Giving an offering to God is an important part of our worship to Him. However, do you know that you can give an offering to our Heavenly Father and yet, you are still unpleasing to Him? In this post, you will know more about how we should give an offering to God by studying the story of Cain and Abel.
It was early in the morning. Abel, who has already chosen a beautiful sheep from his flock, is getting ready to make an offering to God. He approached the altar with seriousness and meekness. He placed his sacrifice on the altar.
As he was about to give his offering, his brother, Cain, came along. Another altar was placed nearby. With him are fruits and vegetables he randomly picked on his way.
At least this is how I picture the story of Cain and Abel as they offer a sacrifice to God. When we read Genesis 4, it gives us a brand new perspective of what God expects from us as we make our sacrifices to Him.
An introduction to Cain and Abel
We pick up the story Genesis 4, where we read:
Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, and said, “I have acquired a man from the Lord.” Then she bore again, this time his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.
Now, it is worth noting that Cain, the first human baby, is also going to be the first human murderer recorded in the Bible. The name Cain means “acquired,” which refers to Eve’s recognition that his son was from Yahweh.
On the other hand, Abel’s name means “vanity” or “weakness”, “vapor” or “transitoriness.” Perhaps, this refers to his untimely death and short life. Indeed, his name has become a living prophecy for him.
God rejected Cain’s sacrifice
Now, here’s where things get more interesting as we delve deeper into the story. In verse 3-5, we read:
And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the LORD. Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the LORD respected Abel and his offering, but He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell.
This shows us that even as early as the time of Abel and Cain, we could see that offering a sacrifice to God is a common form of worship. It is not a matter of whether we should give an offering or not, but how we give an offering.
It is interesting to note that the Bible does not specifically mention why Yahweh didn’t accept Cain’s sacrifice. In Leviticus 6, we see that grain offerings are acceptable to God and not just animals. However, Cain could have done better since it is within his power to provide an even better sacrifice, just like Abel who brought the best of his flock.
A deeper problem in Cain’s attitude
While the problem is partly because of the offering itself, there’s a deeper problem lurking in the heart of Cain.
Verse 5 tells us that Yahweh didn’t just respect the offering of Cain, but he didn’t respect Cain himself! Now, the proper rendition of this verse is that God didn’t look to Cain and his offering.
This made Cain not just simply angry, but VERY angry. The Hebrew word used here means burning up in anger! He was so angry to the point that his hatred led him to kill his brother.
From this story, we could find a lot of lessons when it comes to giving and making an offering to God. For the purpose of this short article, let me give three important lessons.
Sin makes your offering an abomination to God
Now, there’s a reason why Yahweh didn’t look at Cain nor at his offering. When giving our offering to our heavenly Father, there’s one important and crucial factor that we must all consider.
Proverbs 15:8 tells us:
“The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to Yahweh,
But the prayer of the upright is a His delight.”
You see brethren, if we constantly commit a sin, our sacrifice or offering to Yahweh becomes an abomination – something that I’m sure we don’t want to happen.
What makes a man wicked? Cain is a good example.
Yahweh has already told him that he has an attitude and character problem. But did that change Cain?
Instead, he went on with his life harboring hate. Instead of humbling himself, he was filled with pride. felt cheated, and thought that he justified for feeling anger toward Abel and even to the one true God.
If you have sinned, our Father will forgive you once you have repented of it. However, after repenting and you still repeat the same sin over and over again to the point you don’t feel guilty anymore, then your sacrifice can become an abomination to Yahweh.
Give your offering in faith
Now, here’s the big difference between Cain and Abel. While Cain is wicked, Abel is called, “righteous Abel” in Matthew 23:35. Since Abel is righteous, his sacrifice was not an abomination to Yahweh.
To make the sacrifice or offering of Abel, what did he further do? He offered his sacrifice by faith.
We read in Hebrews 11:4:
“By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and through it he being dead still speaks.”
By what? It says BY FAITH Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain.
Based on this scripture, Abel offered his sacrifice by faith while Cain didn’t have faith while giving his sacrifice.
What does it mean to give our offering by faith?
It means giving your offering with the strong conviction that what you give, our Father can magnify and use to further His work here on earth.
In the case of Abel, as he offered his sacrifice, he had faith that his sacrifice is a foreshadow of Christ’s future sacrifice to take away the sin of the world. He had faith to make Yahweh as the Ruler of his life and thus, will do his best to fulfill his God-given purpose.
Today, we also give our offering by faith. We give our offering because it is what God has commanded us to do. We give our offering even though we know that we barely have enough, that we barely make ends meet. We give offering both in our abundance and poverty because we have the faith that Yahweh is our Provider.
That’s faith. That’s how we are supposed to give our offering to God.
Give the best to God
Finally, the third lesson that we should learn from Cain and Abel is that we must give the best to Yahweh.
When Abel made a sacrifice to our Heavenly Father, he didn’t simply pick any sheep, but rather, he chose the best of his flock.
Today, as you give your offerings, ask yourself:
“Is this the best that I can give to Yahweh?”
I want to challenge you, brethren. Make it a point that you increase your offering on a regular basis. Perhaps, you can do this each year. If you have been giving $20, why not bring it up a notch. Next time you give, make it $30, $40, or $50.
The point I’m making is that, don’t settle with the amount of money you are comfortable giving.
Every year, God is blessing you more and more. Thus, you should also give back to God more and more. Don’t think that you don’t have enough.
The truth is, God has already blessed you with more than enough. He has already given you the things we need so we can also give back to Him and to others.
We read in II Corinthians 9:8:
“And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.”
This verse is telling us that God will supply all our needs in order for us to do every good work. If we give God the best of our offering, He will make sure that you will be provided for and taken care of.
So, don’t be afraid to give or increase your offering. God has already promised that He will take care of us.
There’s a difference between the scarcity mindset and abundance mindset. Scarcity mindset tells us, “We don’t have enough and so, I’ll just give what is extra.”
The abundance mindset tells us, “Though I may not have enough, I’ll still give to God from my substance and not just my surplus. After all, you can’t outgive God. He will surely supply all our needs.”
Make your offering acceptable to God
So, brethren, I hope we have learned vital lessons from this simple yet, profound story of making an offering to the Great and Living God.
Let us not forget to keep on overcoming our sinful ways as we give our offering. Next, have faith that what you give to God He can use to further the work. Finally, give your best offering to Yahweh.
When we do this brethren, Yahweh will look upon us and accept our offering.