AND HIS FACE FELL?
In the course of time Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground, and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell. Genesis 4:3-5
The concept of making an offering is when an inferior brings a tribute to a superior. The gift, and the way it is offered, ascribes honor. The one who brings the tribute knows his place.
If a king made a law about how he was to be approached, out of respect, shouldn’t his people follow protocol? Perhaps he receives visitors only on Tuesdays, wearing certain attire, approaching respectfully with a bow, being addressed by a certain name. Such is the case when entering the presence of Queen Elizabeth, for instance. Because she is the people’s sovereign queen, she has the authority to set protocol.
Cain and Abel had both been made aware of God and his holiness. They knew that to approach Him, they would need to make a blood sacrifice. This was Yahweh’s protocol. Abel respected God and knew his place. He brought his best, the firstborn of his flock.
Cain disrespected authority. He conveniently disregarded protocol, failed to take God’s holiness, and his own sin, seriously. He brought fruits and vegetables. When God refused his gift, Cain was angry and his face fell. He didn’t think God treated him fairly.
I think of another man, also angry, when God treated his enemies mercifully. It grated against this sinful man’s sense of justice. Jonah’s preaching to the Ninevites was blessed. Many came to trust in God but Jonah was not celebrating. God asked, “Do you have a right to be angry?” At that moment, Jonah and Cain were alike. They questioned a sovereign King’s judgment.
I have strained against some of God’s choices. I didn’t think certain people should be blessed. I also wondered why He wasn’t quicker to judge sin. My elevated opinion of myself and my distrust of the way He ruled fractured my relationship with God for a few years. I was brought low, repented, and am very grateful that I live in the age of grace. Jesus bore my punishment against His Father and today I remember my sin humbly.
The sin of self-exaltation must be reigned in constantly. The opposite of living as though I have rights to rule my life ~ is submission. I follow Jesus today who only did what His Father told Him to do. Our perfect Brother made no autonomous decisions. He obeyed without question.
When I don’t understand Your ways, anger is inappropriate. Your ways are higher than mine and I trust Your character. Amen.
For more from Christine Wyrtzen and Jaime Wyrtzen Lauze, please visit www.daughtersofpromise.org
Originally published Tuesday, 23 February 2021.