Genesis 4:9-15 Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” He said, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?”10 And He said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to Me from the ground.11 “So now you are cursed from the earth, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand.12 “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.”13 And Cain said to the LORD, “My punishment is greater than I can bear!14 “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.”15 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.
When Adam and Eve sinned, they acknowledged their sin. Although they hid from God at first, they were open and honest before God about what they had done. Their greatest shame in revealing their sin was to put the blame on others. Still, they acknowledged their sin.
God, in turn, pronounced the punishment for their sin. In that punishment, there was mercy. God drove Adam and Eve out of the garden before they could eat of the tree of life and remain for ever in their sin. God pronounced the first prophecy of hope for the remission of sins. God still loved and cherished His creation.
When Adam and Eve began to have children, after this event, we find Cain and Able were born. When these two became men, God commanded a sacrifice from them. We know that Able offered the sacrifice that God required, and Cain did not. There is a lot in this story and we have learned more from the New Testament than the old regarding the requirement of that sacrifice. In Hebrews chapter eleven we learn that the sacrifice was by God’s commandment. Able offered the proper sacrifice, and Cain did not. By offering the proper sacrifice, Able still speaks to us about faithfulness before God.
What was Cain’s reaction? Instead of repenting of his failure to offer the proper sacrifice he was angry with his brother. This has become the standard for those who have known the way of truth, yet willfully reject the teachings of God. They want God to accept their own view and interpretations of God’s commands. When God does not, then they get angry with those who have done God’s commands. When just one person does what is right before God, this condemns those who do evil. Those who do evil do not get angry with God, they take their anger out against those who have, by their faithfulness, exposed their error.
When God confronted Cain about what had happened to his brother we see another characteristic of the hardened sinner. Cain surely knew that God had knowledge of what he had done. He could not have lived as long as he did without gaining some knowledge of God’s powers. Yet, when confronted, he denied any responsibility for his brother – “Am I my brother’s keeper?” Cain demonstrates a true sense of selfishness by this statement. He demonstrated that he did not have any concern about his brother’s welfare, nor was he concerned that something might have happened to his brother. Self-centeredness is the cause for so much evil in this world. When do not, or will not have any concern for the welfare of others, we harden our hearts to any form of mercy. This all began with Cain.
When God openly confronted Cain with his sin, Cain was unwilling to even acknowledge that he had done the act. He had already convinced himself that what had happened was not his fault. His brother has showed him up before God and now his brother was no longer around to expose his own selfishness. He did not see any wrong in his actions. Even when God exposed his evil deed, he never acknowledged his wrong. This is typical of sinful acts today. If there is no remorse for one’s actions, then there is developed a justification for that action. Although such people develop this attitude towards their sins, does not justify it before God. I believe that these verses shows how God views such hard heartiness.
When God pronounces the punishment for Cain’s sin, we have a very interesting response from Cain. “My punishment is greater than I can bear.” Again, he was not repenting of his sins, but was complaining about his punishment. It was OK for him to cause grief and sorrow for others, but it was wrong for him to suffer as a result of his own sins. This is typical of sinners who fail to acknowledge their sins today. Unwilling to acknowledge their sin, the cry and bemoan their punishment or the consequences of their sins.
This short story about unrepentant sin, which is the first in the Bible record, shows us the pattern of all such actions today. When we do not have the feelings for right and wrong, we will allow the wrong to over rule the right. We will justify our own sins, and even when confronted with them, will never acknowledge our wrongs. Those who have exposed our sins are the evil ones. Cain’s story should show us that for some people, nothing that we might say will ever convince them that they are in error. Even after many years of life, we never have recorded that Cain ever felt sorry or repentance for his sins. What we do find is that those who came from him developed the same hardened attitude towards God’s commandment. Sin begets sin.