January 2, 2021
Daily Reading: Genesis 4-7
But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.
So, it began. This is the beginning of religious conflict. The age-old story of Cain and Abel, ending with the first murder in recorded history. Brother against brother, all over religious belief systems. It didn’t have to happen, but it did. How sad Adam and Eve must have been. At a time when the life span was 900 to 1,000 years, their son Abel went to an early grave. It is not natural that a parent buries a child, but it happens all too often (for numerous reasons) and is always a heartbreaking experience.
As we consider the story of Cain and Abel questions arise. One question is, “Why was God satisfied with Abel’s offering and not Cain’s?” Verses 4 and 5 state clearly that the Lord had respect unto Abel’s offering and yet had no respect for Cain’s. “Why?” Another question one might ask is: “How did Cain and Abel even know to bring offerings to the Lord?” Prior to this in Genesis there is no clear command to do so. But there is a story of sacrifice, or an offering, being made. When Cain’s parents, Adam and Eve, sinned they attempted to cover their shame by a human made covering (fig leaves). They hid from the Lord, yet the Lord came down to them, dealt with their sin and covered their shame with coats of skin. Practically thinking. these coats of skin had to be taken from an animal. Which means the Lord had to sacrifice an innocent animal to make them these coats of skin (chapter 3). Evidently, at this time the Lord set up a system of animal sacrifices to be offered to Him in worship and for forgiveness of sins; for from this time on in the Bible humans brought to the Lord sacrificial animal offerings upon various occasions.
Allow us to point out in passing, the story of the Lord’s actions toward Adam and Eve, coupled with their own actions of sin, fleeing from the Lord, and their homemade covering, is the first story of individual salvation. Adam and Eve sinned, they fled from the Lord and attempted to cover their shame, yet, He came to them, they confessed, He pronounced the results of their sin, and sacrificed an animal so that they could be covered. This is how it happens today. Because of people’s sins, they run from the Lord, they attempt to cover their shame by their own religious devices, but the Lord comes to them, through the Holy Spirit and His Word. Through His Gospel He teaches us that He gave Himself as the sacrifice for sins for the entire world. When they receive Him as that sacrifice through faith, the relationship is repaired, the sinner goes free, yet faces the residual consequences of their wrongdoing to one extent or another in this life.
Cain’s sacrifice was of his own efforts as it was the fruit of the ground. Fruit that he cultivated and earned. Abel’s sacrifice was of an innocent animal of the Lord’s making. The Lord tried to help Cain, but his anger and hatred could not be assuaged.
The best advice any person can give another is to make sure to offer unto God the proper sacrifice, the sacrifice that the Lord God will respect. That is the sacrifice of Jesus, …the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. (John 1:29)
Until tomorrow, live for Christ today.