An offering unto the Lord Gen. 4:3-5

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1 An offering unto the Lord Gen. 4:3-5 I used to wonder why God would not accept Cain s offering. Cain was the elder son, - the first male child ever to be born. He was a tiller of the ground. His younger brother Abel was a shepherd, - a keeper of sheep. They were both busy in their own particular chosen fields and they brought before God their own particular offerings. Why was it that God would not receive Cain s offering? The Bible tells us, v.4 And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering: 5 But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. Why did God make such a difference between these two young sons of Adam? Was God being fair? It s plain to see that both these young men were involved in an act of worship; at the most basic level, what constitutes worship? What does this passage teach us regarding worship? Worship, of course, is central throughout the whole of Scripture. The catechism tells us too, Man s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him, - worship Him, - forever. Therefore, it is important to arrive at a correct understanding of what worship is. What kind of worship do we offer up unto the Lord? Let s consider these two men and answer that question at a most basic, - yet important, - level. TWO DIFFERENT TYPES OF MEN Cain was the eldest and the first baby to be born. His mother and father would have marvelled at his birth. When our children were born we oogled over them, and thought they were so fantastic, but think! When Cain was born it was the first time this had ever happened. It was a miracle, he was a gift from God. It was a new experience altogether for Adam and Eve, for you will know that they never started life as Cain did. Cain was born, they were created. Cain had a mother and a father; Adam and Eve had a Father. The brother Abel came along, and I wonder did the first parents have favourites? the way Isaac and Rebekah had their favourites (Esau and Jacob).

2 D.G. 2 Adam was told, 3:17 Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; 18 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; And Cain followed in those footsteps, - he was a tiller of the ground. Abel was a keeper of sheep, and I wonder if that tells us something of his personality. In 2:19 there is the beautiful picture of all the animals coming before Adam in order for them to be named. Could it be said that Abel had a relationship with God s creation that Cain didn t have? I wonder if that is hinted at when the Holy Spirit uses the important word And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.? From the outset Cain and Abel seem to be brothers in name only. I wonder what kind of an upbringing these two boys had for them to have turned out the way they did. Obviously mum and dad taught them about God and the requirement to offer Him worship in the form of sacrifice. TWO DIFFERENT TYPES OF OFFERING it came to pass, (v.3) the first in the Bible, - that they brought their individual offerings before God. Cain tilled the ground, and he considered it appropriate that he brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD. Abel was a shepherd, and he considered it appropriate that he brought of the firstlings of his flock. Two very different types of offering. Why was one acceptable and one not? Notice the calibre of the offering: Abel brought of the firstlings of his flock, Cain brought of the fruit of the ground. It seems to come across that the same care was not put into both offerings. Abel looked for the best that he could afford. Abel s offering was the firstlings of his flock, - his worship cost him something!

3 D.G. 3 Look at Cain on the other hand, the Bible tells us simply, Cain brought of the fruit of the ground. No mention even of firstfruits, - just anything that was lying around. They both came before God, and they both brought God offerings, - one brought their best, another was satisfied with less than their best. You see, there was nothing wrong with bringing the fruit of the ground for we read in Leviticus 2 of how the children of Israel brought the grain offering. This was an offering from the harvest of the land and it was the only type that required no bloodshed. This offering was entirely acceptable before God, and showed gratitude for His goodness of provision in the field. If Cain had brought of his firstfruits before God, then his offering would have been acceptable. I believe that to be so, because look at how God sought Cain out and spoke with him (vv.6,7) On the other hand, look at Abel s sacrifice. He brought one of his best and one of his youngest from the flock. Nothing was too good for God. He recognised the blessings that God had afforded him, and he was bringing back that which was due. And even look at the picture here, - he offered up the lamb on the altar as an act of worship before God. An animal had been killed in 3:21 to clothe his naked parents, In 4:4 an animal once again had been killed but this time to cover the sin of the one who sacrificed it on the altar. They both came to the altar, but what a difference in their worship! What a difference to their attitudes to worship! What a difference in how they came to worship God who had given them everything they owned. Abel gave his best, Cain merely gave! How much do you give to God in worship? When you come out to church, have you prepared yourself for worship? How is it that you do worship? I hear people talk about worship services, and what they mean is that they sing worship songs and create an atmosphere of what they consider worship to be.

4 D.G. 4 I have it on good authority that what we are doing this evening is not real worship, - we invited others to meet with us for a worship service on our Saturday evening Centenary Service but all but one of them declined because they didn t consider what we were doing a worship service. Here was a worship service when Abel stood before the altar with the firstlings of his flock, and offered up the very best he had unto God, - that s worship. Cain worshipped with that which was acceptable to him, but it was unacceptable to God. Abel had made the preparation that brought satisfaction to the heart of God, for the Bible says, the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering. Two different types of men, two different types of offerings, TWO DIFFERENT TYPES OF APPRAISAL You can be very sure that if a form of worship is acceptable to the world, it is unacceptable to God, - that s something you can be sure about! It is not right to change our worship to suit the world, or to change our worship to appeal to the world in order to bring them into our services, - that s not how it works! Our worship is for God. It has got to be meaningful, - when we are worshipping God in the proper way it is as a means of blessing and encouragement to those who offer up the worship. Cain thought to himself, Now I m expected to go here to the altar and bring with me something to offer up. I ve done it for years, I ve never really got anything out of it, I ll pick up something on my way there! On the other hand, Abel chose the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof in order to present to God, which would you have been pleased with? What about the person who comes to church on a Sunday morning grudgingly or habitually, what is the measure of their offering? What about the person who comes to church out of habit, or somewhere to go on a Sunday evening, what is the calibre of their worship?

5 D.G. 5 While we are all here together, it nonetheless is a very personal question. How is it that you worship God? Are you enjoying Him? Week by week is He more precious to you than ever He has been, and are you learning more about Him? Do you enjoy worshipping God? God looked at the two offerings of worship these two men brought and He accepted that which one of them brought but rejected the poor excuse for worship that the other offered. CONCLUSION. He was a cheeky lad, Cain. Look at how he spoke to God (v.9). I would have clipped him round the ear! He murdered the only brother he had. And he became the first tramp (v.12). He went further and further away from the presence of God, His parents were expelled from the Garden out of the east (3:24), and Cain went even further into the east (4:16). From Cain, - this man who thought any worship would do God, - came polygamy (v.19) Abel died. God was good, He gave Eve another son, Seth. Seth took over where Abel left off. From the lineage of Seth came Noah and Abraham and David, and the Lord Jesus Christ. God is very sure regarding how He desires to be worshipped. The Old Testament children of Israel had their own ideas, but God put them right! That s why He was so meticulous when He taught them how to worship in the Tabernacle and in the temple, The psalmist David sang unto God, Ps. 5:7 But as for me, I will come into thy house in the multitude of thy mercy: and in thy fear will I worship toward thy holy temple. Ps. 29: 2 Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness. Ps. 95: 6 O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker. 9 O worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness I trust we put everything into our worship of God, and how we worship Him is acceptable.

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