Let’s look at the children of our parents after The Fall. We know the account of Cain and Abel. Let’s read it again, and I’ll show you how pride was the reason Cain killed his brother:
1 And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the Lord. 2 And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.
3 And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord. 4 And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering: 5 but unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.
6 And the Lord said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? 7 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.
8 And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him. 9 And the Lord said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper? 10 And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground. (Gen 4:1-10).
Why didn’t God accept Cain’s offering? There are various conclusions. Some say it wasn’t the best of Cain’s produce. Others say he had the wrong attitude. My conclusion is different: God wanted a blood sacrifice and Cain brought something else. Hebrews 12:24 indicates a blood offering was required:
… and to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel (Hebrew 12:24)
And remember, God slayed an animal for their parents after they sinned back in Eden, so I’m pretty confident this was a blood sacrifice for sins.
Hebrews chapter eleven talks about all the people who had faith in God, and we see that faith equates to following instructions. And those instructions were simple: bring me a sheep to sacrifice for your sins. Verse four sheds more light on Abel’s offering:
By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh. (Hebrews 11:4)
It’s clear that each knew what to bring. God didn’t leave Cain out of the loop. God is always clear about what’s acceptable to him. The Lord didn’t reject Cain just because he wanted to favor Abel. No. Cain was simply disobedient because of the pride in his heart.
Cain was too proud to acquire a sheep from his brother Abel. Cain was the older brother, Abel was the younger. Cain would have to ask or exchange some grain for one of his brother’s cattle.
Cain was proud of his position as elder, and didn’t want to humble himself, and ask Abel for an animal to sacrifice. A god doesn’t need to go to someone else for what they need especially someone who’s younger or lower in rank. So Cain decided to give God some produce from his own labor. Like many firsts at the beginning of time, I think this was the first time someone decided to give God whatever they wanted, instead of what he required.
Proud people don’t respect the true God and disobey his commandments. The proud have a hard time following orders because they believe they are god. A god doesn’t follow orders, they only give them.
The lesson is: you can’t give God whatever you want. Cain’s pride got him rejected and this was probably public—making it even more the humiliating. So he became “very wroth” as the verse is rendered (Gen 4:5); this meant he was exceedingly, with much abundance, furious! And why, again, because of pride.
The prouder you are, the harder rejection is for you. In the mind of a god, gods are always accepted, but rejection says to a false god, “You’re a mere human.” When the proud are rejected, it exposes the truth about their false core beliefs; and they hate that.
On top of that, his younger brother, who he looked down on, was accepted. So, the rejection made Cain look lessor than his younger brother; this resulted in envy. The root of envy is pride.
But God told him “You will be accepted if you do what is right. But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master” (Genesis 4:7 NLT)
Abel was born into sin too. He had the same god complex as everyone else, but he chose to ignore it and obey God anyway. He took rule over the sin in his soul, but Cain didn’t. I believe there were consistent choices Cain made which led to God’s rejection and slaying his brother.
But God was giving Cain a second change. All Cain had to do was humble himself, get from his brother the correct sacrifice, and present it to God; but of course that didn’t happen. At that point, Cain didn’t care about God’s acceptance, he was looking for an outlet to his anger, and to right a wrong he thought was done against him. So, after some time, he killed his brother. And this is what proud people do to the humble, they hate, and kill them because they know they’re accepted by God, but they are not.
11 For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. 12 Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous. (1 John 3:11-12)
Abel’s name wasn’t mentioned in Adam’s genealogy because he died; and Cain’s name was omitted from the genealogy because he was cut off from his family as punishment. He lost all rights as the first-born:
11 And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother’s blood from thy hand; 12 when thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth. (Gen 4:11-12)
Cain was banished from the land of his family. While farming became difficult because of his dad’s first sin, now it would be even more for Cain. On top of that, he would be homeless. Notice how there’s a cause and effect for every sin committed.
13 And Cain said unto the Lord, My punishment is greater than I can bear.14 Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth; and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass, that every one that findeth me shall slay me. (Genesis 4:13-14)
Cain never once asked for forgiveness. Pride doesn’t ask for forgiveness. A god doesn’t need to be forgiven. Asking for forgiveness requires humility, something Cain didn’t have.
He was consumed with himself. He was selfish. All he could think about was how bad the consequences were for him. There was no sorrow for his brother. He didn’t care how his parents felt about the lost of their son.
Pride is the root of selfishness: the inability to feel sorrow for the pain one caused and to be self-consumed with one’s own situation.
15 And the Lord said unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the Lord set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him. 16 And Cain went out from the presence of the Lord, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden. (Gen 4:15-16)
God, in his mercy, didn’t kill Cain for the death of his brother, just as God hasn’t eliminated Satan yet; he allows the wicked to live as examples and tools. While many people call Cain’s act “murder” (or premeditated murder), it was not. It was manslaughter.
He was angry, and in heated passion, killed his brother; this is why he wasn’t wiped out, and why God protected him from anyone who would try avenge Abel. God is just, and knows the intent of the heart, and Cain’s punishment fit the crime.