I seem to be camped in Genesis for part of my quiet time each day. I decided to go back to the beginning and study it piece by piece. It's been a little slow going which is good sometimes. I thought I'd share a few ideas from one of my days ruminations.
Adam lay with his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain. She said, "With the help of the Lord I have brought forth a man." Later she gave birth to his brother Abel.
Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry and his face was downcast.
Then the Lord said to Cain, "Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 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."
The willingness of our offering determines our relationship. Whether it's our tithe, our time, our family or the fruit of our hands--our attitude toward it in relation to God determines the relationship we can have with Him.
(Now I'm not talking salvation, no offering earns that. It is freely given. Ephesians 2:8-9 plainly tells us, "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--not by works, so that no one can boast.") I'm not talking about an offering in order to have a relationship, I'm talking about the attitude of our offering determining the outcome of our relationship.
If I'm busy looking out for me, me, me I can't look up and see Him. If I look to Him first, He will look with favor on me. Cain brought some of what he had when he got around to it. Abel brought the best portion of the firstborn.
What really interested me the most in this passage was the back and forth between God and Cain. The unrighteous deny God His right (afterall, God provided Cain with the life, the talent and the resources, why shouldn't he say thank you with an offering?) and then get angry when He doesn't give them the same blessings the believer receives. Isn't that just the way? People want to ignore God or deny that He even exists but the second they think He did them wrong they want to get angry with Him.
Even then, God is concerned with our attitude. He faithfully instructs those who are doing wrong and warns them of the consequences of their actions. It wasn't a matter of Abel was good and God loved hime and Cain was bad and God didn't love him. God loved them both. God wanted the best from both, but more importantly FOR both. He sees where Cain is headed and He tries to redirect him.
One more interesting thing to point out before we go. Do you see how God starts off his conversation with Cain? It's with a question and not an accusation. That's what He did with Adam in Eden after he'd sinned and it was the method of choice throughout Jesus' ministry.
Maybe I ought to be utilizing it a little (or a lot) more in my conversations as a parent, a spouse and a friend.
How is your attitude for the offering? Or your reaction to God's attitude to you?