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Cain vs. Abel

By Frank Chesser

religion, articles, christianity

The second recorded sin occurred in the realm of worship (Gen. 4:1­7). God's requirements for acceptable worship had been clearly revealed, for faith can only come by hearing the Word of God (Rom. 10:17), and Abel's sacrifice was offered by faith (Heb. 11:4). Cain refused to heed what God said; thus his worship was rejected. Jude 11 speaks of the "way of Cain. What is the way of Cain? It is the way of self­will, of human presumption. Cain was a man determined to have his own way, direct his own path and chart his own course.

For several hundred years, God ruled the nation of Israel. Four hundred years after the appointment of Saul to be an earthly king over Israel, the nation was gasping for national life. The life light of the nation flickered under the winds of sin and was finally swallowed up in darkness. The walls of Jerusalem were reduced to rubble, the palaces were burned, the temple destroyed and the people were hobbled in the chains of captivity.

Gedaliah was placed over a remnant in Judah, but he was soon felled by the conspirator's sword. In opposition to the will of God, a remnant fled into Egypt; there Jeremiah lifted his voice and preached his final sermon. He reminded the people of God's wrath. At the conclusion of the sermon, the people declared, "As for the word that thou hast spoken unto us in the name of the Lord, we will not hearken unto thee. But we will certainly do whatsoever thing goeth forth out of our own mouth" (Jer. 44:15­17). They had adopted Cain's spirit as their own.

Hebrews 11:4 speaks of the "way of Abel," which is the way of the "divine will." It is reverence for the word of God. The way of Abel is concerned with what God says-not what man wants. It is interested in what God requires-not what man likes. The spirit of Abel is attentive to divine revelation - not human feeling. For those with the mind of Abel, when God says it, that settles it. When time gives way to eternity and the innumerable masses of humanity assemble before God, the destiny of each will depend upon whether the way of Abel or the way of Cain ruled the heart.


Published December 1997