Note: Every Sunday, DrydenWire.com publishes a submitted article in a weekly series from Pastor Brian Cole. If you would have a question for Brian or would like to learn more about him, visit his website or his official Facebook page.
Genesis 4:1-5 - WORSHIPPING GOD ON HIS TERMS – Part 1
The account in Genesis 4 begins with these words: “Now the man had relations with his wife Eve, and she conceived and gave birth to Cain” (4:1a).
After the fall, Adam and Eve began a family. Eve gave birth to “Cain” whose name means, “acquire, get, or possess.” His Hebrew name is Cain; his English name would be “Got.” Eve responded to Cain’s birth by saying, “I have gotten a man-child with the help of the LORD.” The literal rendering of Eve’s reply is, “I have gotten a son, the Lord.” Some commentators interpret this to mean that Eve believes she has begotten the Savior.
Remember what God said to Eve and the serpent in Gen. 3:15 - “And I will put enmity between you and the woman. And between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head and you will strike His heel.” This HAD to be on her mind when the baby was born. Eve understood from that prophecy that one of her offspring would bring about her redemption! But, regardless, Eve acknowledges that God has enabled her to bear a child, a child through whom her deliverance may soon come!
Then, in 4:2a, we read: “Again, she gave birth to his brother Abel.” Unlike Cain’s name, Abel’s name is not explained by Eve. However, the Hebrew word “Abel” is the word “vanity” or “breath,” appearing throughout Ecclesiastes. I want pause here to bring up a couple things of great importance before we get on to the next part of the text.
First, we will notice that Cain didn’t go wrong through the influence of the boys at school or the friends he hung around with! There were no “evil companions” that led him into sin! He had the taint in his blood: so does EVERY child born! As Psalm 58:3 reads: “They go astray as soon as they are born, speaking lies.”
And secondly - the historicity of Cain and Abel. Just as in the case of Adam and Eve, the N.T. considers Cain and Abel as characters in history. Among other verses, We read in 1 John 3:12 - “Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother, because his own actions were evil and his brothers were righteous.”
But even more than a historic fact is involved. There is an actual “line of Cain” in which we should not walk. In Hebrews 11:4, Abel is put into a line of historic characters, the “line of faith,” and we are commanded to walk in this line. Abel is the first one mentioned in this line! I think this is important to know for those who want to have us believe that all these characters in the book of Genesis are fictional, and it’s all just a “story!”
So, after giving a brief account of the birth of the two sons, the narrative focuses on the worship of these two brothers. And the primary purpose of this account is to reveal what kind of worship is pleasing to God. Like so many other passages in Genesis that we have covered thus far, we could ask ourselves here: “How do we come to our conclusion as to WHY God didn’t accept Cain’s sacrifice but did accept Abel’s? Because the WHY isn’t explained in this text. (If someone asked, how could you answer)?
Again, this is why good Bible interpretation is so important, not just believing what others say or making assumptions, but interpreting Scripture with Scripture. It’s also important to repeat that, in Scripture, some things are a mystery and remain a mystery. Some things are not explained. But many things which might start out as a mystery are revealed later in Scripture. Doing your own Word searches and topical searched are invaluable, much more valuable than reading what a commentator says or listening to what a Pastor says. Look into it yourself!
Next week we will look in depth at the worship of the two brothers and what was acceptable to God and what was not, and why. Blessings to you all.