1 Now the man had relations with his wife Eve, and she conceived and gave birth to Cain, and she said, “I have gotten a manchild with the help of the Lord.”
2 Again, she gave birth to his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of flocks, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.
3 So it came about in the course of time that Cain brought an offering to the Lord of the fruit of the ground.
4 Abel, on his part also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and for his offering;
5 but for Cain and for his offering He had no regard. So Cain became very angry and his countenance fell.
6 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen?
7 If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.”
8 Cain told Abel his brother. And it came about when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him.
9 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” And he said, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?”
Soon after sin entered the world, the sin of comparison followed. Comparison led to the first murder. God rejected Cain’s offering but accepted Abel’s. Because of the comparison in his heart, Cain killed Abel. The text does not entirely disclose why God did not accept Cain’s offering, but it seems to be because of the sin hidden in Cain’s heart. Later the Bible clarifies that Cain had a wicked lifestyle (1 John 3:12). Cain burned with anger.
The problem with comparison is it provides the devil with a foothold to slip into our lives. The language that God used to describe sin in verse 7 suggests that sin wants to be in an intimate relationship with our hearts, like a husband and wife. Cain gave in to sin and became entangled with it. Sin continued to grow in his heart until it led to murder. Under false pretenses, Cain got Abel to go into the field where he murdered him, then Cain shirked the responsibility for his actions before an all-seeing God.
The sin of comparison needs to be mastered before it becomes a foothold in our lives. Sin cannot go unchecked; it always leads to death and is never for our good or best interest. Where do you have comparison dwelling in your thoughts and life? How is it dragging you down? Sin desires to have the same relationship with you that it had with Abel. We need to take the hard work and effort to reject comparison as sin and flee from it.
• While God was right to prefer Abel’s offering over Cain’s, how can we respond generously when someone prefers someone else over us?
• How did God show grace to Cain, even in the midst of judgment (see vv. 13-16)?
• Pray and ask God to help you guard against the sin of comparison. Thank Him for the grace that He shows you, even in the midst of your sin.