Anyone else have any children and they are as different as different can be? One is an introvert and quiet. The other? You practically have to beg him to please. stop. talking. (Purely hypothetical, of course.) It seems Eve was on the same boat. While the bible does not give more details on the personalities of Cain and Abel, we sense a difference in the two brothers, at least in their chosen profession.
Abel kept the flocks and Cain worked the soil. We see Cain and Abel both making their offerings to the Lord. Abel’s offering were from the first fruit of his flock (v. 4) and Cain’s was some of the fruit of his soil (v.3). But it says God looked with favor on one and not the other.
Why is that? I don’t think God was playing favorites but He definitely has some ideas about the type of sacrifice that is acceptable. By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks. (Hebrews 11:4 ESV)
Maybe when they were little instead of rolling his eyes like Cain did thinking “Oh, no, not this story again!” Abel paid attention when his parents told them about what happened right after they ate of the fruit.
Gen 3:7 “Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.” ESV
God however provided them with something much better: Gen 3:21 “The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.” NIV
It’s as if Abel understood the difference between works of men vs. work of God. He had an inkling of the plan of salvation: Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. (Hebrews 9:22 ESV)
Cain, on the other hand…Did he not think that Abel’s animal sacrifice was enough? That it needed more? The sweat of his brow, perhaps (not literally because that would be gross)? Cain insisted on doing things his own way. He wanted his offering to be a result of his work (Gen 4:3).
Sound familiar? When my cousin Tony first shared the gospel with me, I scoffed. Yes, scoffed! You mean, that’s all I have to do? Accept Jesus and all my sins are forgiven – even the ones in the future? Well, what’s the point of being good, then? Wouldn’t people just go on their merry way sinning left and right because all is forgiven? Surely there’s more. It took 16 years for the message to sink in. (Thank you, Lord for your patience.) When I realized my need for Jesus Christ and how He gave me His all, I finally understood what Tony was trying to tell me. Yes, what Jesus did on the cross, that’s what love and grace really meant. Jesus gave me His all and nothing I do can add to what He has already done. I cannot earn my way to salvation:
Jesus + Nothing = Everything
In this story, Abel died but he really lived. Cain lived but…Genesis 4:16 said that Cain went to the land of Nod:
Nod = “”wandering”
1) land to which Cain fled or wandered after the murder of Abel
Cain ended up in the land of Wandering. Lost. Away from God’s presence and fellowship. In my opinion, that is a fate worse than death.
[Reading from Blue Letter Bible Chronological Plan]