Every time I read Genesis 4, the account of Cain and Abel, I wonder why God did not like Cain’s offering. The more I studied this the more confused I became, until I realized I was looking at it from the wrong angle. Usually we look at it from the offering standpoint, Abel offering the animal while Cain offering the produce, but I began to look at it from the heart of the ones giving the offering.
In Hebrews 11:4, we can see a glimpse into the kind of heart attitude Abel had. “By faith Abel offer to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous, God testifying about his gifts, and through faith, though he is dead, he still speaks.”
Able’s heart attitude was one full of faith, Cain’s, on the other hand, was one full of anger. Looking at Genesis 4:5-8, we can see God warning Cain about his anger.
“But for Cain and for his offering He had no regard. So Cain became very angry and his countenance fell. Then the Lord said to Cain, why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and it’s desire is for you, but you must master it. And Cain told Abel his brother. And it came about when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him.”
God had pointed out to Cain that his anger with his brother was getting out of hand and warned him if he did not master it something worse was going to happen. We know this anger was pointed towards Abel because of the result, in killing his brother.
In Matthew 5:23-24, Jesus shows us the same principle by saying, “If therefore you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar, and go your way; first to be reconciled to your brother and then come and present your offering.”
Just before these verses Jesus is saying, you have heard the ancients say, not to murder, but I say, don’t even be angry with your brother. And if you realize there’s anything between you and anyone else, leave your offering and be reconciled first. Because Cain killed Abel instead of reconciling with him, it is a clear indication that he was angry with him beyond the point that he was willing to control. Anger is an issue we all face, and if we don’t master it, it can lead us to actions unbecoming of a follower of Jesus.
Father, help us I pray to master anger and not let it rule over us. Thank You for the principles in Your word that help us live righteously before You! In Jesus name, amen.