Genesis 4 brings us the story of Cain and Abel, which quickly demonstrates the two divisions mankind fell into after the sin of Adam and Eve: those that follow the Lord, and those that don’t. Discover how the story–and blood–of that first martyr Abel is a theme throughout all the Bible, and is a picture of the blood that was shed for us thousands of years later.
Genesis 4-5: Mankind Divides
Last week, we covered Adam and Eve, the first temptation, first attack on marriage, first sin, first sacrificial covering for sin, Adam and Eve being thrown out of the garden. And Genesis 3:15! The first prophecy of a coming Savior.
Not only the first prophecy of Jesus, but it also told of a permanent rift in the human race: mankind would forever be divided into two groups–one that followed God, and one that didn’t. And we see that division–and its results–right away in ch. 4.
But going back to the first children. Eve gave birth to Cain, and then Abel. Abel became a shepherd, and Cain cultivated the ground. Eventually, they each brought an offering to the Lord. On one hand, it made sense that they brought an offering related to their living. But God “respected” one and not her other. And Cain got angry.
So let’s look a bit deeper. Abel brought the first and best of his flock. At some point, he knew that God, as Creator and author of all life, deserved an offering given in faith, and an offering that was the first and best of what Abel had. Also, blood was spilled.
Cain brought just some of his produce. Abel brought his to God in faith that God would bless the rest of the flock. Cain brought what he had left over after taking care of himself. (See Hebrews 11:4)
But Cain blew it right after realizing that the Lord didn’t respect his offering. Instead of getting angry and looking dejected, he should have repented of his attitude and asked what was wrong with his offering. But Cain was of the group that really didn’t follow the Lord.
So he kills Abel. And God asks, “Where is Abel your brother?” Not just “Where is Abel?”… But God emphasizes the relationship, which had its responsibilities. Cain’s answer is classic: Am I my brother’s keeper? He was trying to deflect! And he shows himself a complete hypocrite.
I John 11:3-4 what is RIGHTEOUS is what God wants, not what we want, or even what we want to give to God.
God asks: “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to Me from the ground.” Nothing can be hidden from God. And justice will ultimately prevail. While Abel’s blood cries out for judgment, there is another person’s blood that cries out, too. It cries out for mercy. It’s the blood of Jesus. Hebrews 12:24
And look at Cain’s response! Not, I repent of killing my brother, or I repent of the murder and breaking your commandment. Or I repent of bringing a selfish offering to you. “No, my punishment is too much to bear!”
Then Cain left, found a wife, built a city, and started a line of ungodly descendants. One was Lamech, the first to practice bigamy and was vengeful.
Adam continued to have children. He was 130 when he had another son, Seth. Why end the chapter this way? This is the beginning of the line of people that would follow the Lord! There was Cain’s line, and there was Seth’s line!
Genesis 5 is a genealogy. There is a contrast between Seth’s line and Cain’s. Also, this grouping connects Adam, the first of the human race, with the re-founder of the human race, Noah.
Some major Bible characters are in this list. For instance:
Enoch, the first to not die, but be taken directly into heaven. He’s mentioned several times in the New Testament, too.Also, the oldest person who ever lived, Methuselah. His name signals where we’re going (the flood)! Then, finally, we end up with our next major Bible character–Noah!
So let’s take a quick look at Adam through Noah. That’s a good group. Cain, not so much…
And Abel himself, the first martyr of faith, speaks to us today. He is a foreshadowing of our Lord Jesus, whose “blood…speaks a better word than the blood of Abel” (Hebrews 12:24)
Blood cries out, some for judgment, and some to say that Jesus took the judgement we deserved, crying out to the hungry soul to come and be forgiven.