After Adam and Eve were exiled from the Garden of Eden, Eve conceived and gave birth to Cain and Abel. When Cain and Abel grew up, Cain worked the ground and Abel kept sheep. It is obvious that God taught the first family how to approach Him after Adam and Eve sinned in the garden because of the kind of offerings (sacrifices) Cain and Abel offered to God.
Abel’s offering was from his flock. It was probably a sin offering or a peace offering since these can be female lambs (a bekorah is a female firstling) whose fatty portions are burned on the altar. The Hebrew Scriptures specifically say Cain brought a minchah or grain offering to the Lord from the produce of the land. The Bible doesn’t say much about the quality of Cain’s offering but Jasher 1:16 indicates it was from inferior fruit of the ground. By offering something inferior, Cain did not “do well.”
It is clear that God did not respect Cain’s offering. As a result, Cain got angry and his countenance fell. God told Cain that if he did well, he would be accepted. If he did not do well, sin would be at his door. This is a lesson we all must learn. Sin wants to consume and control us but we must overrule it by choosing how to properly behave.
So what should we do? The Levitical offerings have been temporarily suspended and we must now offer ourselves as living sacrifices to God (Rom. 12:1-2). Most of all, we should be very concerned about the quality of our offerings.
Sin and Trespass Offerings:
- We should seek forgiveness and be reconciled with those we have trespassed against and make restitution if possible before attempting to approach God (Matt. 5:23-24).
- We should confess our sins to the Lord so that we can be forgiven and cleansed from unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).
Whole Burnt Offering: We should not conform to the immoral ways of this world (live like the world) because we are not of this world (Rom. 12:2). Instead, we should be conformed to the law of the Lord (Ps. 148:6). By putting to death the deeds of the flesh in our lives and walking according to the Spirit, we can be clothed in righteousness (Col. 3:5).
Grain Offering: We should trust God as we endure trials and tribulations and encourage others who are experiencing trials (2 Cor. 1:4-6; 1 Peter 1:7). We should offer thanks and praise to the Lord regularly with all sincerity (1 Thess. 5:18; Heb. 13:15).
Peace Offering: We should attempt to live at peace with all men (Heb. 12:14) but that does not mean we shouldn’t call sin what it really is. We need to stand for righteousness and remain separate.
We must remember that God’s commandments are laws regarding our interaction with Him and man. How we treat others is how we treat God (Matt. 25:37-40). We should not be jealous of the gifts and talents God has given to other believers nor should we be jealous when God accepts the offerings of others but not our own. We need to find out what’s not acceptable and correct it. We should be aware that if we’re not careful, sin can creep into our lives.
Remember, if Cain had reconciled with Abel instead of fighting with him, Abel wouldn’t have died prematurely and Cain’s relationship with God could’ve been better too.
How do you approach God? Is the quality of your living sacrifice an acceptable offering to the Lord?