Genesis 4 tells the narrative of Cain and Abel. Cain rebelliously used fruits and vegetables to sacrifice to the Lord. They were not even his first or his best fruits and vegetables. The Lord did not want him to use fruits and vegetables. He could have traded those fruits and vegetables with his brother for a lamb, which was the right sacrifice, since sacrifice meant a blood sacrifice. Last of all, his heart was not right with God and God saw it. He did not have the faith of Abel. That is why God did not look with favor on Cain’s offering. Abel used the right sacrifice, he gave his first and best lamb, and he had faith in God (Hebrews 11:4). God was pleased with his offering.
Cain became angry and jealous of his brother. This is the first instance of men disagreeing with each other. God predicted that would happen when He gave the first prophecy about the offspring of the woman that would crush the head of the serpent in Genesis 3:15. He said that there would be enmity between the offspring of the woman and the offspring of the serpent. Cain was an offspring of the serpent and Abel was an offspring of the woman. Even though Eve bore them both, Cain showed that he was an offspring of the serpent by his behavior and rebellion. He showed that he did not want to do what God wanted him to do. He did it his own way instead of God’s way. He later murdered his brother and lied about it to God. Jesus called the devil (the serpent) a liar and the Father of lies. The serpent lied to Eve (as well as Adam–since he was with her) in the Garden. He also called the devil a murderer (John 8:44) John later wrote in I John 3:12: “Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother’s were righteous.”
Abel did the righteous thing and brought a blood sacrifice in faith believing God’s promise of a Savior in the future. Abel was murdered by his brother out of anger and jealousy, which God warned Cain about (Genesis 4:6-7). Later, Cain lies about the whereabouts of his brother and God is outraged because He hears Abel’s blood crying out for justice. Eve thought that Cain was the chosen one of God. That’s why she gave him the name of Cain. After him, she thought his brother was nothing so she named him Abel. But it turned out the good son was Abel not Cain. Abel was also the world’s first shepherd. He was in good company for Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were shepherds. Moses was a shepherd. David the great king of Israel was a shepherd and Jesus called himself the Good Shepherd of the sheep (in this case, sheep are the people who believed in Him). I imagine that Abel often spoke to God in prayer as did Moses and David. Abel is a type of Christ. He gave a sacrifice of his best–a lamb, the firstborn of his flock. Jesus gave a sacrifice of Himself, the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29). He was a shepherd and Jesus was the Great Shepherd. Abel was murdered and Jesus was hung upon a cross. They both bled and died because of who they were and what they did. But there the comparison breaks down. Abel stayed dead and his blood cried out for vengeance and justice. Jesus died but rose again and his blood cries out for forgiveness and mercy.