Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, while Cain was a tiller of the soil. So in the course of time, Cain brought some of the fruit of the soil as an offering to the LORD, while Abel brought the best portions of the firstborn of his flock. And the LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but He had no regard for Cain and his offering. So Cain became very angry, and his countenance fell. – Genesis 4:2b-5 ESV
This is an interesting part of HIS-STORY; God’s story, which is our history. These 2 brothers, the first 2 of many billions more of brothers- have created debates for thousands of years; Why did God accept Abel’s sacrifice, but was not pleased with Cain. This is where conjecture, extra-biblical research, and the prompting of the Holy Spirit- can create a few different possible answers. Before we get there, lets get to 2 truths. First TRUTH is that no man owns the truth, that is God’s property. We are all a ‘bit’ off in our theology, some are way off! Second Truth is that Jesus is the Word of God, He is the Bible- HE IS TRUTH. Jesus told Pilot, ‘everyone who belongs to the truth listens to My voice”. HE even upped the ante, or ‘Raised the Bar’ higher, and said that HE HIMSELF was the embodiment of TRUTH- “I AM THE TRUTH”. (John 14:6) Nobody else in the great religions of the world, has ever made that claim; not Mohammed, not Gandhi, not the Buddha. As a matter of fact near his death Buddha said he was still searching for the truth. Jesus is the TRUTH, HE is the LIFE, HE is the ONLY WAY… to God the Father.
Leader, we have to ask ourselves, “why was Cain’s offering unacceptable”? Many scholars believe that Cain and Abel had received some instruction on what constituted an acceptable sacrifice from God. There seems to be a familiarity between the brothers and God. Apparently God talked to Cain and Abel often enough that they were accustomed to His voice and\or His presence- to the point Cain didn’t show signs of shock or fall down on his face as others are recorded to have done throughout the Bible. The passage says that Abel “brought fat portions from some of the firstborn.” He offered some of what came first; Firstfruits. He sacrificed one of the youngest, unblemished and offered the choicest parts. Abel was clearly giving the best of what he had to God. Cain, on the other hand, brought crops, the works of the flesh. We don’t know the quality and we don’t know if they were ‘leftovers’, or ‘extra’; first or last. Cain was the first of many who thought HIS WORKS, the work of his hands and his toil- as a justifiable way to please God. He is the first of many who will see that our works are, as the prophet Isaiah put it: ‘they are nothing but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall, and our sins sweep us away like the wind’. (Isaiah 64:6)
Conduit, later on in HIS-STORY, which happens to be our history- we read of 2 other brothers that have different choices and different outcomes. “for though the twins were not yet born, and had not done anything good or bad, in order that God’s purpose according to His choice might stand, not because of works, but because of Him who calls, it was said to her, “The older will serve the younger.” Just as it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated,” (Rom. 9:11-13). God is JUST and God is OMNISCIENT; All-knowing, HE IS IMMUTABLE- He cannot learn, or he would change! God knows who HIS are! God chose some, and He didn’t choose others. If you are CHOSEN, then act like you are blessed and follow HIM; “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:” (John 10:27) The MSG Bible paraphrases this point in Romans 8:29-31; God knew what he was doing from the very beginning. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love him along the same lines as the life of his Son. The Son stands first in the line of humanity he restored. We see the original and intended shape of our lives there in him. After God made that decision of what his children should be like, he followed it up by calling people by name. After he called them by name, he set them on a solid basis with himself. And then, after getting them established, he stayed with them to the end, gloriously completing what he had begun. So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? The Times is now to HEAR the SHEPHERDS voice and FOLLOW the SHEPHERDS commands! “If you love me, you will keep my commandments”; Jesus- (John 14:15)