12 December, 2014

The Unacceptable Offering

"And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of 
the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD. And Abel, he also 
brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And 
the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering: but unto Cain 
and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and 
his countenance fell" (Gen. 4:3-5).

What was it regarding Cain's offering that made it unacceptable before 
God? The preference for Abel's offering and the rejection of Cain's 
was not arbitrary, but based upon past revelation given to Adam and 
his family. Evidently, God revealed this information to Adam when 
He killed animals to make coverings for Adam and his wife (Gen. 3:21). 
Generations later, Noah knew that God would only accept clean animals 
and birds as burnt offerings to the Lord (Gen. 8:20). Cain, unlike 
his brother Abel, decided, apart from God's Word, that an offering 
of the fruit of the ground would be acceptable before the Lord. But 
God rejected Cain's offering, because it was a creation of his mind. 
God did not command it; therefore, even if Cain was sincere in his 
desire to please God, God still would have rejected his offering.

God expects faith and obedience to His Word. If God's people can worship 
the Lord according to their own will, as long as the man-made ordinances 
are not expressly forbidden, then could not Cain, Noah or the Levites 
offer God a fruit salad or a bucket of turnips, for it is nowhere 
forbidden? And if God wanted a strict regulation of His worship apart 
from the regulative principle, would it not require hundreds (or perhaps 
thousands) of volumes telling us what is forbidden? But God, in His 
infinite wisdom, says, "What thing soever I command you, observe 
to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it" (Deut. 

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