A. Brother

“You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
You do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
A broken and contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.”
(Psalm 51:16,17)

In Genesis 4:1-16 God tells us of Cain and his brother Abel.  The first sin after “original sin” seems to have been the sin of wrong sacrifice to God.  So it must be very basic in man’s fallen character that we defy God and bring Him our own sacrifices rather than what He wants us to bring Him.

From the beginning, man refused to humble himself before the Lord.  Cain is an example.  He sinned by bringing an offering to God, not as God requested, but as Cain wanted.  He did it his way, not God’s Way.  Cain was the first "religious" man.  Religion tries to make up its own rules and regulations about how to please God.

When God confronted Cain about his sin, Cain got angry.  He resented his brother Abel, who had obeyed God and given God the sacrifice He’d asked for.  Cain took Abel out and murdered him.
Cain’s murderous anger, and his defiance toward God, showed his heart’s attitudes.  God told Cain that sin was the cause of his problems.  Cain didn’t like that at all.

“Then the Lord said to Cain,
‘Why are you angry?  Why is your face downcast? 
If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? 
But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door;
it desires to have you, but you must master it.’ “
(Gen. 4:6,7)

Ever since Cain, man has insisted in committing that sin over and over, and we continue today.  What God desires is obedience to His requests.  We, however, fabricate our own lists of things we want to do for God and bring to God.  We insist on giving what God doesn’t want us to give, as Cain did.

God wants our love.
We give Him dutiful service.
God wants our hearts.
We give Him religious ritual.
God wants our obedience.
We give Him money.

Our essential sin is crouching at the door all the time.  We want our way like disobedient children, ignoring their parent’s sound advice.  We want what pleases us, what’s easiest for us, what’s most comfortable for us.  It’s our basic nature.

God’s Way is to sacrifice our hearts and our spirits to Him.  We lay our deepest being on the altar and let God break our terrible pride, ugly arrogance, evil selfishness.  God wanted Cain to lose that anger and self-righteousness that said, “I’ll do what I want to do for God.  What’s wrong with my way?  Who does God think He is anyway?  I’m a worker of the soil---why should I sacrifice an animal?  Isn’t my produce just as good as Abel’s lambs?”

God wants YOU today.  Not your time, not your money.  Not your faithful attendance at church functions.  Not your muscles and back and sweat.  Not your dutiful Bible reading and perfunctory prayer.

“Do I eat the flesh of bulls or drink the blood of goats?
Sacrifice thank offerings to God, fulfill your vows to the Most High,
And call upon Me in the day of trouble;
I will deliver you, and you will honor Me.” 
(Psalm 50:13-15)

Give God your love and thanksgiving.  Let your heart be repentant of your sin.  Obey the Lord in your life.  Do what He asks you to do--not what He doesn’t ask you to do.  Call on the Lord when you’re in difficulty, as if you really loved, trusted and knew Him.  He promises to deliver you.  We love God by offering His sacrifices, not our own.


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