January 7, 2019

Boy, That Escalated Quickly!

Genesis 4

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Cain and Abel

Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, “I have gotten1 a man with the help of the LORD.” And again, she bore his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain a worker of the ground. In the course of time Cain brought to the LORD an offering of the fruit of the ground, and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the LORD had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell. The LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted?2 And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is contrary to3 you, but you must rule over it.”

Cain spoke to Abel his brother.4 And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him. 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 the LORD said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother's blood is crying to me from the ground. 11 And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother's blood from your hand. 12 When you work the ground, it shall no longer yield to you its strength. You shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth.” 13 Cain said to the LORD, “My punishment is greater than I can bear.5 14 Behold, you have driven me today away from the ground, and from your face I shall be hidden. I shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.” 15 Then the LORD said to him, “Not so! If anyone kills Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold.” And the LORD put a mark on Cain, lest any who found him should attack him. 16 Then Cain went away from the presence of the LORD and settled in the land of Nod,6 east of Eden.

17 Cain knew his wife, and she conceived and bore Enoch. When he built a city, he called the name of the city after the name of his son, Enoch. 18 To Enoch was born Irad, and Irad fathered Mehujael, and Mehujael fathered Methushael, and Methushael fathered Lamech. 19 And Lamech took two wives. The name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other Zillah. 20 Adah bore Jabal; he was the father of those who dwell in tents and have livestock. 21 His brother's name was Jubal; he was the father of all those who play the lyre and pipe. 22 Zillah also bore Tubal-cain; he was the forger of all instruments of bronze and iron. The sister of Tubal-cain was Naamah.

23 Lamech said to his wives:

  “Adah and Zillah, hear my voice;
    you wives of Lamech, listen to what I say:
  I have killed a man for wounding me,
    a young man for striking me.
24   If Cain's revenge is sevenfold,
    then Lamech's is seventy-sevenfold.”

25 And Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and called his name Seth, for she said, “God has appointed7 for me another offspring instead of Abel, for Cain killed him.” 26 To Seth also a son was born, and he called his name Enosh. At that time people began to call upon the name of the LORD.


[1] 4:1 Cain sounds like the Hebrew for gotten
[2] 4:7 Hebrew will there not be a lifting up [of your face]?
[3] 4:7 Or is toward
[4] 4:8 Hebrew; Samaritan, Septuagint, Syriac, Vulgate add Let us go out to the field
[5] 4:13 Or My guilt is too great to bear
[6] 4:16 Nod means wandering
[7] 4:25 Seth sounds like the Hebrew for he appointed

Boy, That Escalated Quickly!

Key Verse | Genesis 4:3-5

In the course of time Cain brought to the LORD an offering of the fruit of the ground, and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the LORD had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell.

Bio | Steve Vo

Hello, fellow Journeyers! My name is Steve Vo, and I have been married to my beautiful wife Kate for 10 years. Together, we have two daughters, Emery (6) and Reagan (3). We are stoked to be part of the Frisco campus. But on Wednesday nights, you can find me at the Plano campus shepherding tenth grade Shoreline boys. As of the date I am writing this in early fall, there is still a chance that my alma mater's team, the Washington Huskies, will be playing in the College Football Playoff National Championship tonight. If not, I hope your team is in it!

Central Truth

God wants us to give Him our best in everything we do.

Devotional | Genesis 4

If you have ever seen the movie Anchorman, you probably recognize the title of today's devotional as a quote from Ron Burgundy, the main character in that movie. Things do escalate quickly in Genesis 4. 


If you have ever seen the movie Anchorman, you probably recognize the title of today's devotional as a quote from Ron Burgundy, the main character in that movie. Things do escalate quickly in Genesis 4. 

Genesis 4 starts by telling us that Cain was born to Adam and Eve. Then Abel was born, making him the younger brother of Cain. We are then told that Cain worked the land and Abel worked the animals. There came a time when each of them brought God an offering. Cain offered up some fruit of the ground, while Abel brought the firstborn of his flock and their fat portions. Cain chose "some" of his to offer, while Abel chose the "first" of his. Ultimately, God shows favor upon Abel's offering, and this upsets Cain.

