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 ESV
Considerable time has elapsed since Cain and Abel were babies. Apparently, instruction was given by their parents on how to approach a holy God. Their kids heard a tearful account of what life had been like in the garden and how wonderful it was to be near God. Both young men knew about why their parents were banished from paradise and what was required for them approach God. One respects the terms of the sacrifice, and the other does not. Cain treats God casually and decides that he is going to offer what he believes God should accept. The results are catastrophic.
Mankind has always been tempted to make Cain-kinds of offerings. He decides that God should be happy with charitable acts, with token sacrifices made in the temple on holy holidays. With the illusion that God has been bought off, many live with an illusion of eternal security. All the while, God’s requirement has not changed, and they believe this lie to their peril.
Both Cain and Abel needed a blood sacrifice – a symbolic look ahead to the Lamb of God who would shed His own blood. For every man and woman since then, it has also required a blood sacrifice, but ever since Jesus’ death, we don’t bring our own lamb to the altar. We trust in the one God provided in 33 A.D. He will reject any offering other than the blood of His Son.
Many marriages fall apart because a husband or wife refuses to express love in a way that the other says they need. Token gifts are given to buy affection; gifts that end up being resented rather than cherished. Our holy God is the spurned Lover anytime I decide what I am going to give Him instead of what He requires. Even after salvation, I can still be stubborn to give everything but a surrendered heart. And then I wonder why my heart is not warmed. May it not be!
I pray for those I love today who have wrongly assumed that You have been appeased by their good deeds. Amen