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Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: F.E. Marsh :: Readings 1-50 (Abel - Children)

F.E. Marsh :: 42. Cain, the Man of Unbelief

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As faith and obedience are synonymous, so are disobedience and unbelief.

  1. The man of unbelief acts in his own way. “The way of Cain” (Jude 11) is Cain acting according to his own thought, which was in direct opposition to the Word of God. “There is a way that seemeth right unto man, but the end thereof is death” (Prov. 14:12; Isaiah 55:8).
  2. The man of unbelief is rejected (Gen. 4:5). Jehovah did not regard the offering of Cain. Abel’s offering was accepted, because fire from heaven fell upon it, which was a sign of its acceptance on behalf of the offerer, as may be gathered from Lev. 9:24; Judges 6:21; 1 Kings 18:38; 1 Chron. 21:26, and 2 Chron. 7:1. On the other hand, when no fire fell, it was an evidence that the offering was not acceptable to God; hence, the offerer is rejected with his offering.
  3. The man of unbelief is angry (Gen. 4:5). When man is in the wrong, he often vents his spite in angry words and actions. The word “wroth” is translated “kindled” in Job 32:2-3; thus to be angry is to be consumed as with a fire, or a burning disease. The same term is rendered “fret” in Psalm 37:1, 7-8; Prov. 24:19. Beware of anger, especially anger against the Lord, as Jonah (Jonah 4:1, 4, 9), when the men of Nineveh repented; or, as in the case of Cain, when he was angry because his brother was accepted, and he rejected.
  4. The man of unbelief is self-willed (Gen. 4:7). When Cain had the opportunity to bring the offering that was pleasing, he refused to do so. The more correct rendering, undoubtedly, is not “sin,” but a “sin-offering croucheth at the door.” The Preacher’s Homiletical Commentary paraphrases the verse as follows:―“A sin-offering is crouching at the door of thy brother’s fold, though, in order to do well, thou must needs own thyself a sinner, and be indebted to thy brother for a sin-offering out of his fold; yet this will not destroy thy rights as firstborn, notwithstanding to thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him. Let not pride, therefore, deter thee from this better-this only proper-way. Let no obstinacy, no groundless fears, keep thee from thus doing well.”
  5. The man of unbelief is an unhappy man. With sullen looks Cain broods over his rejection. “His countenance fell,” is the Divine comment, and, in addition, the Divine question, “Why is thy countenance fallen?” The word “fell” is translated “rot” in Numbers 5:21. As a disease will rot away the vital part of the human body, and will show itself in the face of its victim; so pride was a cancer that was eating out the love that Cain should have had for his brother, which showed itself in his unhappy looks.
  6. The man of unbelief is hateful (Gen. 4:8; 1 John 3:12). The Holy Spirit takes the case of Cain hating and slaying his brother, as an example of the hatred the world has for the Christian.
  7. The man of unbelief is punished (Gen. 4:11-13). As unbelief is the mother of all sin, so unbelief is the harbinger of coming wrath. They who live in unbelief are laying up wrath against the day of wrath.
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43. Caleb Next Section →

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