“Adam made love to his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain. She said, “With the help of the Lord I have brought forth a man.” Later she gave birth to his brother Abel. Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. In the course of time, Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. And Abel also brought an 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. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast. Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.” (Genesis 4:1-7)
The story of Cain and Abel has inspired untold numbers of sermons with the message clear: give God your best. I recently wrote a Bible Study book called “The Preparation of the Bride: A Study of Song of Songs.” I am currently teaching it at my church Bible training night and I was going over the first chapter called “The Surrender.” The book is about allowing the Holy Spirit to transform us into the image of Jesus Christ. It occurred to me that the level of surrender we give to the Lord has an impact on the sincerity of our worship of the Lord.
Let’s look at Cain and Abel’s offerings. The Bible says “Cain brought some of the fruit of the soil to the Lord.” Abel brought the “fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock.” The Bible says “The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering, he did not look with favor.” What was the difference between Cain’s offering and Abel’s offering? VALUE. Abel VALUED God more than Cain did and it showed in the quality of their offerings to Him.
I saw a message the other day from Open Doors that talked about the meaning of the commandment “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord in vain.” The meaning is “you shall not take the name of Yahweh for worthlessness.” Without value. Think about the attitude Cain displayed towards God with his offering. Notice that the scripture differentiated between the quality of Cain and Abel’s offering. Cain offered “some” of the fruit of the soil. Abel also offered “some” but his offering was the FIRSTFRUITS of his flocks. He put God FIRST. Cain’s offering did not specify the firstfruits of his garden. This is key because it shows the value both men had for Yahweh. Cain’s half-hearted offering was given out of duty, not reverence or love. He counted the name of Yahweh for worthlessness. He had no value of Him.
On the other hand, Abel put God first in his life. He thought about Him as he chose the finest of the first lambs born in his flock. He put aside his prosperity and gave God the best he had and the FIRST he had. He VALUED God’s presence in his life. God counted this to him as righteousness. He looked favorably on Abel and had every intention of blessing his flocks with growth and quality of animals.
Before we condemn Cain too much, we need to look at our own attitudes about Yahweh. Where is He on our daily “to do” list? Do we value His presence in our lives? Do we give Him half-hearted lip service on Sunday mornings and live the rest of the week for ourselves? Does He enter our thoughts only on Sunday morning? If this is our attitude, then our weekly offering is the same as Cain’s offering.
Half-hearted and of no value to God. The favor of the Lord will not be on your life if this is your attitude towards Him. If His presence is of no value to you, then His name is counted as worthless to you. The good news is that you can change that now and move forward into the beauty of His presence! Cain had the same opportunity to change his ways, but he chose instead to kill his brother for simply being righteous. For loving God–for valuing God.
It begins with a choice and repentance. A simple prayer can change the course of your life. Right now. The very first commandment is to LOVE the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. In other words, He must be number one. The price He paid for your salvation demands that you return that with making Him the number one priority in your life. Although our motive for loving God is simply because He’s so wonderful, He WILL pour out blessings into our lives that overflow. Not so with the Cain offerings.
If you want to change course today, pray this prayer and mean it in your heart:
“Father, I come to You in the Name of Jesus Christ. I confess that I have sinned by taking Your name for worthlessness. I have not valued Your presence in my life and I repent of this wrong attitude. I ask You to forgive me and cleanse me from this unrighteousness. I choose today to obey Your command to love You FIRST! I ask these things in the Name of Jesus Christ. Amen and Amen!”
Now begin to live your life every day with Him at the helm. Begin the journey of habitually walking with Him. Like so many before us, who valued God’s presence in their lives, we too, can live fuller and richer lives when He is our priority. Put away your Cain offerings and start giving Him the firstfruits of your life! The favor of the Lord will come to you in great measure. His wonderful presence will hallmark your life.
Don’t know Him?