It is easy to become bitter or jealous when someone else succeeds. We have heard stories about people who were envious of what another did or had and it didn’t turn out too well. Our human nature can cause us to desire what we don’t have – fame, money, power, recognition.
The thing with Cain and Abel was Abel gave to God his best and his firstborn lambs. Cain was a little selfish and only gave some of his crops. Cain messed up by not giving God his best and first crops. His heart was not in his giving at all. He just gave because it was what he was supposed to do.
When God accepted Abel’s gift but not Cain’s, Cain was not happy. God told him he needed to do what was right and not sin. Well, Cain didn’t hear God or maybe didn’t care. He took his brother to the fields and killed him. Then he didn’t confess what he had done or show any remorse.
One lesson from this chapter shows us the power of jealousy and what it can do to our hearts and to others. Another lesson is we are to obey God and live right according to His instruction. And, of course, don’t kill. God punished Cain for his wrongdoing by banishing from the land making him homeless. Just as Cain, we are responsible for all our actions.
Genesis 4:2b-5 “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.” (NLT)
Genesis 4:8 “Cain said to his brother Abel, ‘Let’s go out to the field.’ And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.” (CSB)
Genesis 4:11-12 “Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth.” (NIV)
1. Write in your own words the story of Cain and Abel.
2. List the things that Cain did wrong.
3. Find Scripture about how to do these things right.
4. Ask God to help you to live righteously and not be jealous.
Dear Lord, we don’t want to compare ourselves to others and what they do. Help us remember to do what is right and not be jealous of others. You tell us that it brings honor to You when we offer the first and best of what we have. Remind us we are to do these things because of who You are and in obedience to You. In the name of Jesus, we pray. Amen.
1 John 3:12 “Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his works were evil, and his brother’s were righteous.” (HCSB)
Galatians 3:10 “But those who depend on the law to make them right with God are under his curse, for the Scriptures say, ‘Cursed is everyone who does not observe and obey all the commands that are written in God’s Book of the Law.’” (NLT)
Hebrews 11:4 “It was by faith that Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. God said he was pleased with the gifts Abel offered and called Abel a good man because of his faith. Abel died, but through his faith he is still speaking.” (NCV)
Proverbs 3:9 “Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the first fruits of all your crops (income);” (AMP)