Cain and Abel’s Worship of God
“In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. And Abel also brought an offering—fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.
Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”- Genesis 4:3–7
In Genesis 4 we read the account of Cain and Abel. Here we learn that the acceptable offering to God came from Abel. Why God rejects Cain’s offering is not mentioned in the passage. I considered Cain and was always puzzled at why this was the case. The amount of time and effort it would have taken to produce what he offered to God was more than Abel. So what made the offering not acceptable to God?
We are only granted external sight of an individual; God, who is unlike us, sees the condition of the heart and considers the motivation of the worshiper.
“But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”- 1 Samuel 16:7
The Lord says:
“These people come near to me with their mouth
and honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.” – Isaiah 29:13a
We also see God’s response to the giver and the gift as one. What Cain produced resulted from his efforts which came from a heart full of pride. Cain responded in anger to God for the rejection of his offering which exposed his true attitude.
As we consider our worship of God what are the motivations of our heart. Will God find flaws in the intention of the giver? Jesus gives us a great and practical example in the gospels.
“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.” – Matthew 5:23-24
As the opportunity to worship together becomes more of a reality for us let us remember that giver and gift are under the scrutiny of Almighty God.