In Genesis Chapter 4 we read that Cain brought his offering to the Lord. He brought the work of his hands, the toil of his labor.
God was not impressed with Cain’s offering. The Lord did not consider Cain’s offering to be acceptable.
Able was a tender of sheep. He also gave an offering to God. He took the first born of his sheep and gave that offering to God.
God accepted Abel’s offering but not his brother Cain’s offering.
It is interesting to note that both brothers gave an offering to the Lord. That is they felt the need to have God’s approval in their lives.
They also gave an offering in accordance to their respective vocations.
Cain who labored as a husbandman or a worker of soil produced the fruit of his labor. He was blessed in his vocation or ministry but when Cain tried to earn the Lord’s favor based on that vocation he was rejected.
Cain’s problem was that he thought his fruit came from his own effort. All that hard work he put in. All those hours of toil.
Cain was totally insulted because the Lord rejected his offering.
Cain obviously had good intentions. He wanted to please the Lord but according to the Lord, Cain’s offering was not acceptable. That is it was not considered to be valid, it was unsuitable.
This rejection of his offering caused Cain to go into a depression. That’s what it means to be downcast of soul. Really depressed. That depression ended up turning into jealousy towards his brother.
Why would Cain turn on his brother? Simply because he did not heed the advice God gave him when his offering was rejected.
God told Cain, that if he wanted to do well or what is right and acceptable, then he would be accepted. In other words Cain needed to do things God’s way not his way.
Cain ignored God’s advise we know because he saw that Abel was accepted by the Lord and he was jealous. What happens when a person is accepted by God? They are blessed.
To be accepted is to have favor. Be lifted up in a position of opportunity. To have a good reputation among others. Having worth or value.
Cain refused to do what was right. He refused to humble himself and get a sheep from his brother to present as an offering to the Lord.
That would require admitting failure. Admitting that he wasn’t such a hot shot. It would be like coming to terms with the fact that maybe his younger brother had more revelation in spiritual matters than he did.
God warned Cain. He said that “if you refuse to do well (yâţab) or what is right, what is acceptable then sin or offense lies or crouches like an animal
at your door.
Sin is looking to gain entrance, or place in your life.
If you don’t make it right Cain and do what is acceptable then the devil is going to come a knocking!
Many times we think that God is going to respect us because we are hard workers in his vineyard. So we offer up all our labor hoping for his approval. Just like Cain did.
Then the brother who is a wet behind the ears Christian comes along and lays down his love offering. He just simply relies on grace. Doesn’t do a thing but sit at the cross! Blessings coming out of his ears!
If we try to gain favour with God by our works then sin is crouching at our door! Waiting to spring on us at a weak moment.
We need to do what is right. That is go to the cross and rely on the lamb of God whose offering makes us acceptable. The Lord’s favor is bestowed on those who trust in his way of doing things not our own way.
God tells us to rule over the sin that is crouching at our door.
Don’t let it have any place!
Stick the pride back in our pocket where it belongs and count it all loss for Christ!
Who cares how many hours we have labored in the vineyard. The guy who just gets saved and works for one hour in the vineyard is going to get the same reward anyway! (Matthew 20)
Might as well just join him and sit at the cross because that is what makes us perfectly acceptable in the beloved anyway!
Our labor in the Lord is not in vain. It always produces fruit if we belong to God but our works should never supersede the sacrifice of God’s Son Jesus Christ.
That was the problem with Cain’s offering. Works in the vineyard no matter how noble will not make us acceptable to God.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8,9