The Heart Of The Matter

Have you ever been in a situation where you are serving your husband, child, parent, or friend and even though you really desire to be loving them this way, you find your mind wandering to thoughts about wanting to be doing something else right then, or wishing someone else would be doing the task? Do you find yourself grumbling and complaining in your heart as you are serving? Have you grudgingly put in the tithe check at church or felt the Holy Spirit prod you to give in a way you weren’t expecting or didn’t feel you could afford? You obey but your heart is feeling resentful. I have been there and I believe this is where Cain was too.

 Adam made love to 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. 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,  but on Cain and his offering, he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast. Genesis 4:1-5 (NIV).

Here we see Adam and Eve gave birth to two children. Their names were Cain and Abel. Cain was a tiller of the ground and Abel a keeper of the flocks. We are not told what is was about the offering that displeased God. However, I am intrigued by the wording here. It said, “in the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord.” This says to me bringing the offering to God was not a priority. It would say to me that he didn’t really want to do this or was doing it grudgingly. Whenever I do something I don’t want to do but I have to do, I take my time.

When it talks about Abel, it says, “Abel also brought an offering-fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock.” If he is bringing the fat portions from the firstborn it sounds like he was bringing his best. It sounds like he was bringing God an offering from the first of his flock. I see that Abel was eager to bring God his offering. It does not sound as though he waited or took his time.

As I studied deeper and searched the cross-reference scriptures, they revealed more truth.

By faith, Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith, he was commended as righteous, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead. Hebrews 11:4 (NIV)

By faith, what does that mean?

I looked up the word faith in the Zondervan Illustrated Bible Dictionary on Bible Gateway. It said it meant, “to believe, trust.” It continued to expand on the definition and I really liked what it said as I read on. “It would be true to say that the OT demands faith more than it develops an explicit doctrine of faith. It looks for, and finds in its great individuals, a true commitment of self to God, an unwavering trust in His promises, and a persistent fidelity and obedience.”

We don’t know what made Abel’s offering better. Knowing God the way I do, I would highly believe He had given them clear expectations on what their offerings should look like but I will stick to what I know. I know the heart that Abel gave his offering to God with was different than the heart that Cain came with.

“Has the Lord as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
As in obeying the voice of the Lord?
Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,
And to heed than the fat of rams. 1 Samuel 15:22 (NASB)

[bctt tweet=”Obedience is better than sacrifice.” username=””]

How many times do we go,  “serve the Lord” with a heart that rots of resentment and bitterness? Sometimes I believe it is our own selfishness but other times I believe we do things because we feel we need to do things to serve the Lord but we don’t take the time to ask Him how He wants us serving. We don’t ask Him what He wants us doing and what we need to leave for someone else to do because He is calling them to obey Him in that place or that area.

I don’t know about you but I want God to look on me with favor. I want Him to be pleased with my offerings to Him. I want to obey with a right attitude. This time of study has been sweet for me but it has also been very convicting. I have spent an incredible amount of time in repentance and prayer. I encourage you to get before God. Stop doing for awhile and just be. Listen to where He wants you to go and what He wants you to do. Stop doing because you think it is what you should do or because if you don’t, someone might be bothered with you.

Seek God, know God, and out of that will bring a deep trust in God. A trust that you can have with no one else on this earth. A trust that knows His promises are true. A trust that knows He has our best in mind, no matter what He is asking us to do or give in that moment. Let’s do this together today!!