Stephanie Pavlantos: The Offering
If you had lived in the Garden of Eden, what do you think your offering or gift to God would’ve looked like?
Would the offering have been the most beautiful flowers from your flower garden, or vegetables from your vegetable garden, or maybe the most perfect animal you raised? Have you ever thought about why God had a problem with Cain’s offering in Genesis 4? Why did He react one way towards Abel’s gift and the opposite towards Cain’s? What was different about the offerings?
We read in Genesis 4:3-5 ESV:
In the course of time, Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground, and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering, he had no regard.GENESIS 4:3-5 ESV
In the Hebrew language, like other languages other than English, there are masculine and feminine pronouns.
In the verse above, the pronoun, his, is masculine because it is Abel’s flock, but the pronoun, their, is feminine because Abel’s flock’s fat portion was from a female lamb or goat. Why does that matter?
My husband and I have raised both sheep and goats. When they are pregnant, we hope for female offspring because we can either breed them one day for more lambs or kids or sell them as breeders to another farm.
Unfortunately, you don’t need a lot of male offspring on a farm. They end up fighting over the girls and get aggressive towards the humans. Farmers need a few males for breeding, but other than that, they have no other purposes except for food. In the time of the Temple sacrifices, God allowed the Jewish people to bring their male animals to be sacrificed…bulls, bucks, and rams. They kept their females to grow their herd.
However, sometimes you can have a half dozen animals give birth and have more than half born male. This is not what we hope for…it thrills us to see little girls being born, but too many boys, and we know we must castrate them to sell them for pets or they will be food. Abel brought God a female sheep or goat offering. This was a genuine sacrifice. He gave God a perfect lamb or kid that would have been an excellent breeder for him. God knew his offering was good.
For this reason, I believe Cain’s offering was not a true sacrifice. He sees God’s displeasure with it and becomes angry.
So, Cain was very angry, and his face fell. The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it.”~Genesis 4:5-7 ESV
At the end of verse 7, we see two pronouns—its and it. The word, its, is feminine—the word sin is feminine in Hebrew. Sin’s desire is to control Cain. The pronoun, it, is masculine. The word angry is masculine. That it is referring to Cain’s anger.
God told Cain to rule over his anger, not his sin. Sin is always waiting for an opportunity to use our emotions against us. We may not always be able to control sin, but sin will control us through our anger or jealousy if we do not control it.
God gave us His Son, the Perfect sacrifice, whose blood can free us from the power of strongholds of anger, lust, fear, rage, and rejection to name a few. Freedom comes when we ask for it.
Like Cain, God does not want our strongholds to rule over us. He made a Way so they wouldn’t.
Let go of the strongholds that hold you captive and allow sin to crouch at your door. Ask Jesus for freedom, fall out of agreement with satan and his lies, and forgive those you need to forgive (especially if they don’t deserve it).
Who do you need to forgive?
Heavenly Father, I ask You to help me forgive those who have wronged me. Help me to let go of the pain, wounds, and anger I hold onto. Free me from hurt, and strongholds that open doors to sin. Forgive me as I forgive others.
In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Genre: Bible study
Copyright 2021: The Offering: Stephanie Pavlantos: All Rights Reserved