Cain looked at his brother with contempt. Abel’s bloody hands were raised in worship.
Cain lifted a melon over his head. “This is from my field. I till the soil. It’s all I have. Why isn’t it enough?”
God’s voice was clear. “He gave the first and best to me.”
The melon was hurled to the ground. Juice and seeds stuck to Cain’s shins and feet as he sulked to the edge of his garden.
God’s voice returned. “You have a choice to make, Cain. You can stew in your depression and remain bitter. If you do sin will control you. You can still master it before it wins. Or, you can choose to make a better offering that pleases Me. It’s not too late, My child.”
Cain stared at his crops. The biggest and best were reserved for the seeds within. It made no sense to relinquish those for a tribute. The smell of blood and animals filled his nose.
Abel’s voice made Cain clench his fists. “Isn’t God awesome? He’s given each of us a gift to fulfill His plans. Life is working out so remarkably well.”
Cain bent down and grabbed the flat stone he used to turn the soil with both hands. Before Abel could say anything else Cain spun around and slammed the stone against the side of his brother’s head.
Abel’s body flopped to the ground. His scalp was laid open exposing the broken skull. No breath escaped his mouth.
Cain stared for a moment. “Now we’ll see whose offering gets accepted.”
Cain used the stone tool to dig a hole next to Abel’s body. He rolled his brother into the shallow grave and covered him up.
He plucked the seeds off his shins and stuck them in the loose soil. “Those should make an acceptable offering next time.”
Memories of Abel followed Cain as he walked away from the scene. He was at the river’s edge when God’s voice found Him.
“Where is Abel?”
“How should I know? Am I my brother’s keeper. He’s the herdsman, not me.”
“What did you do that your brother’s blood is crying out to me from the ground? This ground that used to produce for you shall refuse to give you crops. You shall wander for the rest of your life.”
Cain fell to his knees. “This pronouncement is too much for me. Anyone who finds me will kill me to avenge Abel’s death.”
A sudden warmth moved across Cain’s forehead and into his hairline. He looked at his reflection in the water. A dark line that matched Abel’s wound was clearly visible.
God’s voice came one last time. “Anyone who kills you shall be cursed sevenfold.”
Cain waded across the river into his future.
This conversation with God is recorded from the second generation of people.
God gave a warning to Adam’s son. Then, consequences for not heeding that warning.
What was it about Cain’s offering that God didn’t accept while He accepted Abel’s? Some people insist that it’s the lack of blood in Cain’s offering. While that’s an important aspect of what God desired in sacrifices He laid out to later generations I don’t think that’s what’s missing here.
God knew Cain’s strength was in farming the land. So He would expect crops to be given. Abel raised animals so that’s where his offering would come from. The difference was in the heart of each worshiper.
Abel gave God the firstborn and fattest animals. Cain apparently held back from God so he had the best for himself.
The amount and substance of worship is evidenced in the quality of the offering.
Don’t limit your definition of worship to a few minutes spent in church while singing. You’re worshiping God when you’re at work during the week just as much as you do at 9:13 AM on Sunday, or whenever you attend formal services.
God adores your time spent playing with your kids just as much as your focused time with His saints in a sanctuary.
Keep this in mind the next time you have a disagreement with someone that raises your blood pressure.
God loved Cain enough to warn him of impending danger with his dealing with sin. Cain held onto his pride and paid the cost for that indiscretion.
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I’m so glad I live on the grace side of the cross. The first people had such a challenging existence compared to us. Not that ours is easy.
Sin had been passed down from the first parents. It’s been repeating that sequence ever sense. This episode displays that too well.
Jesus Christ is the only person to live without giving into this pull to disobey God. That’s what makes His death so important to us.
The curse of death because of sin wasn’t required of Him for Himself. No, He died as our substitute so we wouldn’t have to endure the separation from God that others endure.
The Bible is filled with stories of how many people failed to live up to God’s standards, all of them did. That’s why Jesus stepped into our skin and saved us.
For those of you wishing God spoke directly to us like He did to Cain I have a warning and a consolation for you.
Cain showed that this direct link to God wasn’t enough to save him from disastrous actions and consequences.
God has a better way for us to hear from Him. The Bible is God’s principal means of communicating to us. Read it to learn more about Him and His expectations.
The Holy Spirit living in us guides us in understanding the Bible and worshiping God with our souls every moment we’re alive.
God’s grace has been extended to us because of our utter inherent failure we’re born with.
Our adoption into God’s spiritual family is the marvelous gift He offers us because our offerings always come up short of His perfection.
Now you know why I say I’m glad I live on the grace side of the cross.
I’ll see you later. Wade