Cain’s story is told in Genesis 4:1–17. He is also mentioned in Hebrews 11:4; 1 John 3:12; Jude 1:11.

Did not give to God the best of what he has

Both Cain and his brother Abel had given offerings to God, and his had been rejected. I believe the reason for that can be found in the preceding verses.

Genesis 4:3  At harvest time Cain brought to the Lord a gift of his farm produce, 4while Abel brought several choice lambs from the best of his flock. The Lord accepted Abel and his offering, 5but he did not accept Cain and his offering. This made Cain very angry and dejected.

The Bible specifically told us that Cain simply brought a gift but the one Abel brought was choice lambs from the best of his flock. In other words, Cain brought to God an ordinary gift whereas Abel gave to God the best he has.

We are often guilty of this. We give our offerings to God only if we have enough to spend. We come to God in prayer last thing in the night, when our energy level is at its lowest, and after we have finished other “more important” tasks. We agree to go for Christian events only when we have absolutely nothing else to schedule the time for.

But what God requires is our best. In the Old Testament times, the people of Israel gave to God their tithe based on the first fruits of their harvest. And their burnt offerings has to be a lamb without blemish.

Lev 23: 9  Then the Lord told Moses 10to give these instructions to the Israelites: “When you arrive in the land I am giving you and you harvest your first crops, bring the priest some grain from the first portion of your grain harvest. 11On the day after the Sabbath, the priest will lift it up before the Lord so it may be accepted on your behalf. 12That same day you must sacrifice a year-old male lamb with no physical defects as a whole burnt offering to the Lord.

Are we giving to God the best of our money and time?

Reacted to unhappiness by lashing out in anger.

When disappointed, Cain reacted in anger. We often do the same and regret our actions later. When we love someone, we cannot be easily angered by that person.

1 Cor 13:4  Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged.

When we are slow to anger, we are following God’s character.

Exodus 34:6  He passed in front of Moses and said, “I am the Lord, I am the Lord, the merciful and gracious God. I am slow to anger and rich in unfailing love and faithfulness.

Are you easily irritable by people resulting in you lashing out at others? Asking for his help to do what is right can prevent us from setting into motion actions that we will later regret. Ask God to make you slow to anger and quick to overlook other people’s mistakes.

Responded to God’s chastisement in the wrong way

Genesis 4:6  “Why are you so angry?” the Lord asked him. “Why do you look so dejected? 7  You will be accepted if you respond in the right way. But if you refuse to respond correctly, then watch out! Sin is waiting to attack and destroy you, and you must subdue it.”

God does not expect that our life will be perfect. He knows that at times, we will fall into sin. The important thing is what we do when God points out to us our sins. Do we respond in repentance or do we respond in anger and further rebellion?

Cain chose the latter. First he was dejected that the Lord punished him. The Bible tells us to rejoice when God punishes us because it is evidence that He loves us and in the long run, the chastisement will prevent us from falling into greater sin.

Hebrews 12:7As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children. Whoever heard of a child who was never disciplined? 8If God doesn’t discipline you as he does all of his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children after all. 9Since we respect our earthly fathers who disciplined us, should we not all the more cheerfully submit to the discipline of our heavenly Father and live forever?

Are we going through some punishment from God right now? Instead of lamenting, let’s thank God for loving us enough to want to punish us for our own good. And ask God to show us what sins He is punishing us for so that we can be careful not to commit the same sins again.