Key Passage: Genesis 4:1-5
Key Text: Hebrews 11:4 – “By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain”
Some things just seem unfair. Unfair until you really understand the facts behind the story. One important principle to always keep in mind when dealing with Biblical stories is that God is never unfair or unjust. God is always right and this mental acquiescence is vital for coming to revelation.
In the story we read today, two brothers offered God their offerings and God rejected one and accepted the other. It looked a bit unfair seeing that both brought the fruits of their labour to God. Why did God accept the gifts of Abel and rejected the gifts of Abel?
There are numerous schools of thought on this matter, that it becomes even more confusing when you look at the story. Some say Abel offered a blood sacrifice or blood offering to God and Cain only offered produce of the field. Whilst this is plausible, one must understand that the gift of Cain also had the blood content in it. It was produced from his sweat and in essence his blood. This is why the Hebrew word for blood is also the word for money. Blood = DAMIM = Money. So I am not sure it’s the blood matter.
In my simple understanding the reasons for the offering of Abel being more excellent than that of Cain are clearly stated in the scriptures. Let me offer my suggestions:
1. Abel gave a gift in faith. Hebrews 11:6, tells us it is impossible to please God without faith. But how was his gift a gift of faith? He brought the first born of his flock and their fat to God. He literarily put his future on the line for God. He did not put his trust in the yield of his animals, but in God. He considered that God would bless him even if he gave the first generation of his flock as an offering to God.
2. Abel’s gift had honour written all over it. If you read the text, it clearly shows that Cain brought some of the produce from his crops to God, whilst Abel, deliberately picked and consecrated all the first born of his flock to God. This is a very deliberate act and shows where the heart of the man was. He was a man that respected and honoured God and felt it a worthy act of worship to offer the very first of his increase. This is why the bible states that God respected Abel and his offering. Not just his offering, but his person.. And like I often say, God is into honour big time!!!
3.The third point is not unlike the first one, but it is worthy of a separate mention. Abel gave his gift trusting God. There are offerings we give to God that really we find coming out of our convenience. We can afford to give that and there will be no real sacrifice on our own part. Gifts that do not touch us. David said in 2 Samuel 24:24 – “nor will I offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God with that which costs me nothing”. I suggest Cain’s gift was a convenient gift, whilst Abel’s gift was a sacrificial gift. It cost him something.
4.Lastly, I believe Abel’s gift was a type of first fruits offering. He gave the very first produce from his livestock to God, but Cain brought some of the produce of his farm. The emphasis here is on first. The very first set. Think about it. This is why the bible states that God respected Abel and his offering. Not just his offering, but his person.
Proverbs 3: 9-10 – says
“ Honor the Lord with your possessions,
And with the firstfruits of all your increase;
So your barns will be filled with plenty,
And your vats will overflow with new wine.
When you give God your first fruits, you are really saying He is number one in your life. No one and nothing is more important. Pure and simple. It is a gift that honours God.
So it is safe to say that though both Cain and Abel brought offerings to God, Abel clearly had a different heart condition to Cain and it affected how and what he gave to God. He was a righteous man. He was a man of honour. He was a respecter and worshipper of God. He was a man of faith. Faith in God. This is why the bible states that God respected Abel and his offering. Not just his offering, but his person. God is in to honour big time!
Let’s Pray: Father thank you for showing us the reason why Abel’s gift was respected. Help us to always remember that You always honour those who honour you and you always reward those who come to you in faith. Lord help us to learn to offer you our very best and never get into the habit of giving you scraps and leftovers. Help us to place the proper emphasis on honouring you always. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.