The First Murder
Now Cain talked with Abel his brother; and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him. Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” He said, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?” And He said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to Me from the ground. So now you are cursed from the earth, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. When you till the ground, it shall no longer yield its strength to you. A fugitive and a vagabond you shall be on the earth.” And Cain said to the LORD, “My punishment is greater than I can bear! Surely You have driven me out this day from the face of the ground; I shall be hidden from Your face; I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond on the earth, and it will happen that anyone who finds me will kill me.” And the LORD said to him, “Therefore, whoever kills Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold.” And the LORD set a mark on Cain, lest anyone finding him should kill him. Then Cain went out from the presence of the LORD and dwelt in the land of Nod on the east of Eden. (Genesis 4:8-16)
Unwilling to humble himself and get right with God, Cain turned his anger against his own flesh and blood and murdered him. His motive was envy (1 John 3:12). Because he himself did not live under the grace of God, he did not extend grace to his brother. Instead of rejoicing in his brother’s acceptance by God, Cain was deeply troubled by it … to the point of ending Abel’s life. According to Jesus Christ, when we are angry with our brother we are guilty of murder (Matthew 5:21-22). In this case, physical murder mixed with envy and anger.
Abel’s blood cried out to God, and God heard. Cain was brought into immediate correction and chastisement; cursed from the earth, Cain was forced into a nomadic life. The ground would no longer bless him with abundance, the same ground from which his failed sacrifice had come. The works of his flesh had done him no good.
Because he did not live a life of faith, he was afraid. He didn’t trust God, therefore did not rely upon His protection. Graciously and mercifully, the LORD placed some sort of protective mark on Cain so no one would kill him. He would live in the land of Nod, the land of wandering and exile.
For Further Review
1. How does failing to live under God’s grace affect our relationships with others?
2. What can be done about this spiritual and relational problem?
3. How does fear correspond with a life not lived by faith? Think of areas in your life where you may be experiencing fear. How would living by faith alleviate that fear?