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Cain, Able and We

“So it came about in the course of time that Cain brought an offering to the LORD of the fruit of the ground. Abel, on his part also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions. And the LORD had regard for Abel and for his offering but for Cain and for his offering He had no regard. So Cain became very angry and his countenance fell. Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? “If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.” Cain told Abel his brother. And it came about when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him. Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” And he said, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?” He said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to Me from the ground.” (Genesis 3:3-10)

Perhaps the course of time that Cain and Able brought the offering of their labors was a feast that was observed at the end of the harvest season. Whatever the occasion it was a time of thankfulness to God who had sustained then throughout their lives thus far and a time of devotion and recommitment to their God. They most likely gathered at the dwelling place of their parents Adam and Eve to celebrate this event. Their father Adam would have been the priest of the family which would have been his divine appointment as the father and spiritual leader of the family. The brothers brought with them their sacrificial offerings unto the God who they served.

This was a time of feasting and celebration but it also was a time of worship to their God. The worship of our Lord is no mere invention of man but an ancient institution ordained by God. (1 John 1:1) The Apostle Paul teaches us to give as we have proposed in our heart. It is an expression of our thankfulness to God for what He has given us to manage. It is also sacrificing to Him the first and beat fruit of our labor. It is representative of our commitment of love towards Him. “Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:7) So Cain and Abel brought their sacrifice to offer unto the Lord.

Cain was a tiller of the ground and brought with him an offering of his produce, Able was a tender of the flocks and brought with him the best of his yearlings to offer unto God. There was nothing wrong with Gain’s grain offering. (Leviticus 2:14) It is said that Cain bought only a token offering of his first fruits whereas God requires the first and best. (Exodus 23:16) The attitude of Cain’s heart made his sacrifice unacceptable to God.

God accepted Abel’s offering because he was giving unto God the best he had and the richest parts. This is what the Lord requires as this is what the Lord has given to man, the very best of His creation. “Honor the LORD from your wealth And from the first of all your produce” (Proverbs 3:9)

It is said of Cain’s offering to the Lord that it was not selective. That Cain just indiscriminately took some of his produce and brought it along to offer to the Lord. Whereas Able’s offering was of the first and best that he had. He did not chose that which was old and unused or thin and not fattened. Abel chose the best for the Lord. God sees the heart of a man and our sacrifices to Him are to come from a humble spirit and a contrite heart. “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.” (Psalm 51:17) Abel showed His love for God in that with a thankful heart he believed that the Lord was worthy of his very best.

Cain may have believed that the sacrifice was something that must be done to safe face within the family. For Cain it was a duty, not a privilege, to honor God with his sacrifice. It may have also been the arrogance of Cain, as later shown in the story in his confrontation with God, that he was giving up something that was his and not a gift revived from God.

Too many of us who Judge Cain do not examine ourselves in a truer light. Most of us need to remember that God loves the sinner and that He loves us while yet we are sinners. “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you–unless indeed you fail the test?” (2 Corinthians 13:5) Is there some of our brothers and sisters that we harbor jealousy and envy towards who have been honored for their righteous service to the Lord? Do we have hated towards others that are in fierce opposition towards activities that we are engaged in? The Apostles John writes, “Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him.” (1 John 3:15). Jealousy is a problem for me and most times when I discover it I am surprised. I have not thought and do not openly conduct myself in a jealous behavior but there are times when I see the deception of jealousy has crept into my heart.

When the Spirit sends its gentle signal that this evil has snuck its way into my thoughts and actions I have the same option as Cain had when the Lord said “if you do not do well.” In translation the Lord is saying that if one does not resist the wiles of the devil it we allow Satan to gain a foothold, if we entertain that which we know to be wrong, we are apt to fall into deeper sinful behavior. James tells us, “Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7) I as well as all of us need to be in constant confession and repentance. The Lord knows that the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. The Lord has compassion upon His children and is faithful to forgive if we approach Him in the Spirit of Truth. By this act of turning away from our sin we restore our right relationship with God. Otherwise we find ourselves falling deeper and deeper into the darkness of a sinful heart.

Cain’s sacrifice was that which he felt was enough. It has been said by commentators that Gain did not offer his first or his best but just the left overs or what he felt adequate. Yet God always has given man the first and the best. The price of man’s salvation in the only begotten Son of God whom He was well pleased. Think about that. God loves you so much that He sacrificed His Son to pay the wage of your sin instead of you the one who deserves the penalty there of. Perhaps it was a sacrifice on Cain’s part as a sense of duty, or compulsion because others in the family we doing so also. It is the heart that the Spirit searches. “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12) When we make our spiritual sacrifices it is the intent of our heart that God sees. A Man cannot hide his thoughts from God.

Our defense is the very same defense that our Lord used what He was being tempted by Satan in the wilderness. The Word of God. Even Satan has to obey God’s Word. By the study of God’s Word and prayer we become more able to follow the lead of the Holy Spirit and have the ammunition to say that which Satan hates to hear, the Word of God. Our reason for our spiritual sacrifices is the love we have for our Lord and Master who gave Himself that we shall live. “You also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:5).

God warned Cain that “sin is crouching at the door.” I think for the Christian that sin is always crouching at the door. Satan is not worried about the unrighteous as they have been given over by their own rejection of the truth of God’s Word. It is our spiritual battle to master it or sin will master us. Paul tells us that we must be equipped with the full armor of God. (Ephesians 6:11-18) We have been purchased by the exceeding high price of the Blood of God’s Son Jesus Christ our Savior. He has given us His truth and His truth frees us from the bonds of sin. It is by grace we have been saved through faith in Jesus. (Ephesians 2:8) Never let it be so that we use grace as a license for sin. “For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace” (Romans 6:14).

We have been created in the image of the Creator God Almighty. We have the ability to reason and chose. Chose now this day whom you shall serve. It is easy, there are only two choices. Shall you bear the mark of Cain and have “your brother’s blood is crying to Me from the ground?” Will you chose to serve a world that is passing way to arrive in a destiny deep in the pit for eternity? Or, shall you chose to repent from the worldly way and “seek first His kingdom and His righteousness.” (Matthew 6:33) It is your choice by the grace of God to choose your eternal destiny. Make it today while you are on this side of the River.

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant, March 24, 2015

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