At this point, instead of chalking it up as a loss and hoping to do better next time, Cain "escalates quickly." His pride and anger had so much control over him that he did the unthinkable. Cain murders Abel in a field and then lies to God about it when asked. God then places a curse on Cain, and the remainder of the chapter describes Cain's lineage.

What does this mean for you? Certainly, most of you reading this have probably never killed anybody, much less your own brother. However, we all can relate to Cain. Whether you don't know Jesus, are new to walking with Him, or have been walking with Him for decades, all of us have given into our flesh and been hostile toward God (Romans 8:7). God wants the best of you to be given to and used by Him, for His glory. Be encouraged to worship God with everything you have (Romans 12:1), giving your best to Him in everything you do.

If you are just going through the motions with your walk with Jesus, know that He has so much more for you. He wants you to live abundantly (John 10:10), which includes giving your best to God.

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Discussion Questions

1. In what ways have you escalated a pride or anger issue too quickly?

2. Is there an area of your life in which you are not giving your best to God?

3. What is holding you back from giving God your best in that area?

4. What tangible steps can you take to make a change? It's a new year and a great time to shift the direction of one area of your life. Share with someone you trust today, and ask for accountability!


16 Comments available

Carly H 12 months ago
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Wow I have never thought about the “blood of Jesus” (forgiveness) speaking louder than the blood of Abel (revenge). That is really powerful! I’m loving going through this journey, even though i just started. Thanks for posting!

Christie Elliott over 1 year ago

I was just wondering if there will be weekly memory verses included with the readings? I noticed Todd had them on January 1 and I was looking forward to continuing. Just curious . Thank you!

Daniel Sellers over 1 year ago

I am so thankful or this message today. I have acted like Cain in the past. When I have seen someone getting something I felt I deserved. I did not kill them but the anger welled up in me. I see that it is not for me to judge what God give to others but to be satisfied with what he has given me and to strive to better and pursue excellence when I have that feeling. I have to remind my self God give Good gifts Matthew 7:11 James 1:17

Jay Caruso over 1 year ago

What came out of this for me was a form of jealousy that siblings can have between each other when they do not know or understand the Holy Spirit or our Lord and Savior I know I experienced that with my younger brother and it took many many many years for him to reconcile that and I don’t think he has yet either because he is not giving himself to the Lord fully but I know for me I have tried to redeem myself and ask for forgiveness as well as honor him pray for him and serve him to the best of my ability to make up how I treated him and always left him with the fruits that no one wanted and me always recieving/giving the fatten cafe when we were younger. I continue to need prayer as well as my brother

Dawn Hawks over 1 year ago

When Adam and Eve fell in the Garden, God didn’t accept their fig leaf coverings and clothed them with tunics of skins. We can assume animals were sacrificed to provide the coverings. Cain and Abel would have observed their parents offering blood sacrifices which continued throughout the Old Testament. “Without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sin.” Hebrews 11:22 Both sons knew what God required, but only Abel was willing to obey. Maybe you’ve heard the old adage, “You can’t get blood out of a turnip.”

Michael Scaman over 1 year ago

The blood of Abel cried from the ground.

A number of people through the years I know who were war vets or in prison or involved in abortions who were in depressions over getting forgiveness for killing someone and I reminded them of what it says in Hebrews

“The blood of Jesus speaks better than the blood of Abel”

Jeffrey Reid over 1 year ago

I am so thankful for Watermark, Regen and even the comments posted here by others. I have learned so much about myself, so many root causes of bad decisions which resulted from the breaking the 90 second rule mentioned below. I have learned that when others have and I have not that perhaps God has other plans to me and that I need to deepen my trust with God rather than try and chart my own course. I truly want to be on God’s path and not my own. I have so much to learn and am so eager to do so all day and everyday.

Joe miller over 1 year ago

This is such a great reminder that emotions, if acted on without thinking of how God would expect us to respond, can result in death in so many aspects! Thanks for the reminder!

