"The [intrinsically] good man produces what is good and honorable and moral out of the good treasure [stored] in his heart; and the [intrinsically] evil man produces what is wicked and depraved out of the evil [in his heart]; for his mouth speaks from the overflow of his heart." Luke 6:45
All glory and honor and praise and thanksgiving to God, Most High, the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.
Heavenly Father, let your words continue to flow through me, and not my own. In Jesus' sweet name. Amen!
This is something God has been putting on my heart since at least the beginning of December, but just this morning, lying in bed, half asleep, He pulled it together for me.
God is Great - All The Time!
CAIN AND ABEL
We can see God's system of obedience at work in the story of Cain and Abel.
"Woe to them! For they have gone the [defiant] way of Cain. . ." Jude 1:11
What was the "[defiant] way of Cain"? Throughout scripture, both the Old and the New Testament, we are told repeatedly that we should love our neighbor. Jesus specifically tells us to love God and love our neighbor, above all else:
37 "Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
38 This is the first and great commandment.
39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."
We are also told to "Honor the Lord with your substance, and with the firstfruits of all your increase:" Proverbs 3:9
Having read the book of Genesis at least a few times in the last few years, I still never understood why God did not respect Cain's offering, even though the words were right there the whole time.
2 ". . . And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.
3 And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord.
4 And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering:
5 But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.
6 And the Lord said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen?
7 If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lies at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.
8 And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him."
Let's look at Genesis 4:3, "And in the course of time Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground."
Cain offered the fruit of the ground. We can see Cain was not honoring God with the "firstfruits" of his increase, but he offered only the fruit of the ground, which could have been anything, most certainly not his firstfruits, or it would have been so written.
The firstfruits are to be from excess, surplus, not from the leftovers. Cain was honoring God only for what he thought he could get from it, not from his heart, in full obedience to God, loving Him with his heart, mind and soul. God knows our hearts.
On the other hand, we see that Abel offered his firstborn (firstfruits), his excess, not his leftovers, AND He gave an offering of fat, which would later, in Leviticus, be reserved as an "offering to God, especially for sin":
"But Abel brought [an offering of] the [finest] firstborn of his flock and the [b]fat portions. And the Lord had respect (regard) for Abel and for his offering;" Genesis 4:4
[b] Genesis 4:4 That is, the fat that covered the entrails of the animals. Later, in the Mosaic Law, the Israelites were forbidden to eat this fat (Lev 7:23), which was reserved as an offering to God, especially for sin (Lev 4:8, 26, 35; 9:10; 16:25).
Let's look further at the transgressions of Cain: Cain was the tiller of the ground. Abel was a shepherd, a keeper of the animals. When it came time for them to make offerings to God, Cain gave of his crops, and Abel gave of the firstfruits of his flock. God respected Abel's offering. He did not respect Cain's offering. Why?
God wants us to understand that Cain's heart was not right with God. Cain tried to convince Abel to give him an animal, or trade or barter crops for an animal, and Abel would not agree. Why would Abel not make the trade with Cain? Because Abel knew that Cain's heart was not right with God. He knew that Cain was just going through the motions, so to speak, in order to receive God's grace or favor. Abel knew that Cain did not want the animal to sacrifice for forgiveness of his sins, but only for what rewards he thought he may receive from God for the sacrifice.
Abel was righteous. He had God's Word stored in his heart, and followed His Word, so that he would not sin against God. Psalm 119:11 above.
Cain was not righteous, although he too had God's Word stored in his heart, or at least knew right from wrong, as shown in Genesis 4:7, when God says, "If you do well, shall you not be accepted? and if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. . ." So, he knew to do well, and what the consequences were. He was, however, of that "wicked one": "Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother's righteous." 1 John 3:12
Adam and Eve chose sin over the light and love God offered, the [intrinsically evil man over the intrinsically good man]. They chose our path for us initially, but we are suppose to be the Light of the World, to rise above the lusts of the flesh, and the evil of this world. God is good, and everything He created is perfect, and designed to move man toward Him, back to His glory.
So, Cain was of that 'wicked one,' and was trying to deceive God, and climb into heaven some other way than through the door: “I assure you and most solemnly say to you, he who does not enter by the door into the sheepfold, but climbs up from some other place [on the stone wall], that one is a thief and a robber." John 10:1
Basically, Cain was trying to reap the benefits of righteousness without actually sowing the proper seeds: walking with, knowing, following and being obedient to God.
