Read Genesis 4 : Cain & Abel.
Even though Adam and Eve sinned by disobeying God and thus caused the generational sinful nature in mankind to take root, we are presented with a situation that surprises many people who read the account of Genesis chapter 4. Cain and Abel, Adam and Eve’s offspring each gave an offering to God. Adam and Eve must have taught their two sons to live a covenanted life unto God, even though they still inherited the generational sinful nature from their parents.
As long as we acknowledge we are in covenant with God which Cain and Abel did by giving God an offering, then in God’s eyes we confess Him before men and we are therefore inheritors of His promises. This fact was true in the time of Cain and Abel, throughout ancient history and is true now. God is the same yesterday, today and forever more!
As Cain and Abel acknowledged that they were God’s, God expected them to also know what kind of offering He would expect and accept from them. Cain was a farmer “tiller of the ground” and he brought an offering from the land to the Lord. It was an ordinary offering. He did not give his best. This shows a lack of reverence and respect for God, so what was the result? The King James version states that God “unto Cain and to his offering he did not respect” (Gen. 4:5). This verse reminds me of the verses in Matthew 10 in the New Testament which states that Jesus will confess before his Father those who confess him before men (vs 32) and will deny before his father those who deny him before men (vs 33).
Brethren, the truth is that we get as much out of our covenant relationship with God as we put into it. This has not changed even since the days of Adam and Eve and their offspring, Cain and Abel. If I say I am one who offers my life as a living sacrifice to God but I choose to disrespect or deny God, it does not affect or change the fact that He is God nor does it prevent Him from doing His works. However I will suffer the consequences of my sins against Him which is eternal damnation unless I repent.
God chose me for salvation, therefore I should see this as a privilege and be humbled to be called His child. I should in no way expect Him to feel He is blessed to have me as His child, if I do, then I am being prideful. God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble (James 4:6). I may not be having this expectation consciously but my actions towards God speaks louder than my words. I cannot hide my motives or intentions from Him for He is God and all knowing. This is expressed in David’s counsel to his son which we should also live by:
“And Solomon, my son, learn to know the God of your ancestors intimately. Worship and serve him with your whole heart and a willing mind. For the LORD sees every heart and knows every plan and thought. If you seek him, you will find him. But if you forsake him, he will reject you forever” (1 Chron. 28:9 NLT).
In addition as Cain did, I should not take God for granted. Cain had free will and chose to exercise it by serving God, but he did not give his best. Assessing what this means we can say he was lukewarm in his approach and attitude towards God. Is God looking for lukewarm worshippers? No! He is looking for those who will be true worshippers by obeying the two greatest commandments upon which all the other eight hang (Matt. 22:36-40).
“love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.” (Luke 10:27 KJV).
The Ten Commandments enabled the people of Israel to know right from wrong. Although in Cain and Abel’s time the commandments as we know them were not in existence then, the expectation of God from them is the same as it was from Israel when God gave them the Ten Commandments. This is because anyone who says they belong to God are expected by Him to exercise their free will and moral consciousness by choosing to do what is right by Him or according to His Word.
Cain did not love God wholeheartedly hence the choice to give him an offering which reflected this fact. You only know what it is to love when you live cultivating a love relationship with God. This is true worship and from this position you learn to love yourself the way God loves you and you can therefore love others in the same way. Cain did not love God, nor himself and therefore he could not love his brother Abel.
Jesus during his ministry spoke as follows:
“23 But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. 24 For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth” (John 4:23-24 NLT).
True worshippers are people who live in the Spirit and abide by the truth of the Word of God exercising their free will by making choices to the glory of God and His Kingdom. The LORD alone can judge who is a true worshipper for He looks at the heart whereas man looks at the appearance (1 Samuel 16:7).
Cain did not anticipate the consequences of this lukewarmness and disrespect towards God this is why he was very upset and “his countenance fell” (4: 6) when God did not accept his offering. He felt God should accept his offering despite it being inferior to what God expected from him. This is because Cain had no reverence for God.
Friends, if you have reverence for Almighty God you will give Him your best in relation to your time, your finances and service. After all, God is the one who not only created you, but ensures you have provision and sustains you daily.
Some people think they can take God’s mercy for granted and get away with it, to the point that they say “I will sin in this way and repent later, after all the bible says if I confess my sins God is faithful and will forgive me”. There are some who profess to live holy lives but only to deceive men, for God knows the hidden state of a man’s heart; for instance they may be part of the worship team in church but are fornicating or committing adultery in secret.
These same people being born again and therefore covenanted children of God have chosen to live lives compromising with the world and so they do not give of themselves wholeheartedly to God. However as Cain (Gen 4:6) they get very upset and their countenance falls when God does not answer their prayers or they do not experience breakthrough in certain areas of their lives despite supposedly attempting to for years. Could it be that God has rejected their offering of false and abominable worship which rises up as stench to his nostrils rather than sweet smelling incense as true wholehearted worship does?
This aforementioned example is one of several ways believers in Jesus Christ dismiss or relegate him and God to the bottom of their list of priorities while outwardly appearing holy before men and even manage to deceive themselves that they are not doing anything wrong.
Furthermore, believers in Jesus Christ have given excuses when they disobey God or engage in sin blaming the devil or saying “I am only human” with the same lips they confess “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” or “I am more than a conqueror through him (Jesus) who loves me” so if they know they have the inner strength through Christ to overcome temptation how come they have a habit of picking and choosing when to obey God and when not to?
