Sunday School Insights: Cain and Abel

Sunday School Insights at larryhuntbiblecommentary.wordpress.com // artwork William Blake’s The Body of Abel Found by Adam and Eve

William Blake’s The Body of Abel Found by Adam and Eve

This morning we studied Genesis 4 in our Bible class, and I had an interesting thought about the story of Cain.  There is a tragic and frightening irony that I never noticed before in the story of Cain.  Cain is not punished in any material way for the failure of his sacrifice.  Nothing that has to do with his material comfort and security is taken from him.  (That sort of punishment only comes after the murder of Abel.)  The thing that upsets Cain to the point of murdering his brother is his own desire for God’s approval.  Cain seems to have wanted God’s approval, not for any consequent material blessing, but for its own sake.  Of course, God loved him (there is tenderness in the warning of verse 6), but Cain did not see this.  Obviously, Cain’s heart was not right even before his sacrifice  or the sacrifice would have been acceptable to God, but he did not kill Abel afterward for his wealth or because Abel directly insulted or hurt him in some way.  From the narrative, it seems he killed his brother because he was envious of God’s approval.


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