Dr. Ed Young - Rejected
Another aside I practice that a little bit and I put that down and Winston thought it was a big bone he'd been looking for all his life. Shofar. Read your Bible, look in your concordance, look up shofar and you'll see that all the way through the Bible, the shofar was sounded as a call to worship. Over and over and over again, all different styles of worship and celebration. They would blow the shofar and the people would gather. Tabernacle, or the temple, in houses to worship. It was a universal call of worship. Even the Bible tells us in the second coming of Jesus Christ. When God brings down the curtain of history they shofar will be sounded.
Lot of history behind the sounding of the shofar as a call to worship. Human beings are the only thing created on this planet that has the capacity to worship. Nothing else can worship. We can worship. We are humans. Everybody does worship something or somebody. Go in the backside of Manchuria, they've never even heard the name of God. They still worship. Everybody worships something or somebody on the face of the planet. And when you look at the garden of Eden there in the moment of beginnings you see what the major problem was. Well, we're familiar with that story most of us. God put one prohibition there: don't eat of the fruit of that tree. We know they fell to sin.
And then you read in the 8th verse of the 3rd chapter of Genesis these words, "And they heard the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day". I love that little verse. "And they," Adam and Eve, "heard the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day". That's a fabulous verse. This is after they had sinned. They had done their own thing. They wanted to play God. And now they hear the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day. What was God doing in the garden? I think God walked in the garden in the cool of the day with Adam and Eve maybe for decades or eons. They were going to worship in the presence of the true and the living God.
Worship. Magnificent. But then we're told in a prior verse that Adam and Eve had gone into hiding. And God shows up in the garden, says, "Adam, you've always been here. You've always looked forward to this meeting, this time of sharing, this time of communion, this time of fellowship. Adam, Adam, where are you"? Adam said, "I hear the voice of God". By the way they heard his steps and now Adam says, "I hear his voice". You know what I think God was doing? I think he was singing. I do, I do, I do. I think he was saying. And God was singing. And God says, "Adam, where are you"? And Adam says, "I'm afraid. I'm naked. I'm hiding".
The problem in the garden of Eden is Adam and Eve could no longer worship. And because of that judgment came on in and they were kicked out of the garden. Punted out. Angels, fiery angels, cherubim guarded the gates. Now they were outside on their own. And here we have theologically what is known as the fall of man and we've been falling with with them ever since we came into this world. 'Cause nobody here had to learn how to lie, cheat, lust, be duplicitous, to be ego... nobody had to teach you and me how to. We just, it was built in from the beginning. That is original sin. That's the fall of man.
So, we see here the problem in the garden was one of worship. They couldn't worship. And we're made to worship. And then we see worship is compounded in the family. Chapter 4, verse 1, "Now Adam knew Eve, his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain. And said, 'I have acquired a man from the Lord.'" In the Hebrew it says, "He says, 'I have acquired.' They have added from the Lord". Interesting, isn't it? Almost like Eve is saying, "I fulfilled 3:15. I have brought forth a man. I have done it and this man will be the one, sort of a pseudo Messiah, that will get us back in the garden". Man, Eve's all, "How we're going to get back in the garden? This man is gonna get us back in there and I have done it. I've done it". "And then she bore again this time his brother Abel.
Now, Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller after the ground". The word "Cain" means gotten, gotten. The word "Able" means breath, really means a whisk of breath. So, now we have Adam and Eve have two sons, Cain and Abel. And Cain followed his father, he was a farmer. Abel became a shepherd. Good vocation, isn't it? And now we look what happened, Cain and Abel went to worship, and it's wonderful Adam and Eve had taught them the necessity of worship. It says, "And in the process of time it came to pass". In other words, evidently they went to this altar, which most people believe, no biblical basis, was right outside the garden. And Abel and Cain, and Cain and Abel went to worship the Lord. Adam and Eve had taught their boys the necessity of worship. They knew what happened to them when they were unable to worship because of sin.
