Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"
One of the most beautiful lessons to tell us how kind God is can be found in the story of the world's first murderer--Cain (it's in Genesis 4). He was the oldest of two brothers with different ideas about God. Abel believed that God so loves us that He gave His only Son to become one of us to pay "the wages of sin" in Himself, which is death. In other words, Abel understood the sacrifice of Christ, who was "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world" (Rev. 13:8).
Cain was the world's first pagan. His idea of God was different. He believed that God is angry with us and needs to be appeased or propitiated with some gift. So he brought to the altar a bouquet of beautiful flowers, and fruits and vegetables, he had grown in his garden. Surely, he thought, God will say, "Thank you, Cain, for your gift!" and accept it.
Abel brought a lamb that he sacrificed--a confession of his faith that no "gift" can enrich God, but Abel's offering said that in his heart he appreciated the Unspeakable Gift God was giving for our salvation. Genesis 4:4 says that God "respected Abel and his offering." God was happy for evidence that Abel was someone with a melted heart, someone who said, "Thank You, God!" for the cross of Christ.
When Cain saw that his splendid bouquet, and fruits and vegetables, were wilting on the altar unaccepted, he got into the world's first rage and murdered his brother. (If he could have gotten his hands on God, he would have murdered Him too--thus he was the world's first crucifier of Christ.)
But here's the beautiful lesson. Verses 6-12 tell how, although the Lord could not accept his offering, He reasoned with Cain, talked with him, told him what was wrong, did all He could to help Cain understand. And this was a cold-blooded murderer the Lord talked with!
No matter how much you have sinned, and your prayers have not been answered, the dear Lord is ready to talk with you, to convict you of your sin, to reason with you, and to teach you. Meet with Him on your knees.
--Robert J. Wieland
From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: June 25, 2001.
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