When my mom told me I was going to have a little sibling, I was so excited! I couldn’t wait to be a big brother! I wanted a little sister, but I am so thankful I got my brother, Samuel. He is my best friend. Now, granted we have had our fair share of fights. It seems brothers and sisters are always at war with one another. It’s part of the fun of having a sibling.
In Genesis 4, the Lord blesses Adam and Eve with two sons. Despite being the first siblings ever, they too get into fights, or at least one fight. Their fight is likely way worse than any fight you have ever been in with any of your siblings. Check out what God’s Word says about Abel and Cain:
The man was intimate with his wife Eve, and she conceived and gave birth to Cain. She said, “I have had a male child with the Lord’s help.” 2 She also gave birth to his brother Abel. Now Abel became a shepherd of flocks, but Cain worked the ground. 3 In the course of time Cain presented some of the land’s produce as an offering to the Lord. 4 And Abel also presented an offering—some of the firstborn of his flock and their fat portions. The Lord had regard for Abel and his offering, 5 but he did not have regard for Cain and his offering. Cain was furious, and he looked despondent. (Genesis 4:1-6 CSB)
So as Abel grew up, he worked as a shepherd and Cain worked the ground, growing produce. They presented offerings or gifts to God, but God was only pleased with Abel’s gift. This made Cain very upset! This is something we can relate to today. Sometimes we get upset when we feel unrecognized. When we feel like others are more important than us or better than us, we get very discouraged. This is what has happened to Cain. But notice how God responds to Cain’s discouragement:
6 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you furious? And why do you look despondent? 7 If you do what is right, won’t you be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.” (Genesis 4:6-7 CSB)
God reminds Cain that he had the opportunity to be recognized just like Abel did, but Cain did not do what was right. We do not know for sure why Cain’s gift was not recognized as a good gift, but we do know he had the same opportunity as Abel because of God’s rhetorical question. Cain knew how to present an offering pleasing to the Lord, yet he chose to give an offering that wouldn’t be pleasing. Then He chose to get upset about it. Although it was Cain’s fault his gift wasn’t accepted, he still got upset about it.
It’s easy to get upset when we want to be accepted and recognized and then aren’t. I truly believe Cain wanted God to like his gift, but it was not what God wanted. Sometimes we want to get upset because we don’t like the results of our effort when in reality our effort wasn’t all that great. Have you ever gotten mad because a teacher gave you a bad grade on a test, when you didn’t study for the test? Have you ever gotten upset because you were grounded, even though you deserved to be grounded? When we don’t give our absolute best, we can expect trouble. It’s like the old saying goes, “If you do the crime you must do the time.”
Cain didn’t present an acceptable offering to God. He should have recognized his own mistake and done what was right next time. Instead, he takes his anger out on his brother and kills him (Gen 4:8). What a terrible thing to do! God has to punish Cain for his terrible actions, and the consequences are way worse. If only Cain had given God the offering He deserved, all of this could have been avoided.
Consider the Following:
- Have you ever felt overlooked, because you did not give your all to something?
- Have you gotten mad at someone because of your own responsibilities?
- Why is it important to take responsibility for our actions?