CAIN AND ABEL | WHY WASN’T GOD PLEASED WITH CAIN’S OFFERING?

CAIN AND ABEL
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I wrote an article concerning Esau and Jacob but it seemed to have raised a little dust, a reader raised an argument about my position on God’s acceptance of Abel’s offering over that of Cain based on grace which Abel of course accessed through faith! She was of the opinion that Cain’s sacrifice was not good enough but I think it wasn’t about the offering.
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I grew up in a Christian home and would always attend the Children’s service every Sunday in our local Church. I grew hearing the story of Cain and Abel with our teachers usually telling us that God accepted Abel’s offering because it was “meaty enough” and rejected Cain’s offering because it was “rotten enough” That was the narrative we grew up with. The teachers were sincere; they gave their own interpretation of that portion of the Bible to encourage us on giving good offering in the Church. That said, the Bible never communicated those things nor even gave the slightest indication that Cain gave God rotten fruits as offering. The question continues to surface again, why exactly did God accepted Abel’s offering and rejected Cain’s offering?
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The Bible is the only guide and final answer to any spiritual question we ever have! We would rather remain silent where the Bible is silent than try to fix into the word of the Bible our own assumptions and thoughts. First of all, we need to take note of God’s consistent character! God’s character is consistent and does not contradict itself based on circumstances. The reason we must take note of God’s consistent character is because it will give us guidance in interpreting God’s dealing with men in the Bible. The first question we would ask about Cain’s offering would be,
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1. “Was it the kind of offering he brought that made God reject his offering?” The Bible didn’t tell us Cain’s offering was rejected on the basis of the elements of the offering. We must note that it was offering, a wilful and personal giving from what God has blessed that person with and the Bible records that Cain was a farmer while Abel was a shepherd. (Read Genesis 4:2-4) The Bible also records that Cain brought unto the Lord some of produces of his farm while Abel brought the first lamb born to one of his sheep! Unlike we were told in Children’s church, both Cain and Abel brought unto the Lord offering from what they have been blessed with and from what they have. Cain wouldn’t have brought “meaty” offering because that was not what God blessed him with! Some translation says Abel brought a fat portion but the Bible never said Cain brought bad fruits!
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2. Was it because of Cain’s heart? Since we have chosen to stop where the Bible stopped, we cannot say God rejected Cain’s offering because of Cain’s heart at the time of giving the offering. Please remember, it was an offering and God didn’t command them to bring the offering, it was willful and Cain must have had his mind made up on what to offer the Lord. If anything else not recorded in the Bible was important to be considered, it would have been written. The Bible didn’t say Cain’s heart made God reject his offering. In fact, the Bible makes it clear when exactly Cain’s heart became filled with bitterness. It was after the offering that he became bitter!
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Since it is “none of the above” because the Bible never said they were, what would be the reason why God rejected Cain’s offering? The Bible says in Hebrews 11:4 concerning Abel’s offering “by faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain” and somewhere else in 1 John 3:11-12 the Bible says “We should love one another, not as Cain who was of the wicked one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his works were evil and his brother’s righteous.” The Bible gives us every clue into why Abel’s sacrifice got accepted and that reason isn’t by merit! Abel wasn’t favoured on Merit but was counted righteous by faith! God’s favour on Abel was for His own reasons and His own purpose! It was for what He wanted to do and how He wanted to do it and it has nothing to do with the kind of offering they brought, the Bible didn’t talk about that!
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Popular opinion and assumptions has it that Cain’s sacrifice was rejected because it was bloodless but that is a very wrong interpretation! The Bible never said anywhere that Cain and Abel were making “Sin Offering.” The Bible also clearly stated that Cain was a farmer while Abel was a shepherd and they both brought sacrifices from their proceeds… This indicates it was not “Sin Offering” but probably an offering of thanksgiving for successful harvest.
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You may have been told something different in the past but you can chose to stand where the word of God stands. The New Testament tells us the only thing that made Abel’s sacrifice better was “FAITH.” and not the substance. Without faith, you cannot please God! Abraham believed God it was counted as righteousness. Faith means trusting God without reserve! Abel trusted God with his offering but Cain must have entertained doubt since the Bible indicates “FAITH” made Abel’s sacrifice better!
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The offering Abel and Cain offered wasn’t sin offering and we can’t lay hold to any claim saying God gave them guidelines to follow! While blood sacrifice had a very significant expression to God which is in line with His will that Jesus would come and be slain for us we can only hold on to circumstances to say Cain’s sacrifice was rejected because it has no blood! Many people preach that but God’s word is silent on that! Not a single portion of the Bible suggests that Cain’s offering got rejected because he brought fruits! The Bible says “Cain was a farmer!” If God never wanted anyone to be a farmer, He would have made it so!
