Genesis 4:3-7 3 In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the LORD. 4 But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering, 5 but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast. 6 Then the LORD said to Cain, "Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 7 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 master it."
This story has stumped and even eluded some of the greatest theologians of our time with the one question; why did God look on Abel’s offering with favor and not Cain’s? That is a great question and I am not sure I have the answer, but I can just tell you what I see that stands out to me.
I think it’s very simple if you do not read a bunch of stuff into it.
- First, Cain brought “some of the fruit” of the soil. Not that the fruit of the soil was bad, but Cain brought just “some” of the fruit. Almost like when you donate to a clothing charity and you give them the clothes you would have sold in the garage sale, or maybe you would have thrown them away because they didn’t fit, or were out of style. This is how I read this. Cain didn’t give his best fruit; he just gave “some” of his fruit.
- Secondly, Abel brought “some of the firstborn” of his flock. I do not have time to get into the biblical significance of the firstborn, but it hints on the fact that Abel gave from the “first” of what he had rather then just “some” of what we had.
- Thirdly, had Cain just done what was right (possibly given from the “first” or “best” of his fruit his offering) he would have been accepted. Sometimes we think God asks us for too much. But when you have a proper perspective on it you realize all we have is given to us BY God and we are only stewards of it, not owners.
- Lastly, Abel’s offering was accepted. I think what you see in this story is the reality of what matters most; to be accepted by God.
Cain’s sin of not giving God his best led him to murder his very own brother. Just as God said to Cain, “But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.” Sin leads to more sin.
God help each of us to give you our best in every area of life!