Wade Souza over 1 year ago

An identity crisis is the catalyst of cold-blooded murder between brothers. Insecurity consumes Cain. He cannot stand his brother’s blessing, therefore, he crushes Abel to attempt to create the reality he so desperately and deviously desires. His callous heart turns the favor of God into a competition, not a conviction to follow God more faithfully. Envy and enmity ensue, rather than gratitude in glorifying God and giving to God his first-fruits, which he gathered by the grace of God. Hungry for glory, Cain feasts on the disillusionment of his fleshly desires. He reaps what he sows, leaving a legacy of lawlessness and licentiousness behind him.

Erin Hobbs over 1 year ago

“Why are you angry? …sin is crouching at your door.” My marriage has been an area where I escalate pride and anger in a “peace-faking” kind of way and it lead to a lot of sin. God has used conflict to reveal my own self-righteous anger and desires that battle within me. Through conflict, re:gen, Prodigal and community, God has revealed much in me and I am no longer enslaved to my emotions. Y’all…that’s miraculous.

Rita Satagaj over 1 year ago

GM Steve! You did a great job breaking down this chapter. God wants our first fruits, He wants the best from us. Colossians 3:23 says, “Whatever you do, work heartily as for the Lord, and not for men.” Sprinkled all through the Bible are reminders that all we have comes from God. I love to start my day with the Lord, He’s the best there is!

Lindsey Driscoll over 1 year ago

Q2- As I sit in the dark and read this morning I think about what my brain is like first thing in the morning. Empty. Focused. Clear. It’s amazing how God’s designed rest to restore our bodies. I am reminded of Abel bringing the fat of the first born of his flock (4:4), the most delicious, first of the heard ready for consumption. What do first fruits look like In 2019? I think about my heart and my mind first thing in the morning, focused on the word of God not the tasks of the day. Why does God desire my best? Intimacy with God, favor (4:4), and dependence on him as we bring The best. He alone is worthy of our best offering, our first fruits; for anything we offer all comes from him who provided.

Hope Harris over 1 year ago

GM Steven

Cain experienced a sense of rejection for his offering. He may have heard a I am not good enough message within and in turn felt rejected and threatened by Abel. God was not put off by Cain’s emotions and warned him to rule his emotions or they would rule him.

I have learned that our emotions last 90 seconds if we ride them out, they dissipate. This is called the 90 second rule. Sadly, Cain reacted to his emotions allowing jealousy and anger to rule his choices and rebelled against Gods warning to keep his emotions in check. In reflecting on this passage, I am painfully aware of how many unwise decisions and sinful acts I have done by reacting to my emotions rather than riding them out.

Cain’s life models the impact sin has in life outside of the gates of Eden.

Hugh Stephenson over 1 year ago

From the NLT - “Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master." “eager” is also translated desire, devour, control, longing, craving, waiting to attack.

My greatest learning post 2013 salvation is to understand how real and omnipresent God is but also how intense and deep is Satan’s “desire” for me. He is crafty (Genesis 3:1), crouching and waiting (1 Peter 5:8), longing, wants to devour me, control me, cunning. What could be more evil?

I have a vivid memory as a young boy of striking my younger sister for taking a toy from me. My mother pulled me aside and sternly warned me about the danger of losing my temper.

The mercy of God through Prodigal and re:gen has shown me the damage I have caused and the blessing of forgiveness and amends. Thankful for healed relationships.

Michael Scaman over 1 year ago

There is a striking difference in the naming of Cain and Abel

Cain came with fanfare ( perhaps Eve thought he was the Messiah who would crush the serpent, perhaps she even thought God incarnate, some think )

Abel is related to the word for vanity and meaningless and his death was tragic and felt meaningless

Abel’s death reminds us of the tragic consequences of the fall

And borrowing a phrase from a recent Answers in Genesis Review of “Jurassic Park: Fallen Kingdom” it was ‘a tragic reminder of the consequences of man trying to play God’.

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