One might make the following excuses for Cain
- He was the offspring of Adam and therefore the adamic sin nature was raging within him as a generational iniquity so it was easier for him to disobey God than to obey Him as it was for Adam and Eve.
- He was very upset because he did not think he had done anything against God because the power of iniquity of separation from God (parental sin) was such that his natural inclination was not towards pleasing God but self and Satan.
Did God give Cain these excuses in the bible? He did not and would have if they applied. Unlike Cain, Abel, Cain’s brother from the same mother and father chose to please God by acknowledging God’s worth as being so great that He merited Abel’s best offering from his livestock. We can see that while one son of Adam (Abel) chose to do what was pleasing to God the other (Cain) chose not to even though they both have the generational iniquity of the Adamic sin nature. Why is it that the excuses one can make for Cain’s attitude towards God did not result in Abel acting in the same way as Cain did towards God?
Abel was able to make a conscious choice to give God the best of his livestock even then when one would easily have thought it would have been unlikely. Another reason one may have expected Abel to not give God his best offering in addition to the aforementioned excuses for Cain’s failure was because as Cain, he was a first generation offspring of Adam and one would think greatly prone to the serpent’s influence against God as his mother and father.
When we are God’s, He expects us to rise above the tendency to either give in to sin or make excuses for committing recurring sin because of the generational adamic sin nature or sins of our parents and ancestors as well as our own past repetitive sins. While in covenant with God, if we can make a choice to give ourselves as living sacrifices unto God as Cain and Abel demonstrated by giving Him an offering, we can also make a choice as to what level of worship we are willing to give Him while in covenant with Him; We can profess we are Christians but live as the unsaved (which is not worship at all), be in half hearted obedience, which means lukewarmness or compromise with the world (this is also not worship) or wholehearted worship because we love Him with all our hearts, minds and souls (this is true worship).
Brethren, the point I am making is that choices to be God’s children and the level of worship we give Him can be made without fearing we will fail in our walk with God because of the Adamic sin nature, ancestral generational weaknesses or our own recurring sins of the past. God is always with those who are His to protect, strengthen and warn us of impending danger, as in the case of Cain:
“7 You will be accepted if you do what is right. But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master.” (Gen 4:7 NLT)
Even though these were times well before laws and commands were given by God to people who were covenanted with Him as we know from scripture, Genesis 4:7 lays out God’s expectation of His creation who acknowledged him as their LORD as well as the consequences for not fulfilling those expectations and what they must do to overcome sin.
Man has a moral conscience and free will and therefore has the God given ability to make choices as to whether to do the right or wrong thing. What is right or wrong according to God is knowledgeable from God’s Word and directly from God by revelation or His spoken word, for instance God spoke clearly to Cain in Genesis 4:7. It is also a knowing which is supernaturally given to covenanted children of God. God therefore expected Cain and Abel to exercise their free will by choosing to give their offering to God based on what they knew to be pleasing to God and not pleasing to him. If one says they accept their covenant relationship with God, then His expectation is that one would exercise their free will by choosing morally to do what pleases God. However, God does not give up on us; He gives us a chance to repent and change our ways as well as cautions and warns us about the consequences of continuing in sinful ways.
God demonstrated to Cain that He loved him by showing mercy to him as He did many centuries later to His covenanted children of Israel and those through Jesus Christ. God showed mercy by counseling and warning Cain (Gen 4:7) when He saw how upset he was that God rejected his offering.
God did not take Cain’s free will from him as He never does, but as a loving Father, His words (Gen 4:7) were to make Cain realize that the consequences of not doing the right thing (not giving God his best, his lukewarm or half hearted worship) would lead to “sin” not just being at his “door” but entering and taking over his life. This warning came with what Cain was to do to overcome which was to “subdue it and be its master”. Sadly Cain did not heed to God’s warning and killed his brother Abel (Gen 4:8).
Brethren, it is true that as Cain & Abel, we too have generational iniquities to contend with, but as God was with Cain and Abel, so He is with us and as them, we also have what it takes to sustain a life of true worship. We are also in a better place than they were in that we have the power of God through the blood of Christ Jesus to overcome (Luke 10:18-19, Romans 8:37) Satan and his demonic powers over our bloodline. We only have to believe it, declare it and live a life abiding in Christ wholeheartedly in true worship of God as an expression of our love for Him. We also have the Holy Spirit within to convict us of sin and enable us to discern what is of God, Satan or self. This is why we must consciously live a life abiding in God through bible study/meditation, prayer and singing praises to Him.
Yes it is true that we all have generational iniquities and sins passed down, and Satan does not relent to attack us even when we accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour but we also have a God given conscience, free will and so the ability to make choices as to whether to serve God with all our hearts, minds and souls or do so grudgingly or half-heartedly. Therefore if we say we are truly born again then, our degree of victorious Christian living as worshippers of God, is determined by the choices we make and not by satan or anyone else and this is because
“By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence”(2 Peter 1:3 NLT).
You are blessed, determine to stay blessed!
©Deborah E. Nyamekye 08/01/2016
next “Manna from on High” Next week, 15th January 2016
This is a Weekly Teaching/ Devotional blog