My lesson on the “fall out” from the Fall with a story about Adam and Eve’s very different sons, Cain and Abel. The object lesson and story game at the end will help students connect the message to their lives.
Needed: A twenty-dollar bill (or something comparable)
Pull out a $20 bill and hand it to one of your students. Be as dramatic with this as possible. Watch everyone react for a moment and refuse to give anyone else any money. Then ask the student to return your money and ask the class, How did it make you feel when I gave one student that money, but didn’t give you any?
Who knows what the word “jealousy” means? (It means wanting something that someone else has.)
You probably all wanted that twenty-dollar bill, right?
But we can be jealous for lots of things. Have you ever wanted a toy or a cool-looking shirt or something that someone else had? Or maybe your brother or sister got a treat or something that you didn’t and you wished that thing was yours. Maybe someone got a good grade on their test in school and you were mad at them because you didn’t get a good grade. Maybe you saw someone with a really nice house and you wished it was your house. Or you saw a girl who you thought was really pretty and you wished you were that pretty. Those are all examples of wanting what someone else has. That’s what it means to be jealous.
In our story today, an older brother is jealous of a younger brother.
Read the summary of Genesis 4:1-18 (based on the NIV here) below, asking the including questions as you read.
After God sent Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden, Eve gave birth to two boys. The older one was named Cain and the younger one was named Abel. As Cain grew up, he became a farmer. Abel grew up and became a shepherd, taking care of his sheep and lambs.
Cain would often bring some of the fruit or vegetables that he was growing on his farm and give it to God as an offering. But when Cain gave his offering, God was not happy with it. God did not like Cain’s offering.
Why do you think God didn’t like what Cain brought Him?
God did like Abel’s offering, though, because Abel would bring God the best new lambs from his flock and give them to God. So God was very pleased with Abel’s offering.
Why did God like Abel’s offering of the lamb, but didn’t like Cain’s offering of the fruits and vegetables?
It’s because Cain only brought God some of what he was growing on his farm. Abel brought God the best of his animals. Maybe Cain wasn’t giving God the best of his fruits and vegetables. Maybe he was only giving God the rotten ones. Maybe Cain didn’t really want to give God any of his things and Abel did want to. Either way, Abel was giving God his best and Cain was not giving God his best. God always deserves the best from us.
So Cain was angry and jealous that God accepted Abel’s offering but didn’t accept his. And God said to Cain, “Why are you angry? If you do what is right, I will accept you.”
But Cain wouldn’t listen to God. He didn’t want to do what was right. Instead, he went to his brother Abel and said, “C’mon, Abel. Let’s go take a walk in my farm field.” And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.
Then God said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?”
Do you think God really didn’t know where Abel was? (No. God knows everything. He knew exactly what Cain had done.)
So why do you think God asked Cain where Abel was if He already what had happened?
God was giving Cain the chance to confess and say he was sorry for what he had done. God knows everything we do, but He wants us to confess it to Him and say we’re sorry.
But Cain replied, “I don’t know. Am I my brother’s keeper?”
Then God said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground. Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth.”
What is God making Cain’s punishment to be?
He is making Cain leave the place where he lives and go live somewhere else away from his family, away from Adam and Eve. And God is making it so that Cain can’t be a farmer anymore. God says that the ground won’t grow any more food for Cain. He’ll have to go find it instead of growing it.
Cain said to the Lord, “My punishment is more than I can bear. Today you are driving me from the land, and I will be hidden from your presence; I will be a restless wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.”
What is Cain afraid of? (Someone killing him.)
Why would someone want to kill Cain? (Because he killed Abel. Maybe someone wants to punish Cain for what he did.)
But God said to Cain, “Not so. If anyone kills you, Cain, I will punish that person seven times as bad as I’m punishing you.” Then God put a mark on Cain (like a tattoo maybe), warning anyone who found him not to kill him.
So Cain moved away from his home and from Adam and Eve and lived with his wife in the land of Nod. He built a city there and named it Enoch, after the name of his first son.
Game: Alex and Alicia
Help kids see what the right choices are for each of these imaginary situations.
