In this chapter we see the two choices that men can make in regard to God. Cain was the very first natural born man on the planet. Eve, his mother, acknowledged the Lord’s help in giving birth to him and Cain himself was the very first man who decided to bring an offering to the Lord. So far so good. By now he had a younger brother Abel, whose name means ‘breath’ or figuratively ‘vanity’. He followed his elder brother’s good example and also brought an offering to the Lord. But trouble broke out when Abel’s offering was accepted, and Cain’s was not. Abel’s short life reminds us that our own is but a breath.
Cain who as the elder brother was supposed to protect was angry. He said to his younger brother, “Come let’s go out to the field”, and there, the unsuspecting Abel was murdered by his own brother. God explains why Cain’s offering was rejected, “If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”(Genesis 4:7 NASB). The offering is a token of the person making it. Your offering cannot be accepted whilst your heart is wrong (Matthew 5:24).
After this horrible murder God cursed Cain from the ground that he would work (that had received the righteous blood of Abel). Cain protested that this would make him a restless wanderer and a target for being killed. Who would kill him is a real theological dilemma given that only his parents and he were on earth, but it can be explained by the Hebrew where ‘he’ and ‘it’ are inter-changeable. In my view, Cain is speaking of any wild beast. Cain appealed God’s judgment, and immediately received a merciful mark, that would deter any beast or man from slaying him. How great are the mercies of God to even the vilest of sinners!
The descendants of Cain were numerous and skilled and included another murderer, Lamech (verse 23). Then Adam and Eve had a third son, Seth who had a son Enos (meaning, a man) and from this new man, men again began to call upon the Lord.
Dear Lord, help me to be one who chooses to acknowledge You, become master over sin, and be accepted by You, by Your grace.