We understand from Scripture that even though Adam started out well, he soon fell from grace into sin. Along with him, the whole human race was plunged into darkness. This required a change in the way God related to His creation. It was only restored through the work of Christ on the cross.
At this point in history it’s up to us to understand how God wants us to relate to Him. Then, we must attain to the walk with God that He desires. I want to talk about the heart of the matter. A good example is found in the book of Genesis. There we see two brothers, Cain and Abel.
In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock.
What we see here, are two young men who both want a relationship with God. Both wanted to worship God, and both brought an offering.
The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.
Not many people know the significance of this statement. They think that the issue was as simple as God wanting a blood sacrifice. That would be true if this were a sacrifice of atonement. It’s clear from the verse that this was a firstfruits sacrifice, more like a tithe.
The Law of Moses tells us that offerings of fruits, vegetables and grain were always acceptable to God. There was more going on in this passage. The truth is that it’s all about ministry.
God taught Adam how to cover their nakedness, and their sin, through animal sacrifice (Genesis 3:21). At this point in history God had not allowed man to eat meat yet, that only happened after the flood of Noah’s day (Genesis 9:3).
That means that the only reason for Abel to raise livestock was for clothing and sacrifice. According to Jesus, Abel was the first prophet (Luke 11:50-51).
This gives us great insight into the truth of these verses. Abel was the prophet-priest of his day. It wasn’t about the type of sacrifice, but who was offering it. For Cain to have been accepted, he would have had to go to Abel, for him to offer it on Cain’s behalf. That would have brought about the relationship with God that Cain desired.
What Cain needed to learn was that our relationship with God is on His terms, not ours. I don’t get to dictate to God how the relationship will progress or how it will be cultivated.
The above verse says that Cain was very angry and his face was downcast. How many Christians find themselves in this position? Their emotions all stirred up. There face is sad and angry. All because God is not responding as they think that He should.
I believe the answer is simple. The problem is not with God, it’s with us. We are the ones who need a greater understanding of who God is and how we are to relate to Him.
I want to take a few posts to talk about this issue – how we are to relate to God on His terms.
Question: What do you do to approach God on His terms?
© Nick Zaccardi 2016