The tragic story of Cain and Abel. Two brothers who were the first two children of the first two people, Adam and Eve.

        Cain grew up. And his brother Abel did, too. Cain was a farmer, Abel a herdsman. And they worshiped the LORD. And in the worship of Abel we see faith in the promise of the LORD. Abel brought fat portions from the first born of his flocks. The LORD responded by looking with favor on his offering.

        Cain’s heart was different though. We start to see that from the very beginning as he gives his offering. Cain’s offering looks different from Abel’s. Abel’s is from the fat of the firstborn. Cain’s is just “fruits of the soil.” Now from the outside there’s nothing wrong here—but yet there was something wrong because God didn’t gaze fondly at it like he did Abel’s. And that made Cain angry. His face turned into a bitter scowl. In his mind he was doing the right thing, yet somehow he knew God was displeased with him. And that was the difference between the offerings: Cain was focused on the external, on doing all the right things, on going through the motions. This was not simple faith. This was a heart that did not belong to the LORD; that had rejected God’s promise. And that rejection ultimately ended in him murdering his brother in cold blood.

         Oh Cain… Doesn’t your heart break for him? In the midst of parents who understood God’s love; in the midst of a family who must have shared that love of God, why didn’t Cain love back? 

         Cain reminds us that we are just as capable of losing God’s love. I wish I knew why Cain rejected the promise. But I do know one reason people fall away from God’s love. Their lives start to look like Cain’s offering. They follow God only under the fear of punishment. They think if they just do all the right things God will have to love them.

         My heart breaks because this is inside of me, too. This sin, this wretched sin is inside all of us and it desires to have us! We must master it. We master it by turning away from our efforts and trusting in the promise of our LORD.            

         And God loved Cain. He intervened to his poor child, so lost in his anger. He loved him deeply so he tried to turn him away he tried to warn him. Even after the gruesome murder, God gave him the most precious resource he needed: time. Time to come to his senses. Time to repent. Time to believe again and to see God, who loved a murderer.

        So if God loves Cain, he loves you too. If God could give Cain time to turn away, he has given you time to turn away. God loves sinners. It's what he does. And he sent Jesus as proof of that love and to win you over to him. God loved a murderer, and he loves you, too.