God Is First

We recently told the story of Cain and Abel from Genesis 4: 1-16. This is a well-known story, even among those that do not believe. So who were Cain and Abel?

Cain was the first born son of Adam and Eve. Abel was born later and is the second son. Abel was a shepherd, keeping flocks in the field, while Cain worked the soil as a farmer. Both men, brothers, worked the field, only in a different manner.

We see over the course of time Cain bring an offering of fruit from the ground. Likewise we see Abel bring the best of his flock, the firstborn and their fat portions and God accepts Abel’s and rejects Cains, which makes Cain upset.

God sees the disappointment and anger in Cain and informs him if he does well, he will be accepted, but if you do not do well, sin is crouching right outside the door and its desire is for the sinner.

This is sound wisdom from God and Cain ignores it. He kills his brother, lies about it, and is cursed. So what is the difference? Was the difference based on plant vs animals, because some think this is the primary reason God rejects Cain’s.

The problem with this thinking is it misses a key part. Cain brought some chow, but Abel brought the very best he had. They both were making a sacrifice and offering, but only Abel was truly giving the best he had. Therefore God rejects Cain’s because Cain is giving God the short end of the stick and not recognizing God as the Father and Creator. Cain treats God like an IRS agent and God informs him gently, to do well and avoid evil, because sin is right there waiting for him.

We frequently do the same thing. We place the church, the Bride of Jesus, on the back burner and make it when we can and give when we want to and it does not hurt our progression or bank account. God rejects those tithes and offerings that come from excess because it ignores God and what is his, which is everything. God wants us to recognize him as first in our lives and if we do not, he also does not recognize us, but He is willing to forgive and forget. Another thing we struggle with mightily.