Cain & Abel • Devotion #2: Abel’s Sacrifice
Debbie Kerr | Office Administrator
When you worship God, do you ever wonder if your offering is acceptable? I fear we often enter into worship with self-serving or impure motives. In our corporate gatherings, we worship by singing, giving our tithes and offerings, praying, and listening to the Word of God. Many people enter through the doors of a church with their agenda and ideas as to what worship looks like to them. They will only sing certain songs, or listen to the message if the pastor uses the proper translation. These ideas and motives are completely self-serving. Did you know that God has specific requirements for our offerings of sacrifice and worship? Jesus said we are to worship Him in Spirit and Truth! Worship is not about us, and if we make it about us, we run the risk of our worship being rejected.
God delivered a very serious and sobering message to the people of Israel in
Amos 5:21-24 regarding acceptable worship, “I hate, I despise your feasts, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies. Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them; and the peace offerings of your fattened animals, I will not look upon them. Take away from me the noise of your songs; to the melody of your harps I will not listen. But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” Can you say, Ouch? We do not get to define acceptable worship, God does!
It is helpful to take a look at the first account of offering sacrifices to God. In Genesis chapter 4, we learn that Adam and Eve’s sons, Cain and Abel, each brought a different offering to God. Cain was a worker of the ground and Abel was a keeper of sheep. Cain’s offering consisted of “some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord.” His offering was rejected because it was based on works. In Genesis 4:4, we read, “And Abel also brought the firstborn of flock and of their fat portions.” Hebrews 11:4 reads, “By faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous. God commending him by accepting his gifts.” What do you think was the difference? The writer of Hebrews reveals, Abel brought his offering out of faith. Some theologians believe Abel’s was more acceptable because it was a blood sacrifice. Genesis chapter 4 does not reveal the reason that Abel’s offering was more acceptable but the passage in Hebrews chapter 11 simply states that it was the better sacrifice.
Because Abel’s offering was brought by faith is an insight to us that the condition of our heart is more important to God than the style of the offering. In 1 Samuel 15:22, we read, “To obey is better than sacrifice.” God is looking for pure hearts and a life that has been completely surrendered to Him. He no longer requires an animal sacrifice because the Lamb of God, Jesus, shed His blood on the cross and became the blood sacrifice as the only payment needed for our sins. Abel’s sacrifice foreshadowed the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9
“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” Romans 12:1