We have heard the story hundreds if not thousands of times and we….well…. maybe just I have not really …. I mean really dug into the many hidden lessons tucked inside.
Oh well sure… we know that Cain got mad at his brother…. because we all know he was jealous … because God accepted Abel’s offering and not his… so he killed him…. then God sent him away with a special mark so no one would kill him.
I taught this to my Sunday School Class on Sunday. It really is the neatest thing to “think” you are just going to relay a story in a lesson in the simplest form …..and God shows up and starts bringing things to the surface…. oh… not for the Jr High kids…. but for me!
So the lesson starts out by just reading the Scripture in Genesis, Chapter 4.
AND ADAM knew Eve as his wife, and she became pregnant and bore Cain; and she said, I have gotten and gained a man with the help of the Lord.2 And [next] she gave birth to his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground
So…. they each had their own “profession”…. their own place in life. One was a Shepherd … and one…. a Farmer.
3 And in the course of time Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground.4 And Abel brought of the firstborn of his flock and of the fat portions. And the Lord had respect and regard for Abel and for his offering, 5 But for Cain and his offering He had no respect or regard. So Cain was exceedingly angry and indignant, and he looked sad and depressed.
Now I have heard many reasons why God did not accept Cain’s offering, but let me give you my take on it…. (not a new gospel… just a different angle for you to chew on).
The Scripture says…. that Cain brought to the Lord “an offering”….. but Abel brought “of the firstborn of his flock and of the fat portions”.
This says to me that Abel’s offering was from the best part of his flock… of his profession… of his resources…He gave to God with a thankfulness of all that had been given him.
With Cain however….it is recorded as simply….. “an offering”. No adjectives or expanded text to describe the offering which says to me…. It more than likely was NOT the best he could have done. NOT the first fruits of his crop….. NOT out of thankfulness but more than likely out of a ….. well… I have to give Him something but I am the one who did all the work and I will keep the best part.
6 And the Lord said to Cain, Why are you angry? And why do you look sad and depressed and dejected?7 If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin crouches at your door; its desire is for you, but you must master it.
I am sure that this was not the first time and offering had ever been given to God. I know they were not kids….. and were old enough to have seen their parents give offerings of thanks…many times as they grew up. Like those of us who have been to church since we were young. We know the “routine”…. we know when it is time to be quiet… when it is time to sing… we have seen the offering plate passed several times and have heard the Word taught about right and wrong……. unlike those who might have never been to church who have a learning time and a grace period.
Cain knew what was a right offering and what was not. Did it matter that it was an offering from the ground and not of blood? It doesn’t really say it was a sin offering so I am going to say…. No. I do not think that is what mattered anymore than the offering of a widows mite or an offering off your income that could amount to thousands of dollars. God knows your resources…. and He doesn’t expect you to give like your neighbor…. all He wants is that you give ….. from your heart.
He asked Cain why he was angry. Was it God’s fault that the offering wasn’t received? Was it really Abel’s fault that Cain’s offering wasn’t accepted? He told him basically… “you know right from wrong….you knew what the acceptable offering would have been and you chose not to give that. The fault then is on You…. not anyone else… just you! …and. if you do not get a grip on that…. and you continue to do wrong…. sin…. trouble… is going to be waiting for you…. and it will destroy you.”
8 And Cain said to his brother, Let us go out to the field. And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him.
Cain refused to listen…. refused to accept the responsibility of his own actions. He let it fester. He became more and more focused on how bad Able made his offering look. That God has always liked Abel better than me. If only I had gotten to be the Shepherd and not the Farmer….. Then I would have been able to give a better offering… pleasing to God…He sure does think he is all that……sucking up to God like that. How dare he make me look bad.
Instead of repenting…. and doing the right thing…. he chose to get rid of the so-called competition he created in his mind. If Abel was gone… then his offering….. his service to God….. would look good….with nothing to compare it to. He would not have to raise his standard of living or the quality of his giving. But….. sin has a price… and this one left him to be cast out of the land and the home he knew… to leave the presence of the Lord….to be as a fugitive and a vagabond with no permanent home. And yet… God still loved him so much that he sat a mark upon him that would protect him from being killed.
So…. this in itself was a good lesson. We closed the class with prayer like we always did…. went to a fantastic Church service…. then went on with our day……
As I lay down to get ready for bed…. God begin to teach me a lesson from the very lesson I had given that morning.
He told me that there were times that I was like Cain.
OMGosh….! NO WAY!!!!
Then he showed me….that I have looked at others with jealousy…. envy…. for no other reason than their “offerings” in life…. in their walk with God…their success…. was making my offerings look very unacceptable. I have found myself beginning to place blame on the same things Cain did…..That God has always liked “Abel” better than me. If only I had gotten to be born into a family who had more money….. were strong Christians….were smarter… prettier….. Then of course I would have been able to give better offerings…… pleasing to God…They sure do think they are all that……sucking up to God like that. How dare they make me look bad. I pray…. I teach….. I give offerings…. I …..
But…. do I give the “First Fruits”….”the fat portions”…. the best of what I have to offer? The answer is……NO….. not always…
…. and just like Cain… I know better… I have been raised and taught in the “right and wrong” ways so there is no one to blame for my “unaccepted ” offering but myself. It is NOT Gods fault…. It is NOT the “‘Abel’s” who are around me…. it is NOT my finances or my circumstances…. it is NOT that God loves me less than He loves the “Abel’s” in my life….
Simply put… it is MY fault…
Now…it is my choice….
Deal with it… change it…. make it right…
Let it fester until I am cut off from the presence of God…..
I think we all know the answer to that one !!!