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. 3 And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the Lord. 4 Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the Lord respected Abel and his offering, 5 but He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell. 6 So the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? 7 If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.” 8 Now Cain talked with Abel his brother; and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him. 9 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” He said, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?” 10 And He said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to Me from the ground. 11 So now you are cursed from the earth, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. 12 When you till the ground, it shall no longer yield its strength to you. A fugitive and a vagabond you shall be on the earth.”
Hebrews 9:22 – In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.
Hebrews 11:4 – By faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. By faith he was commended as a righteous man, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith he still speaks, even though he is dead.
2Corinthians 8:5 – And not only as we had hoped, but they first gave themselves to the Lord, and then to us by the will of God.
2 Corinthians 9:7 – So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.
In our previous study, I made it clear that thanksgiving starts from the heart. And the state of your heart influences your action. It is said that as a man thinks, so is he. Today, we will be exploring thanksgiving that is unacceptable to God. In the above Scripture, Cain and Abel, after their harvest, came to humble themselves before the Lord and express their gratitude to God. At that time, it was a requirement that to approach God and obtain favour from Him, you have to shed the blood of an animal for the remission of your sins. In our case, Jesus Christ shed His blood for our sins and, as a result, we have access to God.
By the shedding of blood, you are telling God that you admit your sins and you seek His forgiveness and acceptance. Abel followed this principle and was accepted and declared righteous, but Cain did what was convenient and not what was required. Therefore, he was rejected. You will note that God accepts or rejects the person before He considers their offering. This is because He first examines their heart and attitude. After Cain and his offering were rejected, he went on to kill his brother and his response to God showed the state of his heart. Cain was for Cain and not for anyone else. He was neither for God nor for his brother. He was for himself alone.
Thanksgiving is a gift we give in recognition of another. It is what we give in appreciation. It is given with the recipient in mind not yourself. Thanksgiving is sacrificial. David said, “I will not give to God what costs me nothing.” So, our thanksgiving must be heartfelt and sacrificial. You know, when we want to give gifts to people, we first find out what they like and what has meaning to them. We do this because the gift is for them and not for us. We are showing them that we value them; we recognise their desire and align with it.
For our thanksgiving to be acceptable, we must first know what brings God pleasure and then present it with the right heart and attitude. In the book of Haggai 1:1-11, the people went about their business and forgot about God and the result was not pleasant. It is interesting to know that as big as God is, people actually forget about Him. I want to encourage you sit down and be thoughtful with your thanksgiving to God. Don’t give thanks grudgingly or out of necessity. Be cheerful for God loves a cheerful giver. In conclusion, avoid the following when giving thanks to God:
? Don’t disregard God’s worth in the scheme of things
? Don’t give without your heart being in it
? Don’t give hastily, put some thought into it
? Don’t give out of necessity or grudgingly, give cheerfully
? Don’t give out of competition with others: give out of love and appreciation
? Don’t forget that you will get a harvest of what you sow, be it good or bad.
For further study:
Haggai 1:1-11, Joel 2:13
Personal Declaration for the day
I will heartily give thanks to God.
Questions for you to reflect on:
With what attitude of heart do you give to God?
When you give, is it about you or about God?