First Family | part two . . . The Offerings||

Posted on November 7, 2008 by

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The next Chapter in our study on worship throughought the bible is to look at the children of the first family. After “the fall” and the exile from the garden.

Side note – Man’s exile from the garden is another example of God’s supreme love for mankind. When defiant rebellion entered into the relation between mankind and God that relationship was broken. God could not stand the presence of this sin and removed Adam and Eve from the Garden where they walked freely in His presence. God’s plan for redeeming mankind and bring restoration to this relationship was already prophesied, Gen. chapter

“And I will put enmity R81

Between you and the woman,

And between your seed and her seed;

He R82 shall bruise F63 you on the head,

And you shall bruise him on the heel.”

God’s prescription for Christ’s victory over Satan, sin and death was put forth before the exile. But within the Garden stood a tree that would condemn Adam and Eve to an endless broken life separated from that redemption, the tree of life. So God removed this chance by exiling mankind from the garden and guarding the tree of life from us. (see Gen. 3:22-24) God loved enough to preserve the chance for redemption.

Back on topic

Now being outside of the free presence of God worship took on a new look, Sacrifice. How this came to be is not really shown. All we see is that in the next account Adam and Eve have children and they offer sacrifices of their work to God. It seems that this idea might have been a natural conclusion from each man, there isn’t a direct command from God to make sacrifices to Him.  (david chadwell) So we must look at the account that describes the happenings of the new form of worship.

Gen. 4

3 So it came about in F71 the course of time that Cain brought an offering to the LORD of the fruit of the ground. 4 Abel, R98 on his part also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions. And the R99 LORD had regard for Abel and for his offering; 5 but for R100 Cain and for his offering He had no regard. So Cain R101 became very angry and his countenance fell.

In the Adam Clark Commentary he gives the opinion of a scholar that says that the phrase “on his part also brought” describes that Abel brought a sin offering, while Cain only brought a gratitude offering to show that he was thankful for God’s part in his cultivation of the earth. This is an interesting perspective that Abel recognized his sinfulness and was making atonement for it. While Cain didn’t recognize his sinfulness and was merely standing in God’s general grace in provision and not His special grace for sin.

Looking at Cain’s worship we can see how not to worship but looking at Abel’s worship we can see how, in principle, we are to worship.

Let’s start with Cain, since this is the point most people get from the story, and see how he failed to offer a sacrifice that was pleasing to God.

Cain | the first born

Cain was a tiller of the ground and later became a cultivator of culture, he was by no means lazy or idle. His work was to till the ground after God had cursed it, and it seems that God blessed his work, we can see that from the curse that God placed on Cain after the murder of Abel.

“When R110 you cultivate the ground, it will no longer yield its strength to you; you R111 will be a vagrant and a wanderer on the earth.”

From this I believe that we can see that the ground did yield its strength to him. He worked hard and the ground responded in kind.

He brought an offering to God that he thought would be worthy of God’s acceptance. Where did he go wrong?

It was his heart and motivations. We can see this from the way that Cain responds to God’s correction.

5 but for R100 Cain and for his offering He had no regard. So Cain R101 became very angry and his countenance fell. 6 Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why R102 are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? 7 “If R103 you do well, will F72 not your countenance be lifted up? And R104 if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but R105 you must master it. 8 Cain told F73 Abel his brother. And it came about when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed R106 him. 9 Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where R107 is Abel your brother?” And he said, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?” 10 He said, “What have you done? The R108 voice of your brother’s blood is crying to Me from the ground. 11 “Now you R109 are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand.”

Cain’s responses were to be angry, but even in this he did not sin and the LORD warned him that he was dangerously close to it. Then after he killed his brother he denied it and to even became defiant. And after his curse was declared his only thought was himself, not on repentance and redemption but selfcenteredness and selfpity.

Cains folly was that his heart was selfish and his offering was selfserving and not a humble worship of God.

Abel | the second son

It is interesting to me how often God honors the second born and those that would otherwise be without a birthright and honor. Look at Jacob and Esau, Joseph, David. All the younger siblings and all brought to honor by God’s hand.

Anyway

Abel was a keeper of flocks, a shepherd as it were. When Abel brought forth his offering to God he brought the firstborn of his flocks and the fattest. No such description was given of Cain’s offering. He trusted that God would provide for his work eventhough he was giving up the prime portion of his work. It’s a bit harder to get much from Abel’s account since his response is not recorded. But there is one interesting thing that is mention about him after the sacrifices

8 Cain told F73 Abel his brother. And it came about when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed R106 him.”

Cain told his brother… He told him God’s warning to him about his sacrifice and doing well and the sin crouching for him. The next thing they are in the field together. Abel is a keeper of the flock, what is he doing in the field with Cain?

This is speculation but I would say that Cain brought his brother to help him work in a way that he could offer a right sacrifice to God. But Cain’s selfishness and pride could not stand to be instructed by his little brother, so he was overwhelmed with anger and killed Abel.

Abel’s response was one of humility to work with his brother to help bring him to a right relationship with God. It was an offer of self sacrifice to neglect his work to help his brother.

from this we can see that Abel’s worship was

Humble in that he acknowldged his sin, trusting in that he offered the first fruits of his work and the fat of his work, and one of a servant in that he worked with his brother to help him be in right relationship with God.

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Posted in: Theology