TEXT: Genesis 4:1-7
The students will be able to explain how Abel obeyed God and Cain disobeyed God. (Note to teachers: Do not cover murder, anger, envy, etc.)
BIBLE LESSON OUTLINE
Introduction: Open your class session using an adaptation of the In-Class Activity using two lunch sacks, one filled with things you asked to be put in the sack, and the other filled with substitutes for the requested items. Use this demonstration to lead into the lesson, telling your students that the story today is about two young men—one who obeyed instructions from God, and one who did not.
- Adam and Eve had two children, Cain and Abel. Abel was a shepherd and Cain a farmer.
- Each of the two men brought an offering to the Lord.
- Abel's offering was accepted by the Lord, but Cain's was not.
Conclusion: Cain's offering was refused because he did not bring the offering God required.
Response: The students should be able to use the example of Cain and Abel to explain why it is important to do whatever God commands exactly as He has instructed.
The account in Genesis 4:1-7 is the first record of man's attempt to worship God. It states that the Lord "had respect" for Abel and his offering, but "had not respect" for Cain and his offering. Some have suggested the difference was that Cain failed to perform the proper ritual or that Abel's was a blood sacrifice while Cain's was not. While there is validity to all this reasoning, the writer of Hebrews clearly states the real reason for God's acceptance of Abel's offering and rejection of Cain's. Hebrews 11:4 states “By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain. . . .” No doubt God had revealed to these young men the correct method and the proper type of sacrifice to bring, but it was Abel's faith and humble spirit of obedience that made the difference. “God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble” (James 4:6). “Without faith it is impossible to please him” (Hebrews 11:6). The account of the publican's and Pharisee's praying in the Temple is another clear example of God's acceptance of one and rejection of another because of the attitude of the heart (Luke 18:9-14).
- Bring two boy dolls to class along with some fruit, vegetables (apples, fresh corn) and lambs to show what they did for a living. Show what one boy brought for an offering and what the other brought. One pleased the Lord and the other did not because God could see what was in their hearts. At this time you could have two big hearts—one spotted black with jealousy and disobedience to God and the other one clean with love and obedience to God. Tell how God can always see what is in our hearts. Even when we think we are fooling Him, He still knows what is going on in our lives.
- Cut out two triangles. Mount them on light cardboard or construction paper. Cut one into pieces to fit into the large triangle (see Patterns). Write one word of the memory verse in the proper order on each piece. Let the students try to put the puzzle together.
- Use the stand-up figures of Cain, Abel, fire and altar, lamb, and produce offering (see Patterns) to visualize this story for your students.
- Make a set of Bible shields for your class (see Patterns). On each shield write a Bible verse giving a simple command to children such as, "Children obey your parents," "Thou shalt not steal," etc. Pass out one shield to each student. Then present some hypothetical situations a child might face in which he would be tempted to do wrong. Let the child who has the appropriate shield hold it up and read the verse aloud to the rest of the class. Talk about how God's Word tells us what God wants us to do, and we can use it as a shield against wrong suggestions.
- Make two pocket hearts from felt or other material, and put in a zipper opening. Glue features onto the hearts, cut from felt, making one a sad heart and one a happy heart. For this lesson, put slips of paper in the happy heart with reasons why we should do things God's way, and in the sad heart excuses that people might use for doing things their own way. After telling the story of Cain and Abel, use these hearts to make the lesson real on their own level.
- Take two lunch sacks to class. Explain that you instructed the lunch maker to put in a sandwich, an apple, and a candy bar. Talk about how hungry you are for something to eat, and explain that you had two lunches packed so you would have something to share with them. Open the first sack and take out the designated items. Then open the second sack into which was put a small book instead of a sandwich, a potato instead of an apple, and a comb instead of a candy bar. Your group will readily see that these items are not acceptable substitutes. Point out that there is nothing wrong with the book, the potato, or the comb, but they are not what you asked for. In the same way, there was nothing wrong with the produce Cain brought, but it was not what God asked for.
- What was special about Abel's offering? Why did God like it?
- Why didn't God like Cain's offering?
- Why did Abel give God the first lambs that were born?
- Explain what an offering is.
- Do you think that both Cain and Abel could have given God good offerings? How?
- How do you know what God wants you to do?
- How do you feel when you obey? When you disobey?
- What do you think God would like best from every child?
- Do you think that Adam and Eve might have taught Cain and Abel the right way to make an offering to God? What are some things your parents teach you about serving God?
- Make a shoe box room and pipe cleaner people. For furniture, use empty thread spools, thimbles, tiny boxes, little baskets, caps from different sized bottles (perfumes, etc.), and other such items. Use these to depict the very first family. Tell how Cain and Abel both heard about God and knew what God wanted them to do.
- Use dolls dressed in current-day attire to portray situations where children might be tempted to do wrong. Some possible situations to portray: one child encouraging another to be naughty in Sunday school, a child suggesting that they not mind their preschool teacher, a child saying to a friend that the two of them should not be friendly to another child. In each case talk about what God wants us to do, and how we should always obey God.
- Give each child a stick puppet with a happy face on one side and a sad face on the other. As you describe the way we feel when we obey God, let them hold up the happy face. As you talk about how we feel when we disobey, they should hold up the sad face.
- Make round sugar cookies. Make a happy face on each cookie, with icing. Explain to your little ones that this is how we feel when we mind God.
- Play a simplified version of Simon Says with your class to make sure they understand what the word obey means. When they do what you tell them to do, compliment them, using the words, "That's good, Tommy. You obeyed Teacher when you put your hands on your head like I told you to."
Put on a skit using two volunteers to assist you in your presentation. Explain to your group that you are going to give both of the volunteers the same set of instructions—they are going to make a cake, or do some other activity of your choosing. Give the instructions step by step. As you do, have signs held up by (or beside) each volunteer showing what they are thinking about the directions you give. (Why do I need two eggs? I think I will skip adding the flour. I'll put in one cup of salt instead.) Let your group decide which cake is going to turn out right, and why.
Make two large arrow signposts the visual focus of your review. On one print the word OBEY. On the other print the word DISOBEY. Draw attention to the fact that these two words point to opposite directions. We cannot follow the arrow marked DISOBEY and still be going the direction God wants us to go. When God tells us to do something, we make a decision about which way we will go. Cain made one decision, Abel another. Which one will we make? Make posters representing Heaven and Hell to illustrate eventual destinations.
Give this pocket apron review (see Patterns). Choose two children and let them each take a card from the Traffic Light pocket. Have them read the good and bad results of the situation given. Choose two more children to take cards from the School Test pocket, etc. Explain how obedience always has good results. Rules are given for a variety of reasons. The results are not always obvious at the time but they will show up eventually. Cain's farm products weren't of poor quality but they were not what God required. The lamb sacrifice was for a reason - it looked ahead to Jesus. We should give what Jesus wants us to give—obey and give with love. Then the blessings will come.
- Creation to Abram — Pict-o-graph, Standard Publishing