Do you have brothers and sisters? Maybe you get angry with them sometimes! Let’s learn about the first siblings in the history of the world and how they met a sad end because of one brother’s pride and anger against the other.
Genesis tells us about these brothers, Cain and Abel. Their parents were Adam and Eve, the first man and woman. According to Genesis 4, we believe these brothers were twins. Can you imagine being the very first siblings on earth? We read about these brothers after their parents sinned in the Garden of Eden. Abel was a shepherd and Cain was a “tiller of the ground” – a farmer. Even though they had different jobs, both acknowledged God, and one day, they each brought a sacrifice to God as He required after their parents sinned.
Maybe your parents have a garden where they grow vegetables. Being a farmer, Cain brought his harvest as a sacrifice to God. Abel, however, brought a little lamb. Surely God would be pleased with both sacrifices since each brother brought something important to him! But God accepted Abel’s offering and did not accept Cain’s. Why? By offering up a lamb to die in his place, Abel showed his hatred of sin and his need to ask for God’s forgiveness. He had shed the blood of one of his precious lambs, showing his humility and reverence of God. Cain brought the fruit of his own works with a proud heart, which was not acceptable to God. Maybe Cain brought the best of his harvest! But, bringing our best works to God is not enough.
When God did not accept Cain’s sacrifice, Cain became angry. God gave him another opportunity to do it right and told him if he would make a proper sacrifice, he would rule over Abel. Instead of repenting and making an acceptable sacrifice, though, Cain did something terrible: he killed Abel! Cain’s pride and anger were so strong that he committed the first murder in the Bible. He wanted to be first in God’s eyes, so he disobeyed God’s command and killed his own brother. Pride and anger can lead to awful things!
Soon after, God asked Cain, “Where is Abel thy brother?” Cain did not confess and repent; he lied to God, saying, “I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper?” Cain piled one sin upon another. He committed murder and then lied about it! Rather than becoming a ruler over his brother, Cain received God’s punishment: he was sent away from home to become a fugitive – someone who wandered for the rest of his life in a place called Nod. “Nod” means having no place to rest. No matter where Cain went, he would never be able to escape the guilt of killing his brother.
Without Jesus Christ, we are like Cain – trying to please God by our works. Perhaps you think you are a good boy or girl because you come to church, attend Sunday School, and say or do all the right things. But God sees your heart. Your own goodness is called “self-righteousness” or thinking very highly of yourself. This cannot save you. To be accepted by God, you must come to Christ for salvation, trusting His sacrifice to cleanse away your sin just as Abel did when he shed a lamb’s blood as a sacrifice to God. In the same way that Cain was doomed to roam in the land of Nod for the rest of his life, you will be left to face a lost eternity if you reject God’s way. As we close, think about this chorus of an old hymn entitled, “Christ is the Saviour of Sinners.”
Saviour of sinners,
Saviour of sinners like me,
Shedding His blood for my ransom,
Christ is the Saviour for me!