…If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him. – Gen. 4:7 KJV
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The scripture today is part of the story of the two sons of Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel. Cain being a farmer had brought his offering in his own way of showing appreciation to the Lord just as Abel, a shepherd also did bring his own offering, also to the Lord in appreciation. The scripture states that God had respect for Abel and his offering (vs. 4) but had no respect for Cain and his offering (vs. 5). This got Cain angry with Abel and left him dejected. God being a father felt the pain of Cain but made him understand why he acted the way he did, but then, warned him of possible danger lurking around him should he not accept his action as a fair reward commensurate with the offering of each of them.
No doubt that respect for personalities and their offerings by God will attract rewards which probably Cain was expecting and did not get, while Abel was able to get it, and that may have triggered the envy that manifested as anger and dejection in him, but one can only reap according to what one sows and its measure. Cain was not going to accept this fact just as many Christians today refuse to acknowledge this about God in His dealings with men.
The text for today presents the following facts:
1. God has an expectation with regards to offerings brought to Him in appreciation.
2. As much as he may not be insisting on it, He would not be willing to accept anything short of His expectation if you decide to do it.
3. Not all offerings brought to Him in appreciation is accepted by Him.
4. A sub-standard offering to God will attract lack of respect for the individual and the offering from God, and of course, there will be severe consequences. An unaccepted offering is like no offering at all. It presents the picture of an ungrateful person and a waste of resources on the part of the individual.
5. There is a very high likelihood that no future blessings will flow into the life of such an individual again, at least from the Lord.
All these probably ran through the thoughts of Cain and accounted for His emotional state but God in his comments as stated in today’s scripture highlighted the following:
1. He gave him the report of his performance which showed that he did not do well. He could have done better. Worse still it was a reflection of his thought patterns with regards to things concerning God.
2. If he had done well, he would have been accepted as there is no limit to the number of people that can be accepted by God.
3. Since he did not do well, there is sin waiting at his door-step eagerly expecting to be invited in by him.
4. He may actually be inviting sin already if he does not caution himself.
Despite this comment from the Lord, Cain still permitted sin into his life and took the option of murder to counter the success of Abel.
It is not uncommon today to see Christians make destructive and murderous comments about fellow Christians whom it has pleased God to continue to bless because he has respect for them and their offerings. Comments that may not physically kill the brother but can destroy their reputation are made, such that, but for the Grace of God, the brother will be as good as dead. All these comments are mainly because like Cain, they cannot accept the fact that God has no respect for them or their offerings if at all they brought any.
There is no doubt that offerings of thanks to the Lord opens doors of more blessings but Christians should not assume that the Almighty God is a god that can be offered just anything and He will take it. Most people offer thanks without confirming whether God has accepted the offering, and go back expecting positive results, but end up with nothing. They have only provided food for human beings but cannot earn respect from God.
The Bible did not reveal to us why Cain or his offering was not respected but there are several reasons listed in various sections of the scriptures why an offering will not be accepted. Do not think that merely coming before him with that blemished offering (Lev. 22:20), either because of the quality of what is brought to Him or the source of the funding for the offering (Jer. 7:10-14) or the state of mind of you the person bringing the sacrifice (Matt. 5:22-24) or the personalities representing God in the acceptance of the offering (1Sam. 2: 12-36), is enough to release the gates of blessing. Jehovah God is not hungry and even if he is, he does not have to depend on you to feed – Ps. 50: 11-12. He is a quality God and will be offended if you bring offering that can trigger his anger rather than His blessings.
Most Christians who find themselves in this situation, instead of making amendments to the offering they are bringing and how they are bringing it, decide to go on the same path as Cain. Cain in his own instance refused God’s advice and he yielded to the sin of murder, a crime which as earlier said, most Christians have committed today may be not physically. Such a reaction never goes unpunished by God just as Cain did not escape either.
The Bible records that God after confronting Cain with the allegation of murder pronounced instant judgement in the form of curses on Cain as listed below:
1. His profession will never be profitable to him again as all his efforts will not be rewarded.
2. He will be regarded as a fugitive (someone who is running from justice) amongst people of the world.
3. He will be regarded as a vagabond ( A jobless person wandering from place to place) amongst people of the world – vs. 14.
4. Death will not save him from the pain and shame as God’s mark for evil was on him – vs. 15.
5. He no longer had access to the presence of the Lord – vs. 16.
What a huge contradiction when compared with his expectations when he set out to offer thanks to the Lord.
Christians need to be very careful lest their spiritual activity done with positive expectations meet with curses. You are better off being seen as an ingrate, even if it is not a good state of relationship with the Lord, or accept God’s judgement of your sacrifice thus acknowledging Him as a faithful judge that only rewards people according to their works, rather than taking steps or making comments that can be murderous on people whom God respects and whose sacrifices he equally respects.
Save yourself from all those curses as listed above as it can only destroy you in this world and in the world to come. Offer quality sacrifices and in a manner that will make them acceptable and do not arrogantly believe that God has no choice but to accept your sacrifice. The truth is that your sacrifices means nothing to Him and so you are better off pleading with Him to accept them. Do not leave his presence thinking it has been accepted just because you brought it as if it is a favour being done to him. Plead with him to accept because you are the only beneficiary of your act of offering any sacrifice made to Him.
It is my sincere prayer that we will be honest sufficiently in our dealings with the Almighty God, in relation to the sacrifices we bring to Him, so that the positive results that we expect from such acts will be our portion, in Jesus name. Amen.