22nd September 2012
Lord, Make Me Able!
“To Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.”
Hebrews 12:24 (NIV)
Cain was a typical man of the world – thinks physically and acted according to his instincts. He presented ‘a token gift of his produce’ – it was minimal or superficial (Oxford Thesaurus), measured or weighed (Hungers Bible Dictionary), which showed it was a mindless gift offering, that is, having no meaning, direction or purpose. It showed a lack of due thought or care, an act of selfishness.
We can conclude that Cain lacked trust or faith, and in his mind did not comprehend the real aspects of true worship and thanksgiving, nor did he know God. Harvest time was a time of worship, when a special offering to God was presented, acknowledging his provision and emphasizing our dependence upon him for daily existence.
Cain’s manner was one of self-sufficiency. He didn’t realise that he needed God and that God was the source of life, the provider. He was unaware of the commandment that God comes first, that we need to love him with all our heart and mind.
From the evidence, it is apparent why Cain and his offering were refused. It was because his attitude and motives weren’t right towards God and he didn’t appreciate that mindless offerings to God are not acceptable, as it warns in Ecclesiastes 5:1, “Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. Go near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools, who do not know that they do wrong.”
Cain wasn’t happy with the decision God had made, and he became angry and downcast. God gave Cain the opportunity to respond in a positive way, by addressing the matter of his attitude. He told him if he responded correctly he would be accepted. But instead he dug his heels in, he hardened his heart, and from this developed a root of bitterness which led to rebellion; a form of pride and disobedience. It is obvious he didn’t see himself in the wrong and thought he deserved to be accepted like his brother.
How do we react when someone suggests we have done something wrong or have missed an opportunity to make a positive contribution? Do we move to correct the mistake or deny error? Do we resolve to do right next time? We don’t have to be a Cain, whose characteristics and mindsets were of the flesh. He thought physically and acted accordingly.
As Christians, we shouldn’t be like Cain, for it gives a footing to sin which can shape our mind and create opposition or resistance. Second Corinthians 5:17 states, “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” Cain was of the old, the physical, but Christ of the new, the spiritual. This means if Christ is living in us a transformation is produced so great that we are a new person. We have new views, new motives, new principles, new objectives and plans for life. We seek new purposes, and live for new ends, in Christ.
We can also learn from Abel to look at the positive, embracing the chances, encouragement and opportunities we are given. So let us pray for God to make us “able”, living life to the full in His service.
Thank you, Lord, that we can have a personal and accepting relationship with you. In Jesus’ name we ask that our offering will continue to be a sweet, sweet savour.
Study by Christine Jordan