GIVING WHAT I WANT
In the course of time Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground, and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. Genesis 4:3-5
Considerable time has elapsed since Cain and Abel were babies. Apparently, instruction was given by their parents on how to approach a holy God. I can imagine that Adam and Eve also told their story of relationship lost. Perhaps their kids heard a tearful account of what life had been like in the garden before there was sin and how wonderful it was to be near God. Both young men knew about God and what was required to approach Him.
One respected the terms and the other did not. God was treated casually as Cain decided that he could concoct the nature of his own offering and God would just accept it.
All throughout history, mankind has given a Cain-kind of offering. God’s response has been just as severe yet the majority never listens. We decide that God should be happy with tireless Christian service, with token sacrifices made in the temple. With the illusion that God has been bought off, we live with an illusion of eternal security. All the while God’s requirement is unchanged.
For Cain and Abel, it was a blood sacrifice – a symbolic look ahead to the Lamb of God who would shed His own blood. For me, it also involves a blood sacrifice but I don’t bring my own lamb. I trust in the one God provided in 33 A.D. I can’t reject Him and then bring money, philanthropic efforts, church service, or a chart full of green check marks that signify good deeds I accomplished over the course of my lifetime. God rejects any offering other than the blood of His Son.
Many marriages fall apart because a husband or wife don’t express love in a way that the other has desired. One is bought off with token gifts that are resented rather than cherished. What they asked for was denied and the path of love and respect was rejected!
Our holy God is the spurned Lover anytime I decide to give what I want rather than what He requires. When I determine my gift, I’m the object of my worship. When I give what He requires, He is the object of my respect and my worship.
I pray for those I love today who have wrongly assumed that You have been appeased by their good deeds. Oh God, show them Your displeasure so that they may make things right before it’s too late. Amen