“By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and through it he being dead still speaks.”
Hebrews 11:4, NKJV
The first family experienced the first crime. Talk about sibling rivalry, it is seen here in the worst possible case. Cain killed his brother Abel; and interestingly enough, it was over a spiritual issue, that of worship. The Bible tells us that Abel offered a more excellent sacrifice; he obtained righteousness; and his testimony speaks to us today. What is the message?
Real worship is a faith response to God’s revelation. In other words, God has taken the initiative toward us that allows us to know and respond to Him in faith. Faith is trusting God and taking Him at His word. The reason that Abel’s sacrifice was accepted was that he obeyed and responded to God’s pattern of sacrifice seen in Genesis 3. Cain, on the other hand, decided to do it his own way. He devised a substitute for the sacrifice God desired and offered God the work of his hands. The primary difference between Cain and Able was that one was a man of faith and the other, a man of self-righteous work.
So often we are prone to offer God the work of our hands in worship, but what God desires is a trusting heart of obedience. What pleases God is my acceptance of the finished work of Christ on my behalf, acknowledging my own inability to please God, receiving His gracious gift of eternal life, and surrendering every part of my life to Him.
“Faith is living, daring confidence in God’s grace. It is so sure and
certain that a man could stake his life on it a thousand times.”
– Martin Luther
QUESTION: Is there any area of your life where you have tried to substitute something for the obedience God requires? Do you need to give or forgive? Do you need to love or show kindness?