Photo by Vera De
In the course of time, Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. And Abel also brought offering-fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering, he did not look with favor.Genesis 4:3-5
Cain and Abel both brought an offering to the Lord but only Abel’s was accepted. Two differences stand out between the two. First, Abel brought an animal sacrifice –which was a blood sacrifice. Cain brought a fruit of the soil offering. Second, Abel brought the best and the firstborn of his flocks. We are not told that Cain’s offering was the best of his harvest. We are just told he brought from some of his harvest.
First, Abel kept the standard- because of sin; God required a blood sacrifice every time a man stood before Him. This was the standard, no blood, no covering of sin. Cain decided he was going to ignore the standard and do whatever he wished.
Also, God required that the offering before Him be the best and a first fruit. He wasn’t going to take leftovers for an offering. He wanted the best and the first. Cain didn’t bring the best nor the first of his fruits. He just brought whatever seemed best.
What can we learn from them?
There is a standard for coming before a Holy God. The law says that almost everything must be sprinkled with blood, and no sins can be forgiven unless blood is offered. Hebrews 9:22 This was the standard. Abel did it by the standard and his offering was accepted. Cain didn’t, and his was rejected.
In the Old Testament, they came before God with the blood of lambs. The blood of the lamb acted as a covering for their sin. In the New Testament, we stand before God by the blood of Jesus, the Lamb of God, who died and shed his blood on our behalf. Therefore brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy place by the blood of Jesus. Hebrews 10:19
The standard is the same. We don’t come into His presence by our own works, or by our own merit and goodness. We will be disqualified. And this is what Cain did. He wanted to appear before God by his own merit and standard and not God’s.
God requires our first and our best. God wants the first fruits of our life, not what’s left. He wants the best of our time, the best of ourselves, and the best of our stuff. It’s easy to do all things and then try to find time for God in our busy schedule. Often what happens is we are so drained that we have nothing left to give to God.
This is why God asks for our tithe which is the first tenth. Every tithe of the land whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the trees, is the Lord’s; it is holy to the Lord. Leviticus 27:30 We don’t just tithe our money, we tithe our gifts, we tithe of ourselves and our life. The reason why God asks for first and the best is because He wants to be first place in our lives.
So when we put Him in the middle of our busy lives we are telling Him He isn’t first. When we attend to God as a last resort, we are telling him is the last resort in our lives. But when we are deliberate to give Him of our best and our first, like Abel we are telling Him He is first place in our lives.
Our reward will reveal our motives. We cannot fool God. He will get to the bottom of why we are doing things. If we are doing it for any other reason than to worship Him. We will be disqualified. We are told, by faith, Abel offered a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. Hebrews 11:4 God went beyond the offering and looked at the heart. In Abel, he saw faith, while in Cain He saw self-righteousness. I, the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve. Jeremiah 17:10
From a human point of view, Cain’s offering could have looked alright, but God doesn’t look at things the way we do. He searches our hearts, He judges our motives to see the “why” behind our actions, then He rewards us justly.
Sometimes, our obedience might look alright to others but God can see behind the scenes. Our serving might look alright before men but God can see why we are really serving. Our giving might be alright before others but God can see the real reason for our giving.
Don’t make your own rules. We are guilty of this. We walk around mad at God because we did something and didn’t get the results we wanted. Don’t make up your own rules and standard as you go. Don’t do what seems best to you. There is a way to live for God. There are rules, and unless you know the rules and play by them, you will not get results. Likewise, a competitor does not receive the crown unless he competes according to the rules. 2 Timothy 2:5
We pray for five minutes then get mad at God because we receive nothing. We obey when we feel like then threaten to quit our faith walk when things don’t go our way. We slack on spiritual things and wonder why there isn’t much of God in our lives.
We don’t get anything unless we play by the rules. God has a standard and a way to do things. Be diligent to find out how He wants things done, do it and you will prosper in all your ways.
God is worthy of a wholehearted sacrifice. Don’t give Him less than He is worthy of.