We know that Cain knew the right thing to do, and chose not to do it: "If you do well, will you not be accepted? and if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. . ."
God was reminding Cain that he knew right from wrong, that he should do what he knew to be right, and thereby overcome man's tendencies towards stubbornness and evil thoughts, and, rather, be obedient to God, to accomplish God's Will, like Abel. Otherwise, sin was at the door, and he would rule over it. ". . . And unto you shall be his [sin's] desire, and you shall rule over him [sin]." Genesis 4:7
Now, in Genesis 4:8, we see that Cain talked with Abel and then slew him. "And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him."
Clearly, it seems as if that sentence is missing the crux. What prompted Cain to kill Abel? The scripture says, Cain talked with Abel his brother, and, later in the field, Cain slew him. What was their conversation? Well, Abel knew that Cain's heart was not right with God, so the "talk" they had went something like this:
Cain said, Hey, Abel, I need a flawless, unblemished, sheep for a sacrifice to the Father.
Abel (Knowing Cain's heart) replied, Okay, sure, brother. Let us go to the field and pick a sheep.
(Later in the field)
Abel (Knowing Cain's heart), Picked out the worst possible sheep he could find, and gave it to Cain, saying, Here is the perfect sheep for you!
Cain cried out, This sheep is sick and weak and blemished!
Abel (Knowing Cain's heart) replied, Yes! That is the perfect sheep for you!
Cain became enraged and killed Abel, and became the first man to shed innocent human blood.
Now, we know from scripture that Abel was "righteous," but was he completely innocent? The bible also says that King David was righteous, but he murdered Uriah so he could have his wife.
Why did King David murder Uriah? We can see in 2 Samuel 11:4-9 here that after Bathsheba told King David that she was pregnant, King David tried to get Uriah to go home, presumably so he would be with his wife, and then would believe that the child was his own. Uriah had been away from home, at war for King David, for some time, so the child his wife was carrying could not have been his own. This is a great example of how sin leads to other sin. Perhaps, King David did not want his child to be a known bastard. Clearly, what he did, he did for the child.
This shows us that God is a very forgiving God, that He knows our hearts, and He will have compassion and mercy on whom He chooses.
“I, the Lord, search and examine the mind, I test the heart . . . " Jeremiah 17:10
Back to Cain and Abel: Had Abel followed God's Word in his heart fully, he would have trusted God, and given Cain 100 flawless, unblemished, sheep when he asked for 1, and he would have still been alive to tell the story to his grandchildren. God judges on the heart. If the person receiving our gift is unworthy, God will repay each person accordingly. Luke 6:38
He knows our hearts, and he knew that Abel had honorable motives, when he denied Cain the flawless, unblemished, animal. He was doing it to prevent Cain from deceiving God. Abel failed to realize, however, that God already knew this. God knows our hearts. He judges. He repays. Vengeance is mine says the Lord. Romans 12:19
THE BLOOD SACRIFICE
If God were not so forgiving of our sins, none of us would have salvation, because we are all born flesh and blood sinners, and must be ‘born again’ in Jesus Christ. Hallelujah! Thank you, Jesus.
Hebrews 12:24 below tells us that the blood sacrifice of Jesus was merciful, better and nobler, a more gracious message, which cried out for God to forgive men because "they know not what they do," Luke 23:34, as opposed to Abel, whose blood [sacrifice] cried out to God for vengeance.
"and to Jesus, the Mediator of a new covenant [uniting God and man], and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks [of mercy], a better and nobler and more gracious message than the blood of Abel [which cried out for vengeance]." Hebrews 12:24
Cain killed Abel, because God required a blood sacrifice. Cain's heart was not right with God, so Abel would not give him a 'flawless, unblemished' animal to sacrifice. Cain, in a fit of rage, killed him as THE blood sacrifice to God. This is why God says, ". . . What have you done? The voice of your brother’s [innocent] blood is crying out to Me from the ground [for justice]." Genesis 4:10
And, also, why Jesus’ ultimate blood sacrifice is compared to Cain’s sacrifice of Abel’s blood in Hebrews 12:24 above.
God is Great - All the Time!
I pray that we all turn back to God, in full surrender, so that our hearts are right with Him. "Change your hearts, and show by the way you live that you have changed." Matthew 3:8
All glory and honor and praise and thanksgiving to our Heavenly Father, the source of all things, and the cohesive force holding all things together, and to whom we return, in Jesus Christ!
Hallelujah! Praise God! Thank you, Jesus!
Faithful and humble servant to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
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