The Gifts

The Gifts

Reading: Genesis 4:1-8

Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, “I have gotten a man with the help of the Lord.” 2 And again, she bore his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain a worker of the ground. 3 In the course of time Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground, 4 and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering, 5 but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell. 6 The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? 7 If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it.”

8 Cain spoke to Abel his brother. And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him. 9 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” He said, “I do not know; am I my brother's keeper?” 10 And the Lord said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother's blood is crying to me from the ground. 11 And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother's blood from your hand. 12 When you work the ground, it shall no longer yield to you its strength. You shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth.” 

My Thoughts

This is the first interaction we see happen outside of Eden between God and the people He created. Eve bore two sons, Cain and Able. We have a description of what their jobs were. Able - a shepherd, and Cain - a farmer.

Both Cain and Able came to offer God an offering, but only Able's gift was accepted. I've always wondered why Able's gift was accepted but not Cain's. In the text we see that Able gave the firstborn of his flock and some extra, but Cain gave of the fruit of the ground. I wonder if the issue is that Cain didn't give God his best.

For Able, it clearly says that it was the firstborn (v4). Culturally speaking, the firstborn of any family is usually considered the most important. But for Cain, I wonder if he gave the best crop of the ground. God responded to Cain saying, (v6,7) “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? 7 If you do well, will you not be accepted?" So it's clear that Cain didn't do what he should have done. Though it's not written, I'm pretty sure God must have given instructions about gift offerings because God isn't one to hold people responsible for something they didn't know. God is just.

As a result of this, Cain became jealous and murdered his brother making this the first act of death recorded in the Bible. Not doing what we know we should....does it open doors for other wrongs to enter our hearts?

Gordon HyppoliteBible, God, Jesus, Gift