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"Offerings: Savor or Stench"


I’ve often wondered why God was pleased with Abel’s offering but despised Cain’s offering. The bible isn’t really specific about God’s reasoning in the book of Genesis chapter 4 concerning these two brothers. Perhaps Abel’s offering was more sacrificial than his brother Cain’s offering. In Genesis 4, Abel brought God the finest firstborn of his flock, while Cain just brought fruit from his cultivation of the ground, which required little sacrifice. I believe that this example of offerings is symbolic. It represents our heart postures when it comes to what we render unto God. Is your offering a sweet smelling savor unto the Father, or is it a stench in his nostrils?

I can imagine what Cain might have been thinking when he gave God the fruit, “I’ll pick anything. It’s not that serious.” Perhaps Cain, in his heart, was too common with God. Abel honored God by giving him the best, and probably with a pure heart. Often, we have heard the phrase, “Actions speak louder than words.” When it comes to our offerings of praise and obedience, the same thing applies. How? Well, we can give him praise with our lips, but in our hearts, we are doing it out of duty or routine. Here is another example. We can pray to God concerning an answer that we need. We know what we want to do in our flesh already. Instead of doing what God said, we do what we want to do and find a way to make God okay with it.

Can I go deeper (Pastor Marcus)? Doing the bare minimum on the job is an offering that would qualify as a stench in his nostrils. That shows heart posture. When the heart is in the right posture, we give our all. There is a difference between a Christian who goes to church and shouts for fun, dressed in elaborate “church gear,” but the lifestyle is fleshly, and the disciple who wants the presence of God, the truth of God, and has a prayer life. I’m sorry. Maybe that was too deep, but you get the point.

Romans 12:1 tells us to offer our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, which is our true and proper worship (NIV Bible). God wants all of us. He wants our whole heart, which will require some level of sacrifice. We can’t lose reverence for him and offer him what we think he will accept. Do we operate through works? Of course not. However, we must be whole-hearted in our relationship to him.

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