Cain’s sacrificial mistake…was it self-reliance?

Posted: January 26, 2020 in Christian
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Recently, I started thinking about Cain, Abel and the first recorded sacrifice, and I believe that Cain’s sacrificial mistake was primarily based upon not really paying attention to the desires, wants and needs of the Lord.

The common viewpoint I was taught early on is that Abel’s sacrifice was accepted because his sacrifice was based solely on faith, while Cain’s sacrifice was borne from his reliance upon his own works. I don’t believe that to be the case, because even though Cain was a farmer and did produce a sacrifice from the toils of his labor, Abel was a shepherd and therefore also produced a sacrifice from the toils of his labor also.

From the very beginning of the scriptures, we read that God teaches us about the importance of the shedding of blood. This early in man’s existence, that was something odd, as all people were vegetarians and were not allowed to kill animals for sustenance. The first inference of the necessity of the shedding of blood was when God clothed Adam and Eve with skins. He could have whipped the skins up out of thin air, but that is not probable, so the Lord would have killed an animal for the purpose+ of using the skins as coverings. This act also would have been the first example of a sacrifice and I believe it would have most likely been the skin of a sheep, since that was most probable purpose for them at this time.

For most of my life, I was taught to be self-reliant in all things, It wasn’t until the Lord saved me that I slowly started to learn that self-reliance is not the way to go, but to rely on the Lord in all things is how I should be living my life. That was a very tough lesson for me to learn, and the knowledge did not come over night. Cain was a farmer and to offer the toils of his labor would have been the natural thing to do. I do not know how the Lord attempted to explain his expectations to them, but apparently it went in one ear and out the other with Cain. I have lived most of my life as Cain did in his early years and when I look back I would have been a whole lot better off if I had relied upon the Lord instead of myself. The automatic nature of my “natural man” is to take on the burdens of life myself and to be self-reliant. The way I prevent that thought process is to constantly remind myself of the innumerable ways the Lord keeps blessing me and where I was when I relied upon my self, as compared to where I am when I rely upon the Lord

While I am on the subject of Cain, I feel the way Cain is portrayed in the scriptures, leads to an unfair assessment of him through potential translation errors, for he is lumped in with the “ungodly”, a term that creates completely awful connotations with us, however the Greek word simply means a lack of reverence toward God. Of course Cain went on to commit murder, (later in the scriptures we read that David was guilty of this sin also, but the Lord viewed David as a man after His own heart) but the Lord made sure he was unharmed, even though he was banished to the land of Nod. I believe Cain repented and asked for forgiveness at some point, for when we look at the meanings of the names of Cain’s descendants in the Hebrew, we find he named them names that were reverential toward God.


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