Summer Devotional and Sermon Series
Week 2/Heroes: Cain & Abel
Imagine this scenario: You are invited to a birthday party for a special friend and you know you want to find just the perfect gift. You spend hours searching for that gift…for something you just know that they will love and cherish. You wrap it in beautiful paper and arrive at the party ready to see the look of joy on the recipient’s face. But it is not joy you see there but rather your gift is opened and then set aside with nary a look back. Your perfect gift has been rejected.
How do you feel? Worthless? Cast aside? Unwanted? In looking at today’s passage, I can imagine Cain felt all those emotions and more. It is not known for what specific reason he and Abel brought gifts to God but only that God looked with favor on Abel’s offering and not on Cain’s.
What was the difference in God’s eyes? As a farmer, Cain brought the fruit of the ground and his labors in the field to offer to the Lord; while Abel’s gift was a sacrifice of the first of his flock and he brought a blood and fat offering. This would have been the richest and best portion of the animal thus demonstrating that Abel brought his best to the Lord.
In Hebrews 11:4, we read “by faith” Abel brought his offering to God. No mention is made of Cain’s motives which leads me to believe it was not through faith that his offering was given. How was it given then? It was a perfectly good gift in Cain’s perception. He had worked hard and wanted to give an offering that he deemed to be worthy. There is the key… he deemed it worthy, but it was given from how he expected it to be accepted not from what he knew of God’s character.
We are reminded in 2 Corinthians 5:7 that faith comes from believing not by sight. Cain did not worship God by faith but rather by his own emotions and senses. He did not walk in obedience to God and as such, his offering was not acceptable to God. This rejected offering sets the stage for what happens next.