Brotherly Hate - The One Year Through the Bible Devotional

Brotherly Hate

3When it was time for the harvest, Cain presented some of his crops as a gift to the LORD. 4Abel also brought a gift—the best of the firstborn lambs from his flock. The LORD accepted Abel and his gift, 5but he did not accept Cain and his gift. This made Cain very angry, and he looked dejected. 6“Why are you so angry?” the LORD asked Cain. . . . 7“You will be accepted if you do what is right. But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master.” 8One day Cain suggested to his brother, “Let’s go out into the fields.” And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother, Abel, and killed him. 9Afterward the LORD asked Cain, “Where is your brother? Where is Abel?” “I don’t know,” Cain responded. “Am I my brother’s guardian?”

Genesis 4:3-9

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How do you react when someone suggests that you have done something wrong? Do you move to correct the mistake, or do you deny that you have a problem or need to do anything? What about when the critic is someone in your family?

This reading describes Adam and Eve’s immediate family. It focuses mostly on Cain, the first son—his choices and what God thought of them. Don’t read too fast or you will miss important details—but it’s all there, including the most horrifying fact of all: Cain killed his brother, Abel. Our experiences today mirror what occurred between these two brothers, however horrifying, because theirs is the story of what can happen when anger and jealousy rule.

Tangles in the ties that bind—reacting to criticism, jealousy, sibling rivalry—all appear in this passage. The lessons bear remembering, so you’d better go slow.

Read Genesis 4:1–5:32

Cain’s failures hinged on his reaction to God’s rebuke (Genesis 4:6-7). We don’t know why God rejected Cain’s sacrifice. But instead of listening to God, learning, and changing his ways, he reacted impulsively. Cain was wrong, yet he would not accept responsibility for or deal with it. He countered God’s correction with anger and denial.

After Cain’s sacrifice was rejected, God gave him the chance to right his wrong and try again. God even encouraged him to do so, but Cain proudly refused. The rest of Cain’s life is a startling example of what happens to those who refuse to admit their mistakes. It also shows what happens when we blame others for our problems and allow anger to build.

As you read this passage, learn from Cain’s mistakes. Then the next time someone suggests you are wrong, especially God, take an honest look at yourself, and make the necessary changes.

From the Book: