Thursday, September 26, 2013

Cain and Able’s Offering and What it means to us today.

Both were the twin sons of Adam and Eve whom knew God.

 Genesis 4: 1-2
“ And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said I have gotten a man from the Lord. (2) And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.”

Both provided offerings to God.
Genesis 4: 3-4
“And in the process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord. (4) And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering:

Abel brought the firstlings (He put God first, refusing to give God leftovers for an offering). Abel took his time to pick the perfect offering. No short cuts when it came to his God. Abel wanted to make sure his offering was without spot or blemish. With a pure heart Abel wanted every part of his offering to be perfect. He prayed and talked to his God. He wanted deep in his heart to please God and did everything in his power to do so. God knew Abel’s heart.
Cain on the other hand wanted to give God an offering so his sins would be forgiven. But took little time, and made little effort in gathering his offering. Cain knew in his heart he hadn’t given God his all. Cain did not give his firstlings, he gave God what he could find. (How many of us Christians do this with our time? By Putting meetings, or chores, etc… first and just fit God into our schedule? Yet sometimes, God just has to wait because we are too busy.)

When God saw Abel’s offering it pleased him, but when it came to Cain’s offering God had no respect for it.  Why? Was it because it was it was an animal sacrifice vs. fruit of the ground? No, it was for a much bigger reason. What was that reason? Let’s find out. 

 Genesis  4: 4-5 “And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering: (5) But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth [angry], and his countenance [face expressions changing; ref: TAHCD] fell. “

I would like to place your focus on “Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell”.
 Now let’s put this in terms of today. Let’s say you have told your two children to go and clean their room. You have told them you expect them to do the best job they can. Thirty minutes later, they come in and tell you they are done. You get up to go and check the different rooms and this is what you find. 

The first bedroom you enter is only halfway clean. There is still trash, toys, and other things that have not been picked up, or are still not put up where they belong. You know this child put very little effort into cleaning it, but still wanted the praise from doing it. 

You enter into bedroom number two. The bed is made, toys are put up where they belong, trash is nowhere in the room, and the floor has been swept. You can tell that this child wanted to truly please you, and make you happy by doing a good job. That he put much effort and thought into what he was doing. 

 So what happens next? Child number one see’s his brother’s room,  how clean it is and suddenly the look on child number ones face tells it all. Their countenance falls, because they know in their heart they didn’t give it their best effort. Usually they will feel guilty or ashamed. Then they become angry because they not only let you down, but their brother is getting a tap on the head being praised for his good job. Child number one is being told this is not acceptable, and that they know they did not do it to the best of their ability. Then child number one becomes very angry, and turns his anger towards his brother. Usually by calling names, picking, or trying to get the other brother in trouble for something completely different.  When in reality child number one is only angry with himself, he tries to find someone to blame, to make himself feel better.

When you’re in your workplace, do you respect those workers that try to slide by and do as little as they can? Or do you respect the hard worker that does their job completely? I do not know of many people that can stand working with someone who is lazy, likes to do things half way, and doesn’t like to pull their weight. This is the same thing that happened between these two brothers and God.

Genesis 4: 6-7
“And the Lord said unto Cain, Why are thou wroth? And why is thy countenance fallen? (7) If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? And if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him. 

Cain became so angry in fact he murdered his brother. It says that Cain talked with Abel, and then when they were in the field Cain rose up against Abel (there’s the fight because of anger, why? Because Abel had earned the respect of God and Cain did not) Cain thought on this so much, and let it build up so much that his jealously ended up killing his brother. Let me say that again “His jealously of his brother fueled the anger, which in turn fueled into him murdering his brother.”

 [Wow, think about that! How many of our governments today murder because of jealously? Jealously over the oil supply, their freedoms, or their money, the list goes on and on. Cain wanted to make Abel pay with his life because he had not earned the respect of God. Governments are much the same way. They want control because they are angry. They want what the other government or person has. They want their money, resources, etc… Thinking this will bring them true happiness. How many people in government now hate our very own citizens because of jealously? Why? The government thinks it must control the situation (much like Cain) because they do not have our respect. Why don’t they have our respect? Because, just like Cain, their offering is not with a pure heart, and has not been earned. Their offering is not for the people, it is for them politically. People within our government are very jealous that we have a free mind, and angry because we do not respect their halfhearted intentions. 

Most of all they hate that we have peace within, and no matter what they do they are unable to achieve inner peace. Why? Because they try to get peace, and happiness from material things.  (John 16: 18-19) “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. (19) If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.)]

