THE FIRST MURDERER: PRIDE
Cain has the awful reputation of being the first murderer following the creation and fall of Adam and Eve. Not a distinction to brag about, is it? What's even more outstanding about the event is that it could have been prevented if Cain had cooperated with God. Instead, he took several wrong turns that led to his exile for taking the life of his brother. Those wrong turns are what we shall examine now.
First, Cain became a cultivator that worked the soil to raise food crops. Without a doubt, he was a good and prosperous farmer. The Bible reveals that:
"When you cultivate the ground, it will no longer yield its strength to you..." Genesis 4:12
The ground must have been rich in minerals and other nutrients, virgin soil, and Cain was able to harvest a bountiful yield for his labors, as is inferred by the above verse.
It's important to remember that Cain and Abel were the first two children on earth. There were no other young adults around them. They had each other and their parents. Abel chose to be a herdsman and raise animals, probably sheep and goats. Maybe, because of sibling rivalry, Cain chose to be a man of the soil to be better and more outstanding than his kid brother.
Because God is faithful, He made His way clear, so when Cain undertook farming he knew that what he grew would not suffice as a sin offering to God. He knew what he was getting into before he started, but he opted to farm anyway.
Second, Cain was proud of the work of his hands. He dug into the ground, crumbled and loosened the soil so the seeds he planted could thrive. He weeded the growing plants so they could absorb all the nourishment they needed to survive and flourish. The outcome must have been amazing! Cain was proud of his accomplishments. Might we say he worshipped his achievements? They became his idols.
Third, when it came time to give an offering to God, Cain chose the best of what he had raised from the ground. God had used that same ground to form Adam and then Eve. The soil could not redeem soil, no matter what form it took. Cain knew that, yet his pride blinded him to the truth that he had to offer a blood sacrifice to God to be accepted by Him.
Cain knew from his parents that when they sinned years before, God had killed animals and used their hides to cover Adam and Eve's nakedness. Blood had to be shed to atone for sin. Cain knew that, but he was too proud to barter or trade his best crops to get one or more of Abel's choice lambs for his sacrifice.
Abel could have exchanged a lamb for Cain's produce, but Cain would not admit his offering was inferior to Abel's...so he placed his garden produce before God anyway. True to Himself, God did not accept it, though He did receive Abel's sacrifice of shed blood.
Fourth, rather than being humbled by God's rejection of his produce, Cain became angry...at God, but he directed his rage at his brother, a tangible enemy. Jealousy took over. Never had Cain or Abel seen the end result of jealous rage, so, in His faithfulness, God warned Cain:
"Then the LORD said to Cain, 'Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.'" (verses 6-7)
God gave Cain the opportunity to make a choice: bring a lamb he bartered for from Abel and sacrifice it to God as a sin offering OR do not barter and expect sin to overwhelm him.
No way would Cain humble himself that way. Instead, he told Abel what God had said and then invited his brother to go into the field with him. We're not told what excuse he gave to Abel...maybe to look at some of the crops to decide what would be a fair exchange for a lamb? The Bible doesn't say what happened. It does say that once they were out in the field and away from the family tents, Cain rose up against his brother and killed him. Implied from the text, he then dug a hole and buried Abel's body to cover his newest sin. Instead of shedding the blood of an innocent lamb, Cain bled his brother! And God knew it! He asked:
"Where is Abel your brother?' And he said, 'I do not know. Am I my brother's keeper?' (Another sin, this time a lie!) He said, 'What have you done? The voice of your brother's blood is crying to Me from the ground. Now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother's blood from your hand.'"
If only Cain had killed a lamb instead of his brother! Rather, he lied to God when asked what he had done. Look at all the sins Cain racked up: Pride, jealousy, anger, murder, lying, denial of sin and the list could go on. As the ultimate, he stole life from his brother !
Cain's sins began with pride! Pride is what raised Lucifer against God and spawned his desire to be equal to or above Him. Pride is what caused Eve to take the fruit and commit the first sin. Pride is what the devil summons in human hearts when offenses arise, when competition is stiff, when someone says or does things that demand an apology that is never made, when forgiveness should be given but is never acknowledged. More souls are in hell because of pride than any other commission or omission.
Too proud to apologize. Too proud to humble oneself before God. Too proud to admit one is wrong and ask for forgiveness. Pride is at the heart of divorce, murder, theft, slander and so much more. Pride leads to sin after sin.
God says we must forgive others to be forgiven by Him. The reason people don't forgive is because they are too proud to make amends or restitution. More souls will be in hell because they are so proud they commit sin after sin through disobedience to God, as Cain did.
Beware and search your heart. Spiritual pride is as dangerous as is worldly pride. All pride elevates a person above someone else and must be repented of for forgiveness from God.
To fail and allow pride to find a home in your heart is dangerous! Confess and forsake it now! Forgive others! Where restitution is necessary, go to those you offended and make things right. Do not wait...or sin lies at the your door, too! Jesus is your blood sacrifice! Humble yourself before Him and repent of your sins. Repent and seek cleansing of your pride. Remember the example of Cain. Humble yourself and repent!