death. The first martyr.
I. The Destructive Spread of Sin – Genesis 4:1-7
The first thing we see happening outside of the Garden of Eden is God giving Adam and Eve a son. Eve names the baby Cain, a name that sounds like the Hebrew word that means “gotten” or “acquired”. Eve recognizes the power of God in the creation of life when she says, “With the help of the Lord, I have obtained this child.”
What is the difference in Cain and Abel’s offerings?
“By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous, God testifying about his gifts, and through faith, though he is dead, he still speaks” (Hebrews 11:4).
The biggest difference between the two brothers is that Abel has faith and Cain does not.
“Cain decked out his altar with boughs of holly and loaded it with fruits and flowers. It was fragrant, beautiful, and the work of his own hands. It ignored Calvary, set at naught the Word of God, offended God, and was pointedly rejected by God.” (John Phillips, Exploring Colossians and Philemon, p. 148)
Genesis 4:5 is the first mention of anger in the Bible. Cain is so angry, he can’t hide it. You can see it all over his face.
“Anger will assert itself. It refuses to be contained. If anger is in our hearts, it has our hearts.” (Edward Welch, A Small Book About a Big Problem, Loc 271)
“Always be killing sin or it will be killing you.” (John Owen, The Mortification of Sin, p. 8)
II. The Downward Spiral of Sin – Genesis 4:8-16
In the span of just eight verses, Cain goes from bringing an offering to the Lord to being permanently removed from His presence.
- Deception (v.8)
“Now Cain said to his brother Abel, ‘Let’s go out to the field.’ While they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him” (Genesis 4:8, NIV).
- Murder (v.8)
- Lying (v.9)
- Pride (v.9)
- God issues a two-fold punishment:
1. Cain is cursed from the ground.
"...not as Cain, who was of the evil one and slew his brother. And for what reason did he slay him? Because his deeds were evil, and his brother's were righteous" (1 John 3:12)
2. God sentences Cain to be a wanderer and a vagabond.
“A vagabond has no home; a fugitive is running from home; a stranger is away from home; but a pilgrim is heading home.” ~ Warren Wiersbe
“I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants” (Deuteronomy 30:19).
- Self-preservation (v.13-14)
“Sin is man curved in upon himself.” ~ Martin Luther
- Removed (v.16)
III. The Devastating Stain of Sin – Genesis 4:17-24
“Our disordered desires are normalized in a sinful society, which functions as a kind of echo chamber for the flesh. A self-validating feedback loop where we’re all telling each other what we want (or what our flesh wants) to hear.” (John Mark Comer, Live No Lies, p. 228)
“Woe to them! For they have gone the way of Cain...” (Jude 11).
“If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.”
“...after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”