heroes: cain & abel. what are you pointing at?

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By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain did.

I’ve read commentaries. Looked up the original words in Hebrew. Tried every way I know to peek underneath this verse, but the fact is, God never tells us why He preferred Abel’s offering over Cain’s. But we can still go deeper and find the treasures hiding here.

Cain’s response to God’s rejection of his offering is anger. Not repentance. Not humility. Anger and pride. And God took it as a teaching moment and said to him ‘If you do what is right, won’t you be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.”

Cain did not take it as a learning moment, and instead, killed his brother.

I think, and it’s just opinion talking here, that Cain’s offering was like a man going through the motions with God. It was made more out of obligation than faith. And when he saw Abel, and not himself, receiving the approval of God, he showed his true heart.

masks-we-wear-imageIt’s almost like Cain’s offering is pointing directly at a spirit of religion. And a spirit of religion is always a mask worn by pride. Note that Cain did, in fact, bring an offering to God, giving the appearance of obedience and reverence. But then God unmasks Cain’s pride by refusing his offering. Once unmasked, we see Cain’s anger and petulance toward God, even when God questions him about the disappearance of his brother.

Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?” “I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s guardian?”

Unmasked, Cain’s true attitude is on display. And then, we see even deeper, when God tells him the consequences for killing his brother.

“But Cain answered the Lord, ‘My punishment is too great to bear! Since You are banishing me today from the soil, and I must hide myself from Your presence and become a restless wanderer on the earth, whoever finds me will kill me.’”

Again, no repentance. No sorrow for his sin. Only prideful concern for self. And while we can see this on the backside of this story, we know that God knew it before it ever happened. 

In contrast, Abel’s offering was given by faith. And his offering was “some of the firstborn of his flock and their fat portions”.  The fat is defined as the best, or most excellent of any kind. 

So Abel’s offering, by faith, was a blood offering, made from the sacrifice of the first-born, the best, or most excellent of any kind. And, ultimately, Abel was persecuted for his faith, was he not?

So, if Cain’s offering points to a spirit of religion, is it possible that Abel’s offering points to the Gospel of Christ, and His Church?

jesus-crossFor some reason, this makes me weep, this treasure buried back in the beginning. Not just a collection of stories that we blow the dust off every now and then, but markers pointing to the cross and to the Firstborn, the perfect lamb, who offered the Father His life as our ransom. So that we could become His Church.

And I am compelled to ask God, what about me? What do I take from this for my own life?

Slow down and take a deeper look at what you do ‘for Me’. Do your offerings point to the Gospel of Christ and His Church, or do they point to a religious spirit? Simply put, are your offerings to Me coming from faith, or from pride?

This question goes far beyond tithes and offerings. It seeps into our ministries, into our volunteering, into how we operate in our giftings, our prayer lives, our giving, and even in our presence on social media. The question goes deep into everything we do, including our relationships with others and with God. Because our whole lives are to be the offering.

Are we bringing offerings that please God? Or do we just assume He accepts whatever it is we do in the name of Jesus?

There’s a good chance someone may discover the answers on the backside of my story. But what makes me stop and need to put my face on the floor is this…

God already knows.

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