When they grew up, Abel became a shepherd, and Cain became a farmer.
In Genesis 4:2, we find the first original employments of mankind. Abel kept flocks and Cain worked the soil. In the downturn of unemployment rates, maybe we should consider taking these up again. Many Americans have done just that and have begun raising chickens, goats, and rabbits in their back yard, and have planted vegetable gardens as well. Back during World War II, people were planting victory gardens to be more self sufficient and to help the government provide for the soldiers. We ought to take that concept back and run with it. We need to plant victory gardens to become more self sufficient and let the government take care of those it needs to. If a war breaks out on our soil, as it could any day with terrorists threats looming on the near horizon, we will be hard pressed to survive if we don’t have our own gardens and flocks to help provide for our family’s needs. Not only that, but with all the e-coli scares in highly processed foods, we need to be getting our food from the local community or our own back yards. Whether employed elsewhere or not, there’s no shame in going back to Genesis, and working the soil and tending the flocks!
At the end of the year, when it was time for the harvest, Cain brought some of his crops as a gift to Yahweh and Abel also brought the fattest of the firstborn lambs from his flock. Yahweh accepted Abel and his gift, but he didn’t accept Cain and his gift. This made Cain very angry, and he looked upset.
In Genesis 4:3-5 We see that Cain bought the fruit of the ground, and Abel brought the fat portions of the firstborn of the flock to God. God favored Abel’s offering but not Cain’s, so Cain became angry and jealous. If we look carefully at these verses, we see that Cain brought fruit, but not necessarily the best, nor the first fruit. We also see that Abel brought the firstborn of his flock. God favored Abel’s offering, because it was the best he had and it was given from the heart. We don’t need to bring just any part of our income or produce to God, but the best and first part. God won’t favor us when we bring him our left-overs, instead of our first and best part. We need to tithe off the first of our income and not just bring what’s left after paying the bills and doing what we want to do.
So Yahweh asked Cain. “Why are you so angry?” “Why do you look so upset? Won’t you be accepted if you do what’s right? But if you don’t do what’s right, sin follows. Sin wants to have control over you, but you must control it.
In Genesis 4:6-7, we see that God knew of Cain’s rebelliousness and anger. God said to him, if you do what’s right, you’ll be accepted. But if we don’t do what’s right to begin with, more sin follows. God’s word says sin wants to control us, but we can control it. Sin can be controlled by choice. We can choose to do what’s right when faced with temptation, or we can choose to do wrong and go our own way. Sin can only control us if we let it, whether that sin be adultery, stealing, homosexuality, or any other sin that confronts us. Sin is always a choice, and we can choose to control it, rather than letting it control us.
Then Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go into the field.” And when they were in the field, Cain fought with his brother, Abel, and killed him.
In Genesis 4:8 Cain asked Abel to go out in the field where he killed him. We can learn a few things from this verse. The first thing we see is that abuse is always preempted by the anger of the abuser. We see that Abel did nothing wrong, but was an innocent victim of Cain’s anger. Often the victim doesn’t see what’s coming and doesn’t even know what hit him. Abuse is never the victim’s fault, but is always the responsibility and choice of the abuser. We also see that the abuser almost always abuses the victim out of the view of others. The abuser separates the victim from contact with others who may be of help to the victim. The most important lesson we can learn from this, is to never let ourselves be put in a position where we are alone and with out help when someone comes against us, especially if that person is a known abuser. We need to always stay with another person or in a group setting, when possible and not be alone with an abuser.
Then Yahweh asked Cain, “Where is your brother, Abel?” So Cain said, “I don’t know! Am I my brother’s keeper?” Then God said, “What have you done? The sound of your brother’s blood cries out to Me from the ground! Now you’re punished from the ground, which has swallowed your brother’s blood, which you killed. When you work the land, it won’t give you anymore crops to make you strong! From now on you’ll be a wanderer on the earth, shaking in fear.”
Genesis 4:9-12 shows us that God will hold the abuser accountable even if the abuser tries to shirk his responsibility and believes he got away with it. God hears the victim’s cries, even if the victim is dead and will bring justice for the victim. The abuser will be punished by God in righteous judgment, and will always be in fear of his punishment.
Then Cain said to Yahweh, “My punishment is too great for me! You’ve sent me from the land and I hide from your presence; you’ve made me a shaking wanderer. Everyone who finds me will try to kill me!” So Yahweh said, “No, I’ll punish anyone who kills you seven times as much.” Then Yahweh put a mark on Cain to warn anyone who might try to kill him. So Cain left Yahweh’s presence and wandered around, living in the land of Nod, east of Eden.
Genesis 4:13-16 shows us that we often believe our punishment is more than we can bear, but that God is merciful when we cry out to Him, even after we’ve sinned. When we sin, the consequences are often that we are separated from both God and other people. We are not allowed in God’s presence when we are sinful and unrepentant, and often other people don’t won’t to be around us either. If abusers don’t change their destructive behavior patterns, those who they hurt will eventually not won’t to be near them and rightly so. They may forgive the abuser but will not continue the relationship unless they see change. In verses 15 and 16 we see that God marked Cain for his protection. We often wonder why God allows people who hurt and kill others to be protected from punishment by others. Often we don’t see or understand that God sometimes has a greater purpose in mind and often just wants to show us His mercy.