When it was time for the harvest, Cain presented some of his crops as a gift to the Lord. Genesis 4:2
When is the right time? We begin our discussion. Though there is no mention in the first 3 chapters from God as to when or if His creations were to bring an offering, we find in Chapter 4 the sons of Adam and Even bringing back to God some of what they had.
The scripture says, in one translation, "At the Designated Time" The right time to give is when you have received. Thus when it was harvest time Cain brought to God an offering. As so should we. When the fruit of the labor touches our hands, we should feel compelled to honor the one who created the process, gave the wisdom to plant, the strength to work and the favor to harvest.
Why Should You Give to God?
Even before they had experienced a famine, they understood the seeds born and animals created were the extension of a source; the same source that had created them; thus they offered back a portion of what was given to them to eat and later to prosper. The scripture continues to call the offering a "gift to the Lord." The wanted to show appreciation to the LORD, their God, who though putting them out of Eden, placed them in a place where they could still have their needs met. This was mercy! This was grace! This was love! Love shown by giving of Himself first, leaving the receiver only once choice but to give back. It's the ultimate way of acknowledging that life was not only obtained from the source, but daily sustenance to continue on earth. Without food, man's body would waste away. He needed the nutrients to live, which would ultimately serve as a principle highlighted in the Christ, and the leaving behind of Himself in The Word for all those who believe.
Even though Cain was right in bringing a gift, we see a key word that describes his offering, which he would learn reflect his heart. The Word says "he presented some". In other words, his offering was either random in selection, or possible a portion that was not the best. Either we find with the LORD is unacceptable. Cain gave to GOD a portion of his wealth that was not the best of what he had to offer. The word "some" lets us know that he kept the best portion for himself and for his family, and gave not necessarily the worst, but a portion that was not reflective of the love and appreciation that God deserved.
What does God deserve?
Abel also brought a gift- the best of the firstborn lambs from his flock. Genesis 4:4 Able like Cain brought an offering, but in addition to his trade being different, he brought a gift described as "the best" and "the firstborn." There are many things that make Abels' offering special to the Lord, that should serve as instructional to us. He brought God his best. This shows us that his offering was thoughtful. Thoughtful in the sense that he looked over what he had and determined that He would give God the best part of what his labor had created. Though he worked hard, had protected the Lambs, had defended the sheep. Had fed the sheep, he understood that God's provision was used to feed the sheep, it was his strength that allowed him to find off the wolves, his water that allowed the sheep to quench their thirst, thus it was only right to give God his very best.
The Lord accepted Abel and his gift, but he did not accept Cain and his gift. This made Cain very angry, and he looked dejected. Genesis 4:4-5 One of the worst feelings experienced on earth is that of rejection. We find Cain being rejected. Not only is he rejected, but he is rejected by his Creator. It wasn't just the gift that was rejected, the Word says Cain was rejected too. How hard this must have been for Cain, whom didn't know he had a heart condition or even a standard to meet when it came to giving. Cain knew that he should give something, but didn't look in-depth into the gift or consider more the one the gift was for. Cain thought his gift was enough. It showed that he considered the LORD. It should that he would not consume all the fruit of his labor. It honored the one that gave him the seed and the ability to earn.
Cain thought it was his right to determined what he gave and he was right. What he didn't know was that his gift could not be received. He was crushed, and in the midst of rejection saw his brother praised for his offering. Correction to the above statement, one of the worst feelings experienced on earth is the of rejection and having to watch another being accepted.
Why are you so angry?" the LORD asked Cain. "Why do you look so dejected? You will be accepted if you do what is right. but if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Genesis 4:6
God could sense that Cain was filled with anger. It was written clearly on his face. His rejection from the LORD is only a moment, but it feels eternal. He says my feelings towards you are a reflection are not permanent feelings, merely based upon this exact moment. Though rejected, Cain was not destroyed or removed from the presence of God. He would still have another time to please the Lord. Just as the LORD's heart was broken by Cains gift, so too the rejection broke Cains heart. All Cain had to do was right. God didn't demand an apology, or even two gifts the next time an offering was due. He merely instructed him to correct himself the next time and to be more thoughtful in what he gave. And so do you! We think the greatest hurt reflective of our offering is that our churches face lack, but the greatest hurt is the lack of relationship had by those who continue Cain-like behavior.
It it possible that you could be obedient even by tithing and giving an offering, but that God turn His nose up because of your heart. Our heart are a reflection of our relationship with the Lord, and thus it not being touched or sensitive shows forth when we have to make a sacrificial statement of our love for Him. Maybe if we changed our annual statement to read, "Yearly Relationship Report" or "Spiritual Intimacy Investment Report" it would open each eye to the relationship their financial contribution have to their relationship with the Lord? We often experience dry worship because the relationship level of those in worship is low because the relationship they have with the Lord is not intimate but acquaintance in nature. Our offering should be thoughtful, in that one measures and considers what is due and deserved long before one enters the house of the LORD.
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