So, God wasn’t happy with Cain’s offering at the beginning of the story because Cain didn’t give God his best. What are some ways that we can give God our best?
Let’s think about a couple of stories about a boy and a girl named Alex and Alicia, and see if we can decide how they can give God their best.
Story #1: Jimmy the Bully
Alex has a classmate at school named Jimmy. Jimmy can be nice sometimes, but a lot of times, he’s mean to Alex. One day, Jimmy was walking by Alex’s desk and he knocked Alex’s art project on the floor on the purpose. That made Alex very angry. He wanted to stand up and push Jimmy and call him a bad name.
What should Alex do to give God his best in this situation? (Alex shouldn’t push Jimmy or call him names. He should try to calm down and tell the teacher what happened.)
Story #2: Alicia Tries to Read the Bible
Alicia loves God. She’s been going to Sunday School and church and she wants to start spending time reading her Bible and praying by herself every day at home. She tried reading her Bible and praying before school, but she didn’t have enough time before she had to get ready. She tried to read her Bible and pray when she got home from school, but her favorite TV shows were on then. She tried to read her Bible and pray right before she went to bed, but she was too tired.
What should Alicia do to give God her best in this situation? (Alicia can get up earlier so she has more time in the morning, or she can skip one of her favorite TV shows to spend time with God, or she can start doing reading and praying before it’s bedtime so that we won’t be too tired.)
Story #3: The Case of the Missed Baseball Game
Alex usually likes going to Sunday and School church. But one Sunday he didn’t want to. You see, Alex played baseball on a team, and his team had a game at the same time church was! He told his mom that he didn’t want to miss the game, so his mom told him that he was old enough to decide if he wanted to go to church and miss the game or skip church and play in the baseball game.
What should Alex do to give God his best in this situation? (Alex should skip the game and go to church. God is more important than playing baseball, and God will reward Alex’s good decision for giving God his best.)
Story #4: To Give or Not to Give?
Alicia had a great birthday. Her friends gave her presents. Her parents bought her a bike. And her grandma gave her $100 to spend however she wanted to. Now, Alicia is in the church service and people are putting money into the offering plate. Alicia was planning to spend all of her money at the store, but now she thinks that maybe she should put some of it in the offering.
What should Alicia do to give God her best in this situation? (Alicia should give some of her money as an offering to God. When we give God some of our money, we’re thanking Him for all the things He gives us and helping the church help other people with our money.)
Story #5: Alicia’s Brand New Bike
Alex is Alicia’s cousin. He went to her house after church and Alicia showed him the new bike her parents bought for her birthday. When Alex saw the new bike, he felt very jealous because his bike was old. He felt angry at Alicia for having a new bike when he didn’t.
What should Alex do to give God his best in this situation? (Alex should be happy for Alicia that he got a new bike and not worry about how his bike is older than hers. God wants us to be happy with what we have and happy for other people when something good happens to them.)
Story #6: Alex’s Championship Game
Later that night was Alex’s final baseball game of the season. If his team won, they would get to play in the championships. If they lost, they would have to wait until next season to play again. The score was tied and Alex was up to bat. He was very nervous, but he hit the ball all the way into left field! He ran a home run and the crowd went wild. “Yay, Alex!” everyone cried. But Alicia just sat in her seat. She was very jealous about the attention everyone was giving Alex.
What should Alicia do to give God her best in this situation? (Alicia should be happy for Alex that he scored a point for his team. People will give her attention another time. God wants us to be happy for other people when something good happens to them.)
If Cain would have given God his best, God would have been happy with him. But instead, Cain made the wrong choice. Then, when God was happy with Abel forgiving God his best, Cain was jealous. We should always remember to give God our best and not be jealous of the good things that happen to other people.
God, we thank You for this story about Cain and Abel. We pray that You’ll always help us to give You our best and not be jealous when good things happen to other people.
You can get this Cain and Abel children’s Sunday School lesson for your Kindle app or in bound book form in my book, Created: Children Sunday School Lessons for Genesis 1-11.