By: Undre Griggs, Jr.
Cain, like so many of us, wants God to be pleased with the work he is doing. Also like so many of us, Cain was trying to do things according to his own preferences, instead of obeying God’s will.
Genesis 4:3-5 (NIV): 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.
We find from the account in Hebrews 11 that Abel’s faith was the reason his offering was better than Cain’s. Abel provided God the “firstborn of his flocks”, while Cain offering God “some of the fruits”.
Hebrews 11:4 (NIV): 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.
While it is not explicitly stated, it would seem God believed Cain understood what was expected of him. Like any parent, God is not pleased when His children do not obey His directions; even if they complete the task. If we want our children to buy a loaf of bread, they cannot take it upon themselves to purchase a pack of cheese with the change. As Christians, we cannot add or ignore the guidelines found in the Bible and expect God to be pleased with us. We have an understanding that obedience to God is how we show Him that we love Him.
John 14:23 (ESV): Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.
If we ignore His words and fail to meet His expectations, God wants us to know He is not pleased with us. Jehovah is a just and fair God, and as such, He will reward us if we do right and walk the path of righteousness. If we do wrong, like Cain, we open ourselves up to sin and that can lead us down the path of destruction. Stay strong, show your love to God through obedience, and do not lean on your own understanding.
Genesis 4:6-7 (NIV): Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”