When they grew up, Abel became a shepherd, while Cain cultivated the ground. When it was time for the harvest, Cain presented some of his crops as a gift to the Lord. Abel also brought a gift—the best portions of the firstborn lambs from his flock. The Lord accepted Abel and his gift, but He did not accept Cain and his gift. This made Cain very angry, and he looked dejected. “Why are you so angry?” the Lord asked Cain. “Why do you look so dejected? You will be accepted if you do what is right. But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master.” One day Cain suggested to his brother, “Let’s go out into the fields.” And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother, Abel, and killed him. (Genesis 4:2a-8 NLT)
There is controversy with Bible Scholars as to why God did not accept Cain’s gift. Was it because there was no blood in Cain’s offering? Was it because Cain did not offer his best? Or was it solely because of Cain’s attitude rather than his gift itself? Furthermore, how did Cain know his offering was not accepted? Was it because fire came down from above and consumed Abel’s offering and not his?
Whatever the reasons might be in answer to these questions, one thing we know for sure is that Cain knew exactly what was expected of him, because God said to him, “You will be accepted if you do what is right.” Even more important is that God loved and cared enough for Cain that He warned him, “But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master.” Bottom line is that Cain knew what to do, but refused to do it. Instead of stopping there, Cain did the unthinkable. Cain killed his brother.
I repair machinery for a living. My results are almost 100% that it ends in success. I find this very gratifying to see a machine that became broken, back up and running after I fixed it. Where my frustrations lay is with people that are broken. When people are hurting in their life because of the bad decisions or wrong paths they have taken in life and I want to help them get things right, I find this extremely frustrating. I lay the truth out to them. They will shake their heads “yes” that they fully understand and are in complete agreement. But somewhere along the line, the enemy (Satan) muddies the waters up. Confusion and doubts enter the person’s mind.
God then reminds me about His dealings with Cain. God says, “How do you think I felt when I warned Cain, but he refused to listen to Me, his Creator?” This is when I have to realize that we all have free will. Our God is not a puppeteer. All he asks of us is to freely love and obey Him and to love people just like He does:
But one who prophesies strengthens others, encourages them, and comforts them. (1 Corinthians 14:3 NLT)
The bottom line means that we must never give up or become weary in well doing, no matter how many people we sadly see go by the wayside:
And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith. (Galatians 6:9-10 KJV)
Let us be ‘Cain Caring’ just like God was. God could have zapped Cain on the spot just like He later did to Er in Genesis 38:7. Instead, God in His mercy placed a mark on Cain so he would not be slain:
And Cain said unto the Lord, “My punishment is greater than I can bear. Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth; and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass, that every one that findeth me shall slay me.” And the Lord said unto him, “Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold.” And the Lord set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him. And Cain went out from the presence of the Lord, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden. (Genesis 4:13-16 KJV)
May we never stray from the Lord’s presence like Cain caused himself to be. And if we see someone else who has strayed from the Lord, may we do everything in our power to bring them back into His presence!
“If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others in the wilderness and go to search for the one that is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he will joyfully carry it home on his shoulders. When he arrives, he will call together his friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’ In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away!” (Luke 15:4-7 NLT)