LESSON 03 – Cain & Abel – Genesis 4

Discussion

  • Adam and Eve have children. We are told of only the boys in this passage, but we know from reading further that girls were born as well. Why? Where else would have they gotten wives as mention in 4: 17-23? The age-old question of “Where did Cain get his wife?” is really quit simple to answer! From Adam and Eve!
  • Who was the oldest brother? Cain or Abel? What were their occupations or jobs? (4:1-3)
  • Cain and Abel each brought an offering to God. Why would they bring offerings to God? {possible answer: because they needed to be in God’s favor. After sin man had to bring sacrifices to God for the forgiveness of sin – these offerings would show that they believed in the promise of a savior given to Adam and Eve in Gen. 3:15. What did each bring? What was the problem – why did Cain get angry? {Cain became angry because God was only pleased with Abel and his offering.)
  • Why was God happy with Abel’s offering, but rejected Cain’s? {possible answer: Abel in faith was offering was an animal. Read Hebrews 11:4. Cain’s offering required no death. God cannot forgive sin without the shedding of blood.  (Hebrews 9:22) Cain wanted to come to God on his own terms.  If he wanted to come to God on God’s terms, he would have had to humble himself and trade some of his produce for one of Abel’s lambs.}
  • What warning did God give to Cain about his anger? {possible answers: That his anger was leading him toward sin. “Crouching at the door” pictures the sin about to overtake him.  God encourages Cain to do what is right – bring the right kind of sacrifice – and he too would be accepted.}
  • What does Cain’s anger lead him to do? How does Cain respond to God afterwards? What curses come on Cain as a result of his sin? {Possible answers: Cain takes his brother out into the field – evidently away from everyone else – and murders him.  Cain shrugs off God’s question about the whereabouts of Abel – He does NOT repent or humble himself before God. His curse is that he will no longer be able to get his living from the ground. He would have to wander for the rest of his life.}
  • Cain despairs over his punishment. What are his objections to his punishment? {possible answers: it is more than he can handle; he will be hidden from God; everyone will want to kill him (other brothers and sisters and possibly nephews and nieces as well) in revenge.} Cain is given a mark that tells others that God is protecting him.  If they kill Cain, they would suffer 7 times more than Cain for his murder.
  • The rest of this passage tells of Cain and the families that come from his line. With older children check out some of their occupations and accomplishments.  Do these people live like cavemen? No, we see city-builders, musicians, metal workers,etc.
  • Who replaces Abel as the son of promise? (4:25) Check out the genealogy Jesus in Luke 3:37. Seth is listed!

Application

  • What really is Cain’s problem? Is it his brother? {possible answers: no, Abel isn’t really the problem. Cain’s problem is with God. Cain wants to come to God on his own terms – He wants to decide what an acceptable offering is.  He was proud of the fruits and vegetables he had raised. When his offering was rejected he became angry.} Why couldn’t God give his approval to the fruit? {Remind them of Hebrews 9:22 – God’s plan for acceptance is that blood would be shed.  It is a picture of Jesus’ redemption.}
  • For older students: How does John 14:6 help us understand God’s problem with Cain’s sacrifice? {The one and only way to God is through the son of promise, Jesus Christ. Those in the Old Testament who believed in God were saved by faith in the coming savior. They demonstrated their faith by sacrificing animals. Later on in Exodus God would give specific, detailed instructions on animal sacrifice. This would continue until Jesus once and for all paid the price for sin. Hebrews 10:1-10.}
  • What can we learn from Cain’s life? What does anger do to a person? Cain’s anger at Abel is really anger at God. However, Cain is jealous of his brother’s approval. Eventually that jealousy and anger lead him to committing murder.  We may think that that could never happen to us. We’d never be that way.
  • However, what does Jesus say about hating your brother in Matthew 5:21,22? {Hating your brother makes you just as guilty as murdering him!} Talk to your children about how sin always takes you farther than you want to go. Cain’s sin was the sin of pride. Rather than trust in God and do things His way, he believed that his own efforts could make him and God happy.  When this did not happen, he did not repent. Rather, he began to lash out to his brother in anger and this eventually led to murder. When confronted with his sin, Cain flippantly asks, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” He continues on in his sin and is banished and branded by God.
  • Are there areas of anger in you and your children’s lives? What could this lead to? In what areas do you need to break down your pride and accept God’s way of doing things? Remind your child that God knows our heart and that if we harbor bad feelings about others (our brothers, sisters, family members, friends, anyone we have contact with) God sees that as just as sinful as murder!  Confess together those areas that you identified and ask for forgiveness of God. (I Jn 1:9 and Matt. 5:23)

Digging Deeper

  1. Compare the responses of Adam, Cain and Lamech to their sins.  (Genesis 3:8-13;4:5-13;4:23-24) Is there a trend or are they different? How would you characterize each person’s response? What can you learn from these responses? How do you respond when confronted with sin? How do you need to grow in this area? End with at least 3 verses that tell how to respond to sin.
  2. Do you struggle with anger? What does that really mean? Do a study on the word “anger” in the book of Proverbs and write down what you learn about it from these verses.  Give at least three things that you will do to combat anger in your life this week.