Abel’s Sacrifice

3 And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD.

4 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. Gen. 4:3-4

For the first time (I think) God and I are in total agreement. Even I am amazed at the ease with how my heart meshes with God’s on this one.

The Bible says, “And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering”.

And my heart goes, “Yeah, why shouldn’t He?”

The Bible says that this man, Abel, brought an offering to God of “the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof.”

Notice the Bible does not say, “Abel offered the head and hooves and tails of his thinnest cows to the Lord.”

No. Instead, the Bible says, this man took the first-born of his flocks and offered them before the Lord. In other words, he gave to the Lord the firstfruits of his labor. He also offered to the Lord “of the fat thereof.” Just to make things super clear: the word “fat” here is referring to the fact that Abel chose the fattest parts of his animals (anyone who loves meat knows these are the juiciest), and offered these to the Lord. In other words, Abel gave to God his very best.

Can anyone tell me why God would not have respect unto such a person?

What is the significance of this scripture, anyway?

The Bible can only talk about the heart. Scripture here is trying to tell us that Abel loved the Lord with all his heart.

Now, I know that when it comes to giving there are churches which teach (and sometimes  coerce) people to bring into church the firstfruits of their produce, the tithe and many other miscellaneous offerings that they are found in the Old Testament. But the Bible does not talk about fulfilling the letter of the law. Under the New Covenant, there is only one ‘requirement’: God desires that we have a heart relationship with Him.

The reason we are so short of God’s “respect” – which translates into being short of the grace of God – is because we give Him our second best, third best, and onwards. The No.1 slot in our hearts is firmly reserved for the flesh. There are things our hearts just won’t give up even if we were burnt at the stake! Things like grudges, anger, unforgiveness, etc.

On the outside it might appear as if we are giving the Lord our all. We could be “busy” doing the Lord’s work, and we could even be in the news with our ‘powerful’ ministries. But God looks upon the heart. With God we can only be truly “busy” when we are giving Him the things of our hearts – which translates to taking up our cross and following Christ.

We can therefore conclude that Abel gave to the Lord his very best by dying to self, taking up his cross and following Christ.

Finally, let us see what God does when we give him our hearts unreservedly. I am sure that when the Bible says that God had “respect” unto Abel’s offering, it is not saying that God now started blessing Abel in material things, good health, and everything we have been taught under the charismatic gospel God gives to those who love Him. Sure, the Lord does sometimes bless us with the things of this world; but God’s Kingdom is not the New York Stock Exchange. There are times that we will lack these things.

But the Bible is a spiritual Book and when it says,

And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering”

it is talking about how God blessed Abel with the riches of His grace. It is talking about spiritual blessings – things that can only reside in a man’s heart. When we give the Lord our hearts unreservedly, He deposits His grace into our hearts. The Apostle Paul says,

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Eph. 1:3).

When the grace of God comes into our hearts, there are things that it produces in our lives. Things like “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance” (Gal. 5:22-23).

Loving the Lord was the No. 1 lesson that God taught the Israelites:

“29 … Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: 30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment” (Mk. 12:29-30).

If we give God the best that we have to offer – which can only be our lives – He in turn will have “respect” unto our offering. He will take our rotten lives and give us His grace. A beautiful exchange.

I, the writer of this blog, am a person who has not arrived at the place where Abel was. My prayer and desire is that I arrive there. Abel was indeed a great man before the Lord.

[Below: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.”]

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Grace – Part 1

And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him. Gen. 5:24

Sometimes the Lord reveals something and you wonder, how much is such a “leak” worth? And all of a sudden you realize that if all the money in the world, every last dime of it, and all the gold, and all the silver, and every kind of worldly treasure – if all of it were gathered together, it would count as nothing in the face of the tiniest bit of heavenly revelation that the Lord grants us to see in our hearts.

Today I would like us to consider the subject of grace a little bit more. There is so much the Lord wants us to know about this subject for He Himself is a God of grace. Our Lord Jesus Christ came to reveal a God of grace and truth.

Did you know, for example, that before the law came God dealt with His people through grace? For example, Abel walked in the grace of God. And so did Enoch, and Noah.

I mention these three people specifically because in their time the world was so evil, but the Lord set them apart. Not that today or in other times the world has been less evil, no. But these gentlemen had so much grace that in the midst of all the evil that surrounded them, they stood out the way a lighthouse stands out in the darkest of nights.

Just think, during Noah’s time there was so much evil on earth that only one man, this Noah, could find favor in the eyes of the Lord! That is incredible, to say the least.

And what was it with Cain and Abel? It was simply that Abel sacrificed to the Lord by grace, and Cain by law. Cain’s heart was hard and we can see it in the manner in which he sacrificed. The Bible goes to length to describe the quality of the things that Abel sacrificed. You can see the heart there.

It says nothing of the things that Cain sacrificed. When it came time to give to the Lord, Cain gave because he had to, and the Lord had not respect” for his sacrifice.

That should be an eye-opener. God has no respect for things we do or give to Him because we have to. He only respects or considers the things that we do for Him out of a heart of grace. Anything done out of a heart of law is rejected by God.

That brings us to the issue of tithing. The way tithing is done today is invariably by law. You cannot mention the tithe today outside of law.

But did you know that Abraham – through whom we first learn about the tithe – tithed to God by grace? Whether it was a revelation from God that Abraham should give Him a tenth of his spoils, or whether Abraham decided on his own account to give God that much is not stated in the Bible. But the fact is, Abraham gave to God out of a spirit of grace, and not because he had to. That would have been law, and Abraham did not walk with God through law. God called Abraham His friend. There is no way you can put law on a friend.

It could very well be that God instituted the tithe in the law that He gave to Moses simply in honor of Abraham, who freely decided to give to God a tenth of his spoils.

That is why we do not read that Isaac gave to God a tenth of whatever he got. He probably gave more – or less. For sure he did give. But one thing is clear, though. Isaac lived in a free environment with God.

When Jacob was on his way to Laban’s house, he was granted a vision of the heavens; and in his gratitude he prayed to God and promised to give to God a tenth of whatever the Lord would bless him with.

That does not make the tenth to be a law. No. Notice it was Jacob who promised to give to God the tenth. It was not God who said, “Thou shalt!” In fact, in all probability, it must have surprised God to have Jacob say and do the same thing that his grandfather Abraham did. A pleasant surprise.

In any case, whatever the reason that made Jacob to promise to give to God a tenth of his wealth, he would have been very surprised had you stood before him and used the word “must”. No, it was not a must. It was a pleasure. It was a freewill gift.

Now, today you have preachers reading out of the Law of Moses and concretizing God’s people in law. When it comes to giving and to the tithe in particular, there is nothing but law that is at work in today’s church. And God has no respect for such giving or such service. God has no respect for anything that is done through duress.

I don’t care whether you are reaping a hundredfold or not, but if you are giving because you have to, or because men are coercing you into giving, you are sinning against God.

We are called to give, yes, and God blesses us when we give, but it should always – always – be in a spirit of freedom, and grace.

In the second part we will consider Enoch.