I noticed something recently.
In my writing I have stated in the past that I am unconcerned and uninterested with the details of why God accepted Abel’s offering in Genesis and rejected Cain’s. I just take it as fact and move on to, what for me at least, is the more interesting question; Why was Cain unable to accept and learn from God’s rebuke and instead chose to kill his brother? I talk about it in a bit more depth in my book, “Meekonomics; Kingdom Economics from a Love Based Mentality” but upon further analysis and meditation I think I may have discovered the underlying cause of God’s displeasure.
Take a look at the passage in question;
Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. 3 In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. 4 And Abel also brought an offering—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. [Genesis 4:2-5, emphasis mine]
Cain brought some of his crops, the passage doesn’t tell us how much and Abel brought fat portions of the firstborn. In other words, we don’t know really what Cain brought but we know for certain that Abel brought his offering to God first, before he took any for himself and it was the very best of the best. “Fat portions” could mean large amounts or the best selection, I think The Message paraphrase gets at the meaning of both options when they translate Abel’s offering as “large portions of the choice cuts of meat”.
Here’s the point. God never asked for a sacrifice. Nowhere in this passage does it say that God demanded a sacrifice of Cain and Abel. It was a gift straight from the heart of both men. But if you’re going to give a gift to someone, especially God, why wouldn’t you give your best? Cain hedged his bets and only gave God some of what he had. This shows that in Cain’s heart of hearts he didn’t really trust God. Abel on the other hand gave God the best of everything without knowing if his flocks would bear any more offspring. Abel’s gift was an act of pure faith, Cain’s was an act of obligation, “what’s the least I can do and still feel good about myself?”
In that light, regardless of the contents of the gift, which gift would you want to receive?
Have you ever given God “the least you could do?”