August 3
‘Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.’ James 4:7
Bible reading: Genesis 4:1-7 (Go to the Bible passage)
Is it not surprising that it was Cain who was the first to bring an offering to the Lord?
Why he wanted this is not mentioned, but when Abel followed his example and they were offering together, we read that ‘the Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering He did not look with favor’.
Some beautiful etchings from the 16th century may have lead us astray. The artists depicted the acceptance and rejection of the offerings by smoke rising to the sky and smoke blowing away horizontally. That in itself would have been a miracle, but in the Bible we read that God accepts an offering by fire; just think of Gideon and of Elijah on Mount Carmel. But why did God not accept Cain’s offering?
Sometimes it is said that God could not accept the offering of Cain because he offered fruits, while Abel offered an animal. But this is not the reason. In verse 7 we read the explanation: it was not about what they offered, but how they did it. God did not answer Cain because he was not righteous in the sight of God.
To God, the offering and the bringer of the offering are the same. Cain got angry because God answered Abel with fire and rejected Cain. But It is remarkable that after God answered Abel with fire, He also answered Cain. ‘Why are you angry? (…) If you do what is right, will you not be accepted?’
Here again it is made clear to us that it really is our attitude in everything, that determines whether God can answer us with fire and power. Without these fire and power - which God grants to all whose hearts are fully committed to Him - we fall back time and again in lamenting that we have, obviously, sinned again. But when our service to God is really determined by a fully committed heart, then everything reverses in God’s honor. Then the darkness will no longer rule over us.
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