What happened when Cain killed his brother?
Genesis 4: 9-16
“And the Lord said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper? (10) And he said, What hast thou done? The voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground. (11) And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother’s blood from thy hand; (12) When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth. (13) And Cain said unto the Lord, My punishment is greater than I can bear. (14) Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth; and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass, that everyone that findeth me shall slay me. (15) And the Lord said unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the Lord set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him. (16) And Cain went out from the presence of the Lord, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden.”

There are many reasons that Abel’s offering earned the respect of God. Let’s go over some of them.

A)     Able gave God his firstling (giving to God first not last).
B)      Able gave a pure offering because he gave the best he had, and to the best of his ability.
C)      Able had a pure heart towards God.
D)     Able took the time to put God first. He chose to give the Lord the best he had to offer, instead of left overs, or the older part of his flock.

Let’s go over some of the reasons that Cain’s offering did not earn the respect of God.

A)     Cain simply brought of the fruit of the ground, not making the effort to pick his best fruit.
B)      Cain felt guilty because he knew he had not given his best to God.
C)      Cain became angry with Abel because he knew that Abel had given his best to God, feeling as if he were in competition with his brother.
D)      Cain only gave halfheartedly. {Genesis 4:7} Cain knew he didn’t do well, therefore his countenance fell and he became angry {Genesis 4:6}

Although this is an Old Testament story, there are scriptures that refer to this problem that Cain had in the New Testament.

Revelation 3: 15-19
“I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. (16) So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. (17) Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: (18) I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of that nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. (19) As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.

We can use this example to gain a greater understanding of our own selves, as well as learn how the story of Cain and Abel sets the example for Christians today. Many Christians today go around claiming their Christian status, yet they are so busy in their daily lives they forget the most important thing. Putting God first.  I don’t mean they intentionally do this, but it does happen.

Here is a simple example: 

 Let’s say you have a daily calendar which you write all of your meetings, appointments, kids have to go to school, the car has to be fixed, and you have to manage to have time to make dinner, clean the house, and go to work. [Does this sound like anyone you know?]The alarm clock screams at you it’s 5am and time to get on with your day. Instead you hit the snooze button hoping for just 15 minutes more sleep. Then BANG, the alarm goes off again,  you now realize you’re late, your nerves are frazzled and everything is moving in panic mode. You run through the tons of appointments, and things you have to do in your day. In the midst of all this chaos you tell your children hurry up we’re running behind and you’re going to be late for school. All the while you’re trying to figure out, how in the world you’re  going to get everything done today? Sometimes beating yourself up with the words “I knew better than to hit that snooze button”. 

 As you go on about your day trying to make up for missed time, you try desperately to get everything done on the calendar and by the time you know it it’s 1am. If you go to bed right now you will only get 4 hours of sleep before you have to be up and running again. You’re past the point of exhausted, and it pops in your mind “I haven’t taken time out today to talk to God”, or you have completely forgotten to stop, and talk to God.  You’re too tired prayer will have to wait until tomorrow.  Thinking “I’m sure God will understand”.

When we take time out to talk to God, and repent daily we give God our first fruits. We give to him with all of our heart, not halfheartedly.  When we repent, God covers those sins with his blood and we are spotless offerings to him. Repentance: asking for the forgiveness of our sins and turning away from those things, makes us pure, and respected offering to God. 

Too many people are under the misconception that they can live for the world as long as they claim to be a Christian, and leave the most important thing of all out of the equation, God himself.  How many professed Christians today live a very worldly life, head to the church building on Sunday and think they are pleasing in the Lords sight? Yet, do not think about him the rest of the week. God has shown in his word that he doesn’t respect  halfhearted offerings, and it angers him. As seen in Revelation 3: 15-16. 

Many other Christians wake up in the morning, and the first thing that comes to their mind is “Good Morning Lord”. They talk to their Lord, their father, their friend, their King, their Savior. They put God first, sacrificing their time, and fleshly desires to try and be pleasing unto the Lord. Yet, no one is perfect in this life; it is their heart that matters, their effort, the pureness in which they seek God’s face. They have the true desire to live for God daily, to be the spotless bride waiting for her bridegroom which is Christ. 

Christians today need to take a hard look at themselves (me included) and repent. We need to seek the face of God and ask him to purge the sin out of our life. So when the Lord comes back we are spotless, without blemish, and an acceptable offering to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. That we may obtain the ultimate goal to one day be with him.

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