Genesis 4: 1-16

Sin keeps spreading.  One act of disobedience in the garden affects the whole family.  Now two brothers are in conflict.  One brother is envious.  He doesn’t deal with the envy and the envy leads him to kill.  He could have turned back from the envy.  God gave him opportunity, but he refused to take responsibility.  The first step to repentance is accepting responsibility.  If we blame, if we whine, if we sidestep we lose the chance to come back from the abyss. All that is left for us is the land East of Eden.  The barren land of the curse we now carry.  Are you able to turn back from the abyss, or are you falling?

Genesis 4: 1-16

Cain and Abel

 1 Adam <SUP class=footnote value='[a]’>[a] lay with his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain. <SUP class=footnote value='[b]’>[b] She said, “With the help of the LORD I have brought forth <SUP class=footnote value='[c]’>[c] a man.” 2 Later she gave birth to his brother Abel.
      Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. 3 In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the LORD. 4 But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering, 5 but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.

 6 Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 7 If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.”

 8 Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.” <SUP class=footnote value='[d]’>[d] And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.

 9 Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?”
      “I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

 10 The LORD said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground. 11 Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. 12 When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth.”

 13 Cain said to the LORD, “My punishment is more than I can bear. 14 Today you are driving me from the land, and I will be hidden from your presence; I will be a restless wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.”

 15 But the LORD said to him, “Not so <SUP class=footnote value='[e]’>[e] ; if anyone kills Cain, he will suffer vengeance seven times over.” Then the LORD put a mark on Cain so that no one who found him would kill him. 16 So Cain went out from the LORD’s presence and lived in the land of Nod, <SUP class=footnote value='[f]’>[f] east of Eden.

Questions

  1. What are the occupations of Cain and Abel?
  2. What do each of them bring to God as a sacrifice?
  3. What is waiting for Cain if he does not do what is right?
  4. What does Cain say to avoid God’s accusations?
  5. How have you moved past a point of no return?  Was there a way back?

Going Deeper

Observation

  • How are the quantities of qualities of the brothers’ offerings described?
  • What was Cain’s reaction to God not acepting his sacrifice?
  • What will happen if Cain does right?
  • What does sin desire?
  • What will be hidden from Cain if he is driven out?

Interpretation

  • Is it the quality of the sacrifice or the LORD’s acceptence that is emphasized?
  • How does God show grace and compassion to Cain before and after the murder?
  • Did Abel die and go to heaven?
  • If sin is pictured as a demon crouching at your front door, how do you react?
  • Where is the land of Nod?

Application

  • What portion of your possessions do you give to God?
  • How has God tried to prevent you from making a ruinous decision?
  • How has God shown grace in spite of your poor judgment?
  • What way back for you is there from the consequences of your poor choices?
  • How do you blame God for your own shortcomings?

About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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