Why did God refuse Cain's offering?


Genesis 4:1 - 26

NKJV - 1 Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, and said, "I have acquired a man from the LORD. 2 Then she bore again, this time his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.

Clarify Share Report Asked November 17 2022 Mini Charles Triplett

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Data Danny Hickman Supporter Believer in The Gospel Of Jesus Christ
God refused Cain's offering because he refused Cain. The narrative makes it really plain. It tells what they brought as an offering to God. 'Cain brought an offering to the LORD of the fruit of the ground. Abel, on his part also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat portions. And the LORD had regard for Abel and for his offering; but for Cain and for his offering he had no regard. So Cain became very angry and his countenance fell' (Gen 4:4,5).

A casual observer would wonder why God is rejecting Cain and his offering. 

Readers of this narrative, five-thousand-years-plus later, after reading more of the story of creation, after reading about the shedding of blood for the remission of sin, conflate and confuse the reason Cain's offering was refused. (Did you notice how half of what the scripture says was just omitted?) The scripture says, 'Cain and his offering.' The question has the same omission. The scripture also says, 'God had regard for Abel and for his offering.'

Neither man is spoken of separately from his offering. It's clear and concise; their value is inseparable. Abel is accepted because of the nature of his spirit, so his offering is accepted. The opposite is true of Cain, so his offering is not accepted. Neither man's offering was 'unacceptable,' something in which the LORD found no value. If that was so, neither man would have been in that business. They brought to God the things with which God had blessed them. 

The five-thousand-year-later-hindsight crowd says, 'the reason Cain's offering was rejected was because no blood was shed in his offering.' Never mind that blood isn't mentioned anywhere in the story. 'Fat portions' yes, blood, no.. 

Why was Abel accepted? Forget the offering for a second.. Why was Cain not accepted? Again, forget the offering. Each man is said to be regarded or disregarded by God along with their offering. 

What did God say to Cain to let him know that he and his offering were not accepted by God? What he said to him tells us also what the issue was. He says, "Why are you angry, and why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you don't do well, sin is crouching at the door." (Gen 4:7)

God is talking about how Cain came to him in worship. He had a frown on his face; he was in a bad mood. They weren't coming to God in the spirit of confession of sin, they were giving an offering to God in thanksgiving. Nothing is said about burning anything on an altar. Blood isn't mentioned. 

God's assessment of Cain's spirituality is confirmed 2 verses later. Cain "spoke to Abel his brother," and when they were in the field Cain killed him. What did he say to Abel? 

Cain's disposition is the reason God rejected him and warned him about how sin would sneak up on him and hold him hostage. He told him that if he didn't get it together sin would be "crouching at the door." As we can see, it was. 

All of this about his offering setting God off is regrettable. His attitude, the ease at which he killed his brother is ignored, and he's thought of as being disobedient about what he was told to bring to God in worship. When God reminds him that he only accepts offerings of animals, he gets angry; so angry that he kills his brother because of it. 

That's errant bible study! This isn't about the offerings, that's not how God operates. That's like saying God only accepts prayer and praise if we recite a psalm of praise like Psalm 150 or a prayer like Jesus' in Matt 6. This is about the heart of each man. 

You're either accepted into God's presence, and your worship is received or you're rejected and so is your worship. In worship, God only wants back from you what you've been given by him. 
Nothing is said about their offerings being sin offerings which later, would require a blood sacrifice. 

There were grain offerings, peace offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings... hundreds of years later.

November 18 2022 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Tim Maas Retired Quality Assurance Specialist with the U.S. Army
Two reasons that occur to me would be that, first, regardless of how sincere Cain might have been in his actions, he was offering an item resulting from his own efforts -- reflecting an underlying attitude that he could please God or attain salvation through his works. And, second, his offering (unlike Abel's lamb) did not involve the shedding of blood -- indicating a lack of awareness on Cain's part of the gravity of sin, and the depth of the sacrifice (that is, life itself) that was necessary to atone for it.

November 17 2022 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini John Appelt
The Lord respected Abel and his offering but did not respect Cain and his offering, Genesis 4:3-5. Both of these brothers brought offerings to the LORD, the covenant name of God. It suggests they were saved and came to honor the Lord with gifts. “In the course of time” suggests they had time to think of what to offer, but the outcome differed.

Hebrews 11:4 says, Abel “offered a more excellent sacrifice than Cain.” It is frequently thought that Abel’s choice of an animal and the shedding of blood made this sacrifice better, as Adam and Eve would understand when God sacrificed an animal to make clothing for them from animal skins. But Abel’s offering was different. He specifically brought the “firstborn of his flock and of their fat,” meaning it was the best he had to offer. So, it was not necessarily the kind of offering but the quality that made the difference.

Both were good offerings, but Abel’s was better, and it was an act of faith. On the other hand, it does not say that Cain gave the best or the firstfruits of his crops, or that it was by faith.

Furthermore, God evaluated Abel and Cain along with their offerings, perhaps for their attitude and heart. God had respect for Abel, but not for Cain. 

In seeing Cain’s anger and down-cast countenance, God spoke to him, likening sin to a wild animal crouching at the door wishing to pounce on him, Genesis 4:6-7. God said Cain could rule over it. If he did what was right, he would be accepted. But sin festered in his heart, and when the opportunity came, he murdered his brother, Genesis 4:8. 

John in his first epistle, I John, encouraged believers to be in fellowship with God, and not commit sin, I John 3:6-12, but in doing so he used Cain as a negative example as one who did not love his brother. It is reasonable to conclude that Cain must have been saved to be used as an example to those believing readers. Also, Genesis 4:13-15 shows he may have been saved when he pleaded with the Lord and received mercy.

Cain illustrates one, though saved, doing something regrettable. Cain’s problem was envy, I John 3:12. His actions were spurred on by Satan, just as Peter’s were in Matthew 16:23. John’s point is that if believers are not in fellowship, they will even do the unspeakable. Cain did not yield to God but let sin rule.

Another writer, Jude, spoke of attaining rewards through faithful living for the Lord. Again, Cain was used an example. Jude 1:11 says false teachers “have gone in the way of Cain.” The way of Cain was the path of envy, hatred, murder, and departure from God. 

God refused Cain’s offering and Cain, because Cain did not take worship seriously to offer the best of what he had. It is not known if Cain ever got right with the Lord.

October 13 2023 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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