Genesis 4:1-7 Giving Your Firsts

Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, “I have gotten a man with the help of the LORD.” 2 And again, she bore his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain a worker of the ground. 3 In the course of time Cain brought to the LORD an offering of the fruit of the ground, 4 and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the LORD had regard for Abel and his offering, 5 but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell. 6 The LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? 7 If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it.” – Genesis 4:1-7

Why was Cain’s offering not accepted? Read the description of Abel’s gift above. The writer of Genesis gives the detail “firstborn”. For Cain, the writer says …an offering of the fruit of the ground. These sound similar, but are quite different.

Abel’s offering came from the first animals born into his flocks that season, rather than choosing from the best of all his herds. This is what God wants from us. In many ways, offering one’s firstborn is a trust issue. “I don’t know if I’ll have enough later, but I will give these to You and trust You will provide.” As well, giving God our firsts is saying He’s the most important person in our lives. That’s a huge statement, when so often we are in that role. When money or time or things or whatever we have no longer takes a back seat to our relationship with Jesus, our lives become more fertile and richer.

What about Cain? Like “firstborn” there is a concept of “first fruits”. During harvest time, a select amount of crop is given first as an offering in some form: burnt, cooked into a meal for a priest or simply given away. Nothing else is harvested until the first crops pulled out of the earth are given to God.

Since the writer says “firstborn” for Abel and leaves out “first fruits,” one can assume Cain gave something of his own choosing, rather than his firsts. Even if what he gave was the best of everything, it was not what God asks for: our first; our trust; our devotion; our “agape love” (or as close to it as we can manage).

God explains to Cain that allowing second best, in whatever we do, opens the door for other “sin” to come into our life. Sin is any action or thought that comes between us and our relationship with Jesus. As soon as we begin to not see Him as the most important person in our life, to not trust Him, to try to wrestle control of our life from Him, the enemy will step in to draw us further away. As we’ll soon see, this is what happens with Cain.

What are our personal first fruits, or firstborns in our life? Think about this today, and ask yourself if you are giving the first of your time, talents and treasure to Him, and if you are making Him the first in your life.


Lord, I often trust myself or things first instead of You. In these moments help me turn back and make You the center of my marriage, my family and relationships, and my life overall.