What is in your sacrifice?

Monday, April 9, 2018

Adam and Even bore a total of three sons: Cain, Abel and Seth.  Cain was the oldest of the three.  Genesis 4:1-18 tells us a little bit about who Cain and Abel were and what happened to them.  Cain worked the soil.  He was a farmer.  Abel was a shepherd that took care of the sheep.  Each decided to give an offering to the Lord.  Cain gave the Lord produce from the land, but Abel gave the Lord an offering from the first born of his flock.  The Lord was pleased at Abel’s offering, but disappointed in Cain’s choice.  Cain got upset and went to sulk.  The Lord spoke to Cain reminding him that acceptance comes from doing the right things, and if you make the wrong choices Sin is ultimately the master of him.  Cain then asks Abel to a field where he murders him because of his jealousy.  God asks where Abel is and Cain lies to God saying that he does not know.   God already knows Cain’s actions and banishes him, telling him that he must be a wonderer.  Cain points out that he will be killed, and God places some sort of identifiable sign on his head that lets people know that they cannot hurt him.  Cain eventually has a son named Enoch and they name a city he has built after him.  That's the story in a nutshell...

This story serves first as a reminder of the sin that has entered the world.  We understand the significance of it as God tells Cain “Your brother’s blood cries out to Me from the ground!”(v.10)  It again reminds us that there are consequences to the sin.  Just as Adam and Eve were banished from the Garden of Eden, Cain was forced to roam.  The story also teaches us that it’s not always what we give to God, based on material things, but the sacrifice that we give.  Cain chose to make no “sacrifice”, but instead gave him something he could easily live without.  Abel on the other hand chose to give God the first born from his flock.  Your first is something you take pride in and are very special.  Abel chose to “sacrifice” this to the Lord and because of that God favored Abel’s over Cain’s.
Even today this passage is relevant because too often we feel we have nothing to give, but the Lord knows otherwise.  A poor man who sacrifices his paycheck to the Lord will win the approval before a rich man who gives without a sacrifice.  It’s important for us to give parts of our lives to God that may hurt, parts that require the very ‘sacrifice’ that Abel demonstrated.  We have to do this unselfishly and freely, or else we will find ourselves in the same sin that Cain had committed.  We will also find ourselves without the favor of God. 
At first I am somewhat upset when I read this passage that Cain was not done away with by our Creator (I know I sound horrible).  Upon the first time you read this you don’t completely understand why God didn’t like Cain’s offering.  Then reality sinks in and you understand that Cain made no sacrifice, and it all makes sense.  You also realize that our God is still a merciful God even in spite of our sin. Praise him that even in such a time as murder; you still have a God that shows His goodness.    Not because of what you did, but because of His love for you.

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