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Apr 29, 2018

Cain & Abel: The First Murder

Cain & Abel: The First Murder

Passage: Genesis 4:1-17

Speaker: Pastor Chris Riedel

Series: Sacred Characters

Category: Power, life

Keywords: abel, cain

Morality is not optional. What you sow; you will reap. In Cain & Abel, judgment is not the last word. The last word is a word of Grace.


Genesis 4:1-17


When I read the story of Cain and Abel, I am left with a couple of questions. First, what does it mean when it says, “The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering?” Was it a verbal approval? Did he bless Abel in some unexpected way? Clearly it was apparent to both brothers how God received their offerings. 

Second, why did God not have the same reaction to Cain’s offering? I have heard various explanations over the course of my life, but none of them seemed to satisfy my curiosity. It is just one of those mysteries. Maybe God was just watching his carbs that week. 

Cain’s reaction in the story is less of a mystery. Jealousy I get. Many a time the sin of jealousy has been, “crouching at my door.” My faith is strong when I focus my energies on my relationship with God. It is the sideways glance that gets me in trouble. Occasionally I fall into the trap of comparing my faith and circumstances to those of others. I start asking questions like, “Why does that person live such a charmed life? Why do I have to deal with so much hardship?” The minute I let my focus slip, I miss out on the joy of relationship. Instead the slow burn of jealousy creeps in. 

And while I have never killed anyone, I have had bouts of anger. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus equates anger with murder. Which, in a sense, puts me right in Cain’s shoes. 

Anger is a double whammy. It erodes faith in the long term. And it steals joy in the short term. But I don’t have to give in to this emotion. When I see sin crouching at my door, I can stop. I can recognize it for what it is. And I can let it go.  

God loves me. Unconditionally. But I do not see the big picture. I must trust that God’s actions are always in my best interest. Romans 8:28 tells me that, “all things work together for good.” I may not know what God is doing in the short term. But my faith tells me that in the long run, He’s got my back. 


God help me to keep my eyes on You. Let me feel joy when You bless others. Let me rest easy in the knowledge that Your love extends to me, even when I let jealous rob me of joy.

Written by Ben Roberts. Ben leads one of the Men’s Ministry groups. He lives in Ashburn with his wife Jennifer and their son Ethan.