The Sin of Jealousy for God’s Love
March 7, 2017 Year A
Here we have the story of two brothers – Cain and Abel. Cain is the older brother of Abel (Genesis 4:1-2). Abel became a shepherd and Cain became a farmer. At some time, they came to present their offerings to God from what they had produced.
God had “regard” for Abel and his offering. But He did not have “regard” for Cain and his offering (Genesis 4:4-5). So Cain gets mad. God questions Cain about his anger and identifies the source of that anger – Cain is not doing what God wants. Not doing what God wants is called sin (Genesis 4:6-7).
The source of the sin is the rebellion against God. The source of the rebellion comes from Cain’s disappointment with God. Cain wanted God to accept his offering.
But who is to say that Cain gave the wrong offering? All we know is that Abel’s was accepted and Cain’s was not. Hebrews 11:4 states that God had regard for Abel’s sacrifice and considered it a better sacrifice because it was given in faith. It was not that Cain gave the wrong kind of sacrifice. Abel’s sacrifice was not better because it was a burnt sacrifice. It was better because it was given by faith. Abel was trusting God with what Abel gave Him.
Since it is impossible to please God without faith (Hebrews 11:6), Cain’s sacrifice would not be accepted. This is why God did not regard it. But again, why would that make Cain angry? The answer is jealousy. Cain didn’t act on faith. Abel did. God was happy with Abel’s sacrifice. Seeing God pleased with Abel made Cain unhappy.
Jealousy comes from a desire to be loved by God
But my question is this: Why would God being pleased with someone else’s sacrifice make me jealous? It is not just because I am a sinner. I am a sinner because I desire God’s love but can’t attain it properly. When I see that God shows His love to someone else and I desire the same thing, I will get jealous when I don’t receive that love. This is why Cain got angry. He was jealous and this led to him becoming furious (Genesis 4:7).
Jealousy leads to murder
God warns Cain that sin is waiting to take over Cain, but Cain must overcome the sinful desire (Genesis 4:7). Jealous was not the sinful desire. Instead, the sinful desire was to fulfill the jealousy through vengeance and violence instead of love. Cain didn’t obey God about this. Instead, he murdered his brother Abel (Genesis 4:8). Cain murdered his brother Abel from vengeance (Genesis 4:15).
Sin separates me from God and His love
God out of His love became concerned about Abel (Genesis 4:9-10). When God realized that Abel had been killed, God banished Cain from the presence of God and His love (Genesis 4:11). Cain’s sin causes him to be separated from God and His love (Genesis 4:11-12).
God shows His love through mercy even after judgment
God punished Cain and banished him from God’s presence (Genesis 4:13-14). Yet, God still shows mercy on Cain. He will allow the person who murders Cain to suffer seven times more vengeance (Genesis 4:15). So God still showed love to Cain. But Cain rebelled and left God’s presence (Genesis 4:16).
Photo by Peter Paul Rubens [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons