And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering: But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee [shall be] his desire, and thou shalt rule over him. And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him. (Genesis 4:3-8)
The question came to me this morning from my wife (and it was a good question!), “How was Cain suppose to know what was acceptable to God?” The answer brought me to repent of my thoughts of how I have my own perceived way of how Christianity should be done. So you may be wondering, what’s the answer first? Okay, I’ll get to that, but first let me say that I learned, Christianity is done by Christ Jesus alone. That’s why Christ is in the name of Christian I think. Praise God, now the answer!
THE LORD’S RESPECT
And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering: (Genesis 4:4)
The focus of the text pertains to the Lord had regard for the offering Abel had brought, and not towards Cain’s. What does regard (NASB)/respect (KJV) mean? The transliteration is sha`ah. This word means to gaze at, regard, behold, look about. Basically Abel’s offering caused God to look upon it, and not upon Cain’s. So what got the attention of the Lord God Almighty? Now we have to back up and see what Cain’s offering came from (look @ v3). It came from the ground, which God had done what to? (Genesis 3:17). God had cursed the ground. Cain’s offering came from a cursed place, a place of no living sacrifice. Abel brought that which was from something living; the firstlings of his flock. Here’s a quote from Arthur Pink to help understand this:
Abel "brought of the firstlings of his flock and the fat thereof," and to secure this, sacrifice had to be made, life had to be taken, blood had to be shed…Next we learn that "The Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering," or, as Hebrews 11:4 expresses it, "God testifying of his gifts." By comparing later Scriptures we may justly infer that the manner in which Jehovah showed His acceptance of the offering was by fire coming down from heaven and consuming the sacrifice (see Lev. 9:24; Judges 6:21; 1 Kings 18:38; 1 Chron. 21:26; 2 Chron. 7:1). "But unto Cain and his offering He had not respect.’’ No doubt Cain’s offering was a very beautiful one. No doubt he selected the very choicest fruits that could be found. No doubt his offering cost him considerable toil and labor, and probably it was with no little self-satisfaction that he came before the Lord. But Jehovah had no respect unto his gift; there was no visible token of the Divine approval; no fire came down from heaven to consume it in proof of God’s acceptance. And Cain’s countenance fell. He was furious that all his labors should stand for nothing. He was angry at the thought that he could not approach and worship God according to the dictates of his own mind. And, as we shall see later, he was filled with wrath as he contemplated the exaltation of Abel above him. So it is today. Unless the darkened understanding of man be illumined by the Holy Spirit and the enmity of the carnal mind be subdued, the human heart rebels against the idea of the impossibility of approaching God save through a bloody sacrifice. The natural man in his pride and self-righteousness hates the truths of substitution and expiation worse than he hates the Devil.
By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh. (Hebrews 11:4)
So in other words Cain tried to do his offering to God based on his own thinking, his own way. Abel did his based on sacrifice, and giving up of one’s self. Oh how we do the same thing today. Are you trying to do Christianity your own way? Are you trying to give God what you want, and not what He wants? Do you obey His Word, or just the parts that you like? The Lord regards those who give up their life, their ways, their thinking about thinks, and follow after the Lord Jesus Christ. Listen to what God respects:
He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it. (Matthew 10:37-39)
God respects the one who gives up his life. Recently, my good friend PJ wrote about a sermon he did on the women’s role as a wife. No women commented back and some of the reason why falls on wanting to do Christianity their own way. Not wanting to submit to their husbands, although the Word of God commands them so. I thought of the things I don’t like that Christ says. My wretched disobedience comes from wanting to do Christianity my way. Oh let us get real with ourselves and fall on our face before the Lord and repent. Let us seek to gain His regard!
THE DANGER OF CAIN’S WAY
But these speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves. Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core. (Jude 1:10-11)
Of course in the Jude text, Jude by the holy Spirit was referring to the apostates, we to can err in the way of Cain. Doing our own thing, thinking that the Christianity we are doing is really Christianity. Christianity is done be the Lord Jesus Christ, listen:
I am the vine, ye [are] the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. (John 15:5)
Your own thinking, better yet your own way will cause you severe destruction. That’s what happened to Cain. He tried to do God in his own mind, and it bit him in the butt. Listen to this quote again from Arthur Pink’s commentary:
Cain was no infidel or atheist. He was ready to acknowledge the existence of God, he was prepared to worship Him after his own fashion. He "brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord." But mark three things. First, his offering was a bloodless one, and "without shedding of blood is no remission" (Heb. 9:22). Second, his offering consisted of the fruit of his own toil, it was the product of his own labors, in a word, it was the works of his own hands. Third, he brought of "the fruit of the ground," thus ignoring the Divine sentence recorded in Genesis 3:17, "Cursed is the ground."…..
There is a danger is trying to fake Christianity. You cannot fake this thing, or you’ll just have a form of godliness just like Cain (2 Timothy 3:5). Look at American so called Christianity here in
They that trust in their wealth, and boast themselves in the multitude of their riches; None [of them] can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him: (For the redemption of their soul [is] precious, and it ceaseth for ever:) That he should still live for ever, [and] not see corruption. For he seeth [that] wise men die, likewise the fool and the brutish person perish, and leave their wealth to others. Their inward thought [is, that] their houses [shall continue] for ever, [and] their dwelling places to all generations; they call [their] lands after their own names. Nevertheless man [being] in honour abideth not: he is like the beasts [that] perish. This their way [is] their folly: yet their posterity approve their sayings. Selah. Like sheep they are laid in the grave; death shall feed on them; and the upright shall have dominion over them in the morning; and their beauty shall consume in the grave from their dwelling. (Psalms 49:6-14)
There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof [are] the ways of death. (Proverbs 14:12)
All the ways of a man [are] clean in his own eyes; but the LORD weigheth the spirits. Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established. The LORD hath made all [things] for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil. Every one [that is] proud in heart [is] an abomination to the LORD: [though] hand [join] in hand, he shall not be unpunished. (Proverbs 16:2-5)
You may think what you’re doing is of Christ, but does His Word say so? You may be content, but does the scripture testify of such? You may be smiling now, but on the next day will you laugh? Love Jesus my friends. Love and be devoted to the Lord Jesus Christ. Try not your own way, obey the scriptures. Offer up a living sacrifice acceptable to God. Seek the Lord Jesus Christ and humble yourself, your ways, under His Mighty Hand. God bless my dearly beloved.
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, [which is] your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think [of himself] more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. (Romans 12:1-3)