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Talking about Cain’s evil works, the Bible records where exactly Cain started being evil! When we look at Cain’s reactions after God had preferred Abel’s offering over his we can see that Cain was disappointed, he wouldn’t have been disappointed if God had given a specific instruction and he violated it. God preferred Abel’s offering not based on Abel’s reasoning or nice attitude and conduct during the offering. We know how much God wanted Cain to be fine because God didn’t start blaming Cain; He rather wanted to make Cain understand that his offerings could be accepted next time! It wasn’t Cain that God rejected but his offering; it was like “rejected, please try again next time.” God said to Cain in Genesis 4:7TLB “Why is your face so dark with rage? It can be bright with joy if you will do what you should! But if you refuse to obey, watch out. Sin is waiting to attack you, longing to destroy you. But you can conquer it!”
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Seeing how God accepted Abel’s offering over his only left Cain with depression and rage! But God tried coming to the rescue! God knew the devil was at it again, trying to use that situation and get Cain do the wrong thing! God told Cain he would be bright with joy if he does what he should. The Bible didn’t say “if you did what you should” but “if you will do what you should” and this explains God wasn’t talking about the offering they have made but something that would still be done. God had already read the heart condition of Cain at that moment and if Cain had obeyed God and do what was right by getting rid of those thoughts in his heart, sin wouldn’t have caught up with him. You would ask, what was the right thing God wanted Cain to do?
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God was talking about the condition of Cain’s heart at that moment. Read further, the Bible says “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.”(NIV) This explains what God was referring to about doing what was right… It was about ruling over sin and not giving it room. Yes, Cain gave sin enough room and it caught up to him! Cain would have acknowledged that God’s reasons are the best even though he may not understand it! But he didn’t do that, he wanted God to operate in his own rules! It was this pride and arrogance that pushed Cain into committing the first murder ever recorded.
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Because we don’t want to add to the Bible but depend solely on it for answers to Biblical issues, we can only assume God loved blood sacrifice over fruit offerings but there is no authority backing it up! Why don’t we stick to the word and be silent where the word is silent? If anyone would walk up to me and ask me why God preferred Abel’s sacrifice over that of Cain, I may assume it was because Abel’s sacrifice had a symbolism of what Jesus was coming to do but Abel never knew that nor was he trying to portray that! So, whatever it was, I would only say that Abel keyed into God’s grace by faith! We can’t for sure give any other reasons that the Bible never gave! Like I wrote in my previous article “Esau and Jacob” I am saying it here again that “God can do whatever He wants and we can’t question Him.” There is this character consistent with God and it was clearly portrayed all over the Old Testament; God would always choose whom He wants and sometimes He doesn’t even choose people who appear qualified! Age, skill or other factors can make people appear qualified in the eyes of men but God operates on a different standard. He decides what He wants and how He wants it! God has His own reasons for whatever He chooses to do and we cannot question God’s wisdom. The offerings they made were to God and God reserves the right to respect the offering He wants to respect! Had Cain fell at his feet and asked the Lord to “please help my heart Lord! I want to do your will!” We would have had just a different story of an inspiring man who God used named “Cain” and people would be answering that name today with pride!
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It would have been God’s way of telling them, this is exactly what is acceptable to me as an offering but it was never based on Abel’s doing or access to information and insights that made God accept Abel’s offering. It was specifically based on grace! In Genesis 18:25 Abraham said “The God of all the earth has to act justly” and God responded “if I find fifty people who are innocent in Sodom, I will spare the whole city for their sake.” However we know that based on God’s standard, no one is righteous and Abraham was counted righteous not because of his morals but based on faith in God! Didn’t God announce He would destroy Nineveh? What happened? They trusted God for salvation and got spared! What would we say about Lot who was spared? It was grace! God told Job in Job 40:8-11 “Are you trying to prove that I am unjust – to put me in the wrong and yourself in the right? Are you as strong as I am? If so, …look at those who are proud; pour out your anger and humble them…” We may not fully understand why God do what He does but one thing is sure, we can trust God’s judgement no matter how they appear to be.
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Now, we are certain that the big deal in the story of Cain and Abel isn’t to tell us how one worked God into accepting his offerings while another got rejected based on offering of rotten fruits. The story of Cain and Abel is a story that tells us of God’s election based on His own standards, of God being right in all He does and how sin can thrive in the place of bitterness and pride! We can ultimately trust God’s word to be enough without having to add our own assumptions.
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Blessings.
I am George O.N
The Man-In-God
#GracefulGeorge
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