Community Group Study “Genesis: You Are Your Brother’s Keeper”
Before your community group meets:
Read Genesis 4:1-16. Write down 7-10 observations you see in this passage (who is talking? Do we get a sense of why their sacrifices were different? Observe things like setting, who speaks, etc).
The passage mentions Cain’s anger. Who is Cain angry at? Who does he harm?
This passage gives us some strong warnings about unchecked sin, hatred and anger. Spend some time in prayer asking God to reveal unchecked sin in your life and if you have people you openly hate, spend some time praying for God to change your heart and praying for them.
This is the first of 3 story cycles we get in Genesis chapters 3-11 showing us the rampant destruction of sin and humanity’s rebellion against God. Cain murders Abel, God judges the world with a flood in response to it being filled with violence (Genesis 6:11), and humanity gathers together to exalt themselves over God in building a tower in dedication to their power and glory. Each time we get an image of God’s judgement and his grace to keep a faithful line of humanity present. Cain is cast out, but God brings Adam and Eve a new son in Seth. God preserves Noah and his family. In response to the scattering of the nations, God calls one man, Abram, to bless and use to create a people for himself. He promises Abram and his family a place and that he will use them to bless the nations through a savior he will bring through this family line.
Genesis chapters 3-11 want us to see the wicked destruction of sin in order to create a longing in us for God to act and for us to be confident that God is faithful even in the destructive brokenness of the world we’re in.
What we see in the narrative of chapter 4 is that Cain initiates worship of God and Abel follows his example in also bringing an offering. However, God has regard for Abel and his offering, but not Cain’s. The text shows us that it is because of Abel’s faith and his bringing his first and his best to God. Cain is painted selfishly in the text and we should infer that he approached God with selfish motives in worship. God graciously warns Cain of sin’s desire for him and offers him a way out, but that is not the path that Cain goes down. Instead, he responds with continued anger towards God, but like most people who are deeply angry, he lashes out at someone else… his brother. His desire to kill his brother is premeditated; he coaxes him out to field, kills him and the blood of Abel “cries out from the ground”. God seeks Cain out and mercifully allows him to live, but this begins an unrighteous line that culminates in the founding of a city and a wicked man named Lamech who distorts God’s intention for marriage by marrying two wives, and he is so pridefully arrogant about his sin that he sings a song about how vengeful and murderous he is.
This City of Man is a far cry from the Garden of God. This study guide will wrestle with the destructive power of sin and how we can, with God’s help, rule over sin so it does not rule over us.
At your community group:
Take 15-20 minutes to share about how God has been at work in your life, prayer concerns and pray for one another.
How did God speak to you through the scripture and the sermon this week?
Scripture and Discussion Questions:
What are the major differences between Cain and Abel’s offerings to God? Look at Genesis 4:1-5, Hebrews 11:4 and 2 Corinthians 9:7.
How does God show his grace to Cain before AND after Cain’s sin?
What is sin’s desire for us (Genesis 4:7) and what is the picture we get of sin’s destructive power from Genesis 4:17-24?
How is it possible to rule over sin? From the text, what does God seem to be inviting Cain to do?
Read Romans 6:5-11. How does the cross and resurrection empower us to fight sin?
Read Romans 6:12-14. What are some active steps we should take to fight sin and be free from its desire to enslave us?
Read Genesis 4:25-5:32. Write down 7-10 observations you have from the text noting any similarities you see to Genesis 4.
Why do you think God gives us this picture of a line of faithful people in the middle of Genesis 4 and 6? *note verse 29 and what we’re told about Noah.
Spend some time reminding yourself of how God has been faithful to you even at times when life’s brokenness and difficulty has been very real in your life. Offer God thanksgiving in prayer for his faithfulness.