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God says,

“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.”

Genesis 4: 3-5

I wish to talk to you about the sacrifice Cain brought to the Lord.  I believe that Cain brought the best of what he had to offer to God.  He had worked long and hard by the sweat of his brow to produce what he believed would be a pleasing sacrifice to God.  Yet when he offered his personal best God did not show respect to his offering like He did to his younger brother Able.

The questions we need to ask of our Lord is,

“Why did God have respect to Abel’s offering while he did not honor Cain’s?”

I believe that the answer lies in the fact that God had made it known to both brothers what manner of offering He wished to receive.  By faith, Able believed God and sacrificed the best of his flock while Cain chose to do what was right in his own eyes.  Perhaps both brothers did not understand why their Lord required blood to be shed for an offering but by faith Able obeyed doing as God commanded while Cain ignored God’s directions.  In the end, what made one offering acceptable and one offering unacceptable was simple obedience.

The sin of rebellion

I believe the root of Cain’s unacceptable sacrifice was rebellion or the desire to do things “his way” rather than simply trusting and obeying the instructions that God had given.  Remember, the world was still relatively perfect and they may have never experienced the death of any animal.  When God required them to kill in order to make an offering perhaps Cain thought God’s request unreasonable or unkind.  Cain may have thought the object of an offering was to just to give your best as a present to God.  Perhaps Cain failed to understand the true significance and necessity of shedding blood and of giving life for life.

We read further,

“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.”

Genesis 4:6,7

An unacceptable sacrifice

Encouraging Cain to do things according to His plan, God promised that if he did right his sacrifice would be accepted.  However, God also warned that if He continued to go his own way that he would fall prey to sin.

Many Christians are still making the sacrifice of Cain in their lives by doing what they figure will be acceptable to God rather than doing things God’s way.  We bring our personal best to God and offer it to Him believing that He will accept what we do simply because we have tried very hard.  However we find that God does not answer us as we desire when we fail to obey.

When we ignore God’s voice

For instance, I was once in love with a beautiful red-headed girl and desired to marry her.  I was in engineering college at the time when we met and we had planned to finish school, wed, and live a happy life together.  However, during my studies, God called me to go to Bible College and learn His word.  This dismayed my fiancé very much because it made our future together one of uncertainty rather than security.

I prayed and prayed and brought the sacrifice of Cain to God promising to do anything else but attend Bible College if he would let me marry her. Unfortunately, God did not respect my offering to do anything “but” what He wanted. I became angry at God because he did not respect my “sacrifice”.  I spent days in agonizing prayer, yet the spirit of conviction didn’t lift until I said in my heart, “nevertheless, not my will but thy will be done”.

An acceptable sacrifice

By faith, I went to Bible College, lost my girl friend, but eventually gained a wonderful and godly wife who also graduated Bible College with me. The only acceptable offering was “obedience”, and when I simply did as I was told, God respected what I gave.

God does not accept people’s sacrifices because they do not offer according to His will.  While God has asked them to do one thing they, in their rebellion, seek to offer a substitute.  We fool ourselves into thinking that our self effort will cause God to accept our version of what He wants.  In our heart or hearts, we know that only what God originally asked for will satisfy Him.

Whole churches are often built upon the sacrifice of Cain.  People often busy themselves by doing something for God while ignoring what He really wants done.  When a church is in rebellion to God, it ultimately does much more harm than good.

God says in the book of Genesis,

“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 4:8

When we do not repent of the sacrifice of Cain we fall prey to jealousy.  We turn green with envy towards those who offer according to God’s pattern.  Jealousy leads to hatred and hatred leads to murder.  Unwilling to accept that we are not pleasing to God, we seek to destroy those who are.  Our rebellion opens the door for otherwise “nice” people to act like the devil.

The way that is right before God

In conclusion, we must seek to know God in truth.  Learn what our Father wants us to do and then do His will faithfully.  Leave off doing those things in our lives that we hope God will allow us to substitute for true obedience.  If God has called you to do something that you have refused to do, then do it.  Nothing else that you offer to God will be acceptable until you decide to simply “do things His way”.

Make My Life A Sacrifice by SAND