Saturday 19 September, 2015
4 Adam loved his wife Eve and slept with her. She became pregnant and gave birth to Cain. She said, “With the Lord’s help I have had a baby boy.” 2 Later she gave birth to his brother Abel. Abel took care of sheep. Cain farmed the land. 3 After some time, Cain gathered some things he had grown. He brought them as an offering to the Lord. 4 And Abel also brought an offering. He brought the fattest parts of some animals from his flock. They were the first animals born to their mothers. The Lord was pleased with Abel and his offering. 5 But he wasn’t pleased with Cain and his offering. So Cain became very angry, and his face was sad. 6 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why are you looking so sad? 7 Do what is right and then you will be accepted. If you don’t do what is right, sin is waiting at your door to grab you. It desires to control you. But you must rule over it.”
I have always wondered what the difference between Abel and Cain’s offerings were? What made one pleasing to God and what made one not pleasing to God? Cain’s worship was not acceptable, whereas Abel’s worship was. The difference between the two offerings is not clear in the passage in an explicit sense. Was it that Cain’s offering was not accepted because it was not a blood sacrifice – there is no evidence for this and it seems that both offerings, in themselves, were acceptable. Cain’s offering of “fruits of the soil” (v.3) was as appropriate for his occupation as Abel’s “firstborn of his flock” (v.4) was for his occupation as a shepherd it seems to me. So I do not think it is the offering that was acceptable or not. It seems to me I should look deeper at the attitude of the giver rather than adequacy of the gift. Whatever the cause of God’s rejection of Cain’s offering, Cain’s response was twofold: (1) anger against God and (2) anger against his brother. This shows something of Cain’s heart.
I am struck by the heart of Cain. What is in my heart? Am I open hearted to God and to others. Do I truly love the Lord with all my heart or do I bring ‘offerings’ that are actually unacceptable because of a bad attitude.
Father, keep my heart clean before You – give me courage to be truly open to You.
Written by Ps. Richard Botta
Thanks Richard. I am also challenged by this as our offering to God takes many forms. Acts of service for Him is an offering also, which is sometimes of sacrifice, and I am challenged that it is about the heart that God views, not the the act. Lord help me to always have the right heart