THE WAY OF CAIN
By Tom Moore
Inspiration declares, “Woe to them! For they have gone in the way of Cain…” (Jude 11). The word “woe” is a denunciation. Here Jude is condemning anyone who would go “the way of Cain,” that is, to travel his path to destruction. Cain was a man who had heart trouble, he wanted to do things his own way, without any or little concern for what God wanted.
Solomon taught, “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he” (Pro. 23:7). Jesus said, “Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things” (Mat. 12:34-35). A man’s heart, in the Bible sense, is a man’s mind. A man is what he thinks. Therefore, we need to heed seriously Proverbs 4:23, “Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life” We must give every effort to keep our hearts or minds pure. Our destiny depends on it!
Because of the importance of our heart condition, let us consider the “Way of Cain,” and discover what his heart problem led to.
Cain’s heart problem lead to vain worship. “And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the LORD. Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the LORD respected Abel and his offering, but He did not respect Cain and his offering” (Gen. 4:3-5a). There are those today who contend that it doesn’t matter how we worship God so long as we do it some way. Many today, even in the church, are trying to change the New Testament pattern of worship. Many are trying to bring in the instrument, choirs, singing groups, hand clapping and hand waving, etc. Worshiping God is not commendable, unless it is pleasing unto God. Are we worshipping to please ourselves or God?
The Bible tells us that all worship is not pleasing unto the Lord. “And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men” (Mat. 15:9). Thus, there is
worship that is pleasing unto God and worship that is not. Jesus taught, “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth” (Jn. 4:24). As Nadab and Abihu found out, when unauthorized worship is preformed God is not held in reverence and not glorified (Lev. 10:3), and as a result, God is not pleased (Lev. 10:1-2). God had no respect for, nor approval, of Cain’s worship, for it was neither in truth (according to God’s commands) nor spirit (the right attitude). Cain’s attitude was: “Please me first, God second.”
Cain’s heart problem led to anger. “And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell” (Gen. 4:5b). When Cain realized that his worship was not pleasing to God, he didn’t change – he got mad! Cain had no sorrow for sin. Cain was resentful and pouted, instead of being penitent. Too many are like this in the church today. Cain’s anger then shifted to his brother. Isn’t that the way people usually act, when they do wrong they get mad at somebody else. Anger and ill-will are like a swarm of killer bees, they attack the victim with no mercy. Cain had no reason to be angry, he had no one to blame but himself. “Be afraid of the sword for yourselves; For wrath brings the punishment of the sword, That you may know there is a judgment.” (Job 19:29). Solomon said, “Do not hasten in your spirit to be angry, For anger rests in the bosom of fools” (Eccl. 7:9). It is true that we will all get angry from time to time, but “be ye angry, and do not sin: do not let the sun go down upon your wrath” (Eph. 4:26). Uncontrolled anger leads to even more sin, and in the case of Cain it was murder.
Cain’s heart problem led to his refusal to listen to God. “If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it” (Gen. 4:7). The Lord warned Cain, but he refused to listen. Many today are refusing to heed the warning of God. The following could be said of many today: “Hear this now, O foolish people, Without understanding, Who have eyes and see not, And who have ears and hear not” (Jer. 5:21). We must heed the words of the prophet of old, “O LORD, I know the way of man is not in himself; It is not in man who walks to direct his own steps” (Jer. 10:23).
Cain’s heart problem led to murder. “Now Cain talked with Abel his brother; and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him” (Gen. 4:8). Cain’s heart problem grew worse and worse. It began with vain worship, moved to anger, and then to murder. Most people would be appalled at this action of Cain. But consider 1 John 3:15, “Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.” Are we murderers?
Cain’s heart problem led to deceit and dishonesty. “Then the LORD said to Cain, Where is Abel your brother? He said, I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper” (Gen. 4:9)? Evil hearts causes sin to multiply. Cain tries to cover his tracts, but “be sure your sin will find you out” (Num. 32:23). You might be able to hid it for a while, but sooner or later it will be made manifest. Note to that when one lies about an action, he knows it is wrong, or he wouldn’t lie. Those who are involved in deceit and dishonesty are children of the devil (Jn. 8:44).
Cain’s heart problem led to punishment. “So now you are cursed from the earth, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. 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” (Gen. 4:11-12). Cain failed to count the cost of his actions. He, like so many, forgot that “the wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23). Paul said, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life” (Gal. 6:7-8). Punishment awaits all the disobedient (Rom. 2:8).
Cain’s heart problem led to a heavy burden. “And Cain said to the LORD, My punishment is greater than I can bear” (Gen. 4:13)! Unforgiven sin is a load too heavy for ANY man to bear. “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Mat. 11:28-30). Many realize this too late. Cain lived in the bitterness of Romans 6:23, instead of the blessings of Romans 8:1. Don’t try to bear the load yourself, it more than you can lift!
Cain’s heart problem led to separation from God. “And Then Cain went out from the presence of the LORD and dwelt in the land of Nod on the east of Eden” (Gen. 4:16). It was a sorrowful day for Cain when he left the presence of the Lord. Friends, this is where heart problems ultimately lead – away from God. “Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, That it cannot save; Nor His ear heavy, That it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear” (Isaiah 59:1-2).
“Woe to them! For they have gone in the way of Cain…” (Jude 11). May we never follow the way of Cain.