Read Genesis 4
As we continue our journey through the Book of Genesis, we now explore the lives and actions of Cain and Abel. In this chapter we will learn the outcome of “doing it my way” vs. “doing it God’s way.”
Genesis 4 1-2
After being cast out of God’s Garden, Adam and Eve had children, which included two sons named Cain and Abel. Holy Spirit informs us in v.2 that both sons had respectable jobs. Cain was a tiller of the ground, whereas Abel was a keeper of the sheep.
Genesis 4:3-5 Worshiping The Lord
How old Cain and Abel were we are not told, but as recorded, it would appear both men were adults. The phrase recorded in verse 3 says: “And in the process of time it came to pass,” meaning a lot of time had pass since the boy’s birth. On one particular day, both Cain and Abel presented themselves before the LORD to offer Him a sacrifice of worship. Cain’s offering was a sacrifice from the fruit of the ground. Abel’s offering was a sacrifice of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat. The Lord had respect to Abel’s offering, but unto Cain’s offering He had no respect. This made Cain very angry!
Genesis 4:6-7 The Lord Confronts Cain
Verses 6-7 remind me of a parent reprimanding their child. The Lord compassionately asks Cain “what is wrong and why does your face look so distraught?” Cain didn’t respond! The Lord then explains to Cain his problem! Cain didn’t want to worship the Lord as required. He wanted to worship by “doing it his way!” The Lord says to Cain, “when you do what is right you will be accepted, if not sin lies at the door desiring you.” So, what does this mean?
We can’t come to the Lord in any form or fashion or whatever we feel is best. The Lord is Holy and as such we are to respect who He is, our Creator who is righteous and holy! In this historically account we see Cain symbolically representing a “religious spirit” and Abel symbolically representing a “man of faith.” A religious spirit person is prideful and says, “I will approach God my way, which is false worship,” whereas a man of faith is humble and says, “I will approach God with reverence and with obedience.” The Lord then says unto Cain, “Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.” With the Lord telling Cain sin lies at the door, He was referring to Cain’s heart condition. Cain’s heart was not concerned with worshiping God the correct way. He demonstrated a disobedient heart, which is a “hardened heart, rejecting the Cross.”
Genesis 4:8-10 Hardened Heart Sins
God’s rejection of Cain’s sacrifice didn’t lead him to repentance, instead Cain allowed his anger and jealousy lead him to murder. Verse 8 reads that while Cain talked with Abel, his brother, in a field his angry rose up against his brother and killed him. Cain’s anger was really directed toward God, and this undealt with anger produced bitterness, that turned into jealousy with the end result of a hardened heart, producing murder.
Cain allowed the hardness of his heart to rule over him, hence sin lying at the door of his heart. After this violent act, the Lord called out to Cain asking “where is your brother” (giving him an opportunity to confess his sin), he replied, “I know not, am I my brother’s keeper?” (Read James 5:16). This verse reveals to the reader that God sees everything, nothing is hidden from Him (read Psalms 139). However, God will always confront us first with an opportunity to repent of our sin. As we continue to read these scriptures, the Lord confronts Cain by saying, “the voice of thy brother’s blood cries unto to me from the ground.” Think about this for a moment – “the voice of his blood cries out!” In other words, Abel’s blood was calling out for revenge! Life is precious to God. Cain’s “religious spirit” and “hardened heart” refused to repent or take responsibility for his unrighteous act against his brother Abel. A person with a hardened heart justifies their wrong doing, while a man of faith readily repents before God.
What is God’s Way? The way of the Promised One, i.e., the Cross (Jesus Christ)! Until the Promised One was to come, it was to be a “blood shed” offering, which was an animal sacrifice! This was demonstrated to Adam and Eve in Genesis 3:21 “Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them.” When God made coats of skins for them, an innocence animal had to die. This animal was killed in the presence of Adam and Eve to show them that blood had to he shed for the covering of their sins until the Promised One comes. Adam and Eve taught “animal sacrifice” to Cain and Abel, that is why God didn’t accept Cain’s offering, he knew the right way but chose to “do it his way.” (Matthew Henry states there is evidence that the First Family had an Altar and offered sacrificial offerings to God).
Genesis 4:11-15 Consequences of Doing It My Way
Sin always produces unwanted consequences, especially unconfessed sin! Cain’s consequences were severe, especially since he was a farmer. The curse God pronounced on Cain was fourfold:
-The earth would no longer produce food for him.
-He would no longer do the work he enjoyed.
-He would be a fugitive and vagabond on the earth.
-He would be hidden from the face of God from which came his blessings and protection.
Cain’s response to the Lord was not one of remorse. It was one of a religious spirit, “what did I do wrong, why am I being punished so severely? Everyone will try to hurt me! This punishment is unfair!” Cain now realizes the magnitude of sin. Sin separates us from the Lord, when this happens, we become open prey for our enemy, satan (read 1 John 1:6). Knowing this, Cain still has no remorse for murdering his brother. It’s still all about him! This is what happens when we want to “do it our way!” A person with a religious spirit never sees fault in self, only in others.
If Cain would have repented, I don’t believe his judgment would have been so severe (read 1 John 1:9). However, God did show some mercy to Cain by placing a “mark” on him that prevented others from killing him. The Lord said “whosoever’s kills Cain, He (God) will avenge sevenfold.” I always found this to be a bit unnerving, Cain wasn’t too concerned about killing Abel, but was mortified of someone killing him, that’s what religious spirit does – thinks of self only.
Genesis 4:16-17 Religion Rejects God
After his pronounced judgment, Cain went out from the presence of God and dwelt in the land of Nod, married and had children. While in the land of Nod, Cain built a city and named it after his firstborn Enoch. Unfortunately, Cain rejected God and continued in his path of wanting to do things his way. This “religious spirit” of his was evident with the naming of his son Enoch, which means “education.” The city of Nod was dedicated to be a place of education and learning, void of God, but full of intellect.
Conclusion: Religious spirit is a person, group or organization that opposes the truth of God and His ways. A religious spirit says, I will disregard God’s way and “do it my way.” Faith says “obedience is better than sacrifice!” Religious spirit produces a hardened heart toward God, whereas faith embraces the things of God.
Religious spirit receives judgment, whereas faith receives blessing and protection. God tells us to guard our heart because the issue of life flows from it. We should never not allow sin to harden our heart and become unbelieving. There is only one way to God and that way is through Jesus Christ and Him crucified – the finished work of the Cross.
Yes, God created us with “free will, or choice,” but the price for “doing it our way” is costly, it is separation from God, which ultimately is eternal damnation. Don’t fall into satan’s trap of “doing it your way.” Seek God’s perfect will for your life, which is to live a life free from the bondage of sin. Jesus Christ went to the Cross for mankind so that “whosoever will” believe in Him as Lord and Saviour of their life will have eternal life with Him. Cain and Abel were both taught there is only one way! Unfortunately, Cain chose the religious spirit way, while Abel chose faith. Which way have you chosen?
Ask Jesus into your heart today.
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Thank you for this beautifully written account of what happens when we chose to do things “our way” vs. “God’s way.” Holiness, is and always will be, the only standard by which God holds us to. Forgiveness is always available, but we must be willing to express a Godly sorrow and true, heart felt repentance (turning away from sin). I have chosen to do it “Gods way”)!
Well say, God always accepts our heart of forgiveness. Thank you.
Thank you for taking your time and writing a blog. I really looked forward to your post and now blog.
Thank you Missi. Your comment is very encouraging.