And it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up
against Abel his brother, and slew him.
Read Genesis 4:3-8
The actions revealed in our text occurred as the result of the fruits which
the two brothers had presented to the Lord. The one gave of the fruit of his
herds and the other from the fruit of the land. These sacrifices may be seen
as the first thanksgiving offerings given to God. However, the Lord does not
primarily consider what has been placed on the altar, but He looks at the
hearts of those giving the offerings. The Lord respected Abel and his offering,
but not Cain and his offering. God did not receive the one offering due to
what He saw in the hearts of the two brothers. Since we do not know what
lives in a man’s heart, our assessment must be based on externals. Abel took
the most beautiful and best animal from his flock, while what Cain brought
from his produce receives no special attention.
The fact that Cain’s heart was not properly motivated in humble service
unto God is shockingly revealed in the aftermath. The jealousy that had been
fermenting in Cain’s heart suddenly bursts forth when he kills his younger
brother out in the field.
Many lessons can be drawn from this history. We must realize that jealousy
is a deadly evil (sometimes literally). Much damage and shame is experienced
due to envy and spiteful feelings. The Lord Jesus teaches us a different
posture. Whoever learns to rest in His sacrificial love receives a higher
calling, “Let nothing be done through strife or vain glory; but in lowliness of
mind let each esteem other better than themselves.” (Phil. 2:3)
Thought: People are more often jealous about others’ possessions than
Psalter 341:2, 3 (based on Psalm 119)
Deceit and falsehood I abhor, But in Thy law delight;
Throughout the day I praise Thy Name, For all Thy ways are right.
Great peace has he who loves Thy law, Unmoved, he safely stands;
For Thy salvation I have hoped And followed Thy commands.