And where there is more than one child - there is sibling rivalry.
Abel was a shepherd and Cain was a farmer. The time comes to bring an offering to God, Abel's offering is accepted, and Cain's is not.
Why not? I'm not sure. But Bible gives us a clue. While it just says Cain brought an offering, Abel's offering is the best of the firstborn. Can we extrapolate that Cain's offering was not 'first fruits', not the best of the harvest?
Cain tries to slide by with any old offering. But God calls him on it.
Instead of repenting (and bringing an acceptable offering), Cain lashes out against Abel, killing him.
It goes down hill from there. To the point that by the time of Noah, God is ready for a mulligan. God looks on creation, looks at God's beloved humans - made in God's own image - and it breaks God's heart (Genesis 6:6).
God's heart breaks.
And God has compassion on creation, on humans. God charts a new course.
It takes washing the world with a flood. And it takes the obedience of Noah and his family.
Which we'll read about tomorrow.
Takeaways from today's reading:
- God always encourages us to be our best, to do our best.
- Humans have a tendency to do just the minimum to get by.
- God has such love for us and all creation, that God's heart breaks for us.
- In the face of human sin, God chooses to find a way to bring us back.