“And the LORD respected Abel and his offering — but He did not respect Cain and his offering.” Genesis 4:4-5
Here are two brothers bringing each of them an oblation to the Lord. Cain, as a farmer, brought of the produce of the ground which he cultivated; Abel, as a shepherd, some of the firstlings of his flock, with the fat of them. Consequently, both believed there was a God who made the world and was to be worshiped; and yet one was accepted, and the other rejected.
Cain’s sacrifice was wholly a thank-offering to God, for the blessings of His providence. Abel’s was not only of a thank-offering — but of the expiatory kind. While it was an expression of gratitude for the blessings of Providence, it was also typical of the atonement by Christ and expressive of his hope of redemption through Him.
In the offering of Cain, there is no confession of guilt or reference to the promised Redeemer. In that of Abel, there is both repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. Thus God had respect to him [Abel] and his offering. [God] accepted first his person, as justified, then his offering. But neither the person nor the offering of Cain found acceptance with God.
Reader, mark the difference; by this Abel speaks to you. Are you in a state of acceptance with God, by faith in Jesus? Is your whole dependence, for pardon and life, on Christ crucified? Do you obey from a principle of love? Then you shall be blessed with righteous Abel here and forever.
Devotion by Karl Heinrich von Bogatzky (1690—1774)
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