This weekend my personal devotion took me to the story of Cain and Abel. If you are not familiar with it, I will give you the quick version of the story. If you want to read the whole thing you can find the full story in Genesis 4:1-16. (Disclaimer: This REALLY is the short version, so if you are interested or have time read the full thing!)
Cain and Abel are brothers. Cain and Abel both bring offerings to God. God does not accept Cain’s offering but accepts Abel’s offering. Cain gets really mad and jealous and kills his brother. God confronts him about it. Cain utters the famous line “Am I my brother’s keeper?” God punishes Cain for killing his brother.
I have heard this story many times; it is frequently used in sermons and I even had one those Bible story tapes that depicted the story of Cain and Abel with music, color, and animation. Although I was familiar with the story, this weekend it touched and blessed me in a way that I wanted to share with you all.
Now, the Bible does not say specifically why God did not accept Cain’s sacrifice, but we can infer from what they brought to God (Cain brought some of the plants he had planted, and Abel brought the firstborn of his flock) that Cain did not bring God his best. Maybe he just put together his offering at the last minute, maybe it did not come from the heart, maybe be brought something he would not miss, or maybe he put absolutely no thought into it. Whatever, it was God did not accept it, God was not pleased, and he let Cain know!
Cain’s sacrifice got me thinking about the offerings I bring to God( not just the offering I place into offering plate at church). It got me thinking about the offerings I bring to him on a daily basis, my worship, my devotion, my time, my service, etc. Overall, they story just got me thinking about my discipline when it comes to my relationship with God, and the effort I put into things that are a direct service to God.
Are my sacrifices/offerings always acceptable to God?
Do I put forth enough effort?
Am I giving my best?
Truth be told, I don’t always give God my best. I don’t always give him my best effort, energy, or time. God not accepting Cain’s sacrifice reminds me that God simply just, EXPECTS and DESERVES the best. We all bring God offerings on a daily basis and it is our duty to ensure that what we bring God and what we do for God is our best. I urge you my friends to think and pray about what it is you bring to God. Strive to make it your best!
My FAVORITE part of the story is what happens at the end!!
After God dishes out his punishment to Cain, Cain gets all upset and starts to complain. He tells God that the punishment is too hard, not fair, etc, etc, etc (really Cain?!?!). God being the compassionate God he is puts a special protection over Cain (EVEN though he brought a bad offering AND on top of that killed his brother). God alleviates some of Cain’s anxiety about being a "wanderer on the earth" by telling Cain that no one would kill him and if someone did kill him they would be punished “sevenfold” (that’s mercy in a nutshell, if you ask me!).
I am happy I serve a God that even when I don’t bring my best, even when my actions are not acceptable in his sight, and even when I blatantly do wrong; he STILL WILL protect, love, bless, forgive, and comfort me. I don’t know about you, but that makes me what to bring him my best and get to know him EVEN more!
Have a GREAT week my Friends!
“Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer” Psalms 19:14