"And it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of fruit of the ground to the Lord. Abel also brought of the firstborn of the flock and of the fat. And the Lord respected Abel and his offering. And the Lord did not respect Cain and his offering". Now, for a long time I have taught this, I think, inaccurately. I apologize for that. We've always heard there the problem with the offering was that Cain brought produce, he was a farmer, and Abel brought a lamb, he was a shepherd. And because God sacrificed the lamb or the animal and made skins for Adam and Eve in the Garden, this is a part of the blood that's necessary for there to be worship before the Lord.
Now, my problem with this now as I've studied this is pre-Mosaic law. And I firmly believe that if Cain, for example, had said to Abel, "I'm gonna give you some corn, and some beans, and some watermelons, and if you'll give me one of those lambs to offer," and certainly they were bartering. They were brothers. You know, they didn't eat only meat or vegetables, they would barter. They lived in the same family, though they had different vocations. But I think if that had happened and Cain had offered a blood sacrifice, I think it'd been the same results. I do. Because this offering was not an offering for sin, Cain or Abel's. It was an offering, a dedication offering, which means I come and this offering is a symbol of giving my whole self to God.
It's like marriage. When you get married you give your ring to your mate and your mate gives a ring to you. And by giving that ring, you're saying, "I give all of me to you". And your mate says, "I give all of me to you with no hidden relationships back here". It's a totality. These are dedication offerings. One, fruit of the ground, farmer; one a lamb. And he says that God had no respect for the offering of Cain. But God had respect for the offering of Abel.
And so, we go back, well, because the blood. And certainly the offering of Abel must've been very dramatic. You know, sheep sorta identify with humans. Sheep are so dependent, those animals, and you can see one of the finest of the flock. Abel have gotten that little lamb and the lamb with the liquid eyes, and the warmth, and suddenly he took a knife and cut his throat and the blood was shed. And this offering was centered on the Lamb and the quality of the offering of Abel. That's so important. And God received that offering. But here's the offering of Cain. Said God rejected. God did not respect that offering.
Now, what was goin' on here? It follows up, it says what Cain did when he understood God did not respect, did not accept his offering, it said Cain got angry. He got mad. And his countenance fell. He went into deep depression. Now, I have battled with that through a zillion commentaries and none of 'em have given me a sensible answer. But finally I believe under God I've got it. I couldn't figure out why in the world Cain, God says, "I do not respect your offering," became so angry and went into depression.
Now, as a metaphor you could say that Abel's offering smoke came up from it and the smoke was a sweet fragrance to the Lord. And Cain's offering the smoke went down and had a stench to it and that's all speculation. It's good preaching. It's just not good exegesis. Why did Cain get so mad? Let me tell you why. It's what his heart, and his hands, and his life said about the offering he gave. I think Cain's offering was a big offering. I think he had watermelons. I think he had plums. I think he had flowers. He had daisies. He had pears. He had all kinds of fruit and vegetables. And I think he spread that offering out on the altar. And I think everybody watch said, "Whoo man, what a beautiful, magnificent, showy, grandiose offering that Cain is giving as he is a man of the field".
Okay. So, when God rejected this, I think, elaborate offering. When God rejected that. Cain was angry, depressed. Why? What was behind the offering? I think Cain was trying to say to mom and dad, Adam and Eve, "I have conquered the ground that was cursed because of your sin and by the sweat of my brow by weeding, and harvesting, and planting, and plowing, and patience of seasons, and by my hard hands and, my calloused hand, I have worked, and worked, and worked, and worked, and look what I've done. I have defeated the ground that was cursed by your sin. Look at it, mom and dad. Look at what I have produced". Also, I think he was saying, "Look at my puny little brother, what he's done. He's killed that helpless little lamb there and all the blood, and all the mess. Man, I am so superior to him. Don't you see it"?
And I think maybe the bottom of this was Cain expected God to say, "That's my boy, I'm so proud of you. Look at this elaborate offering from all that you have done". But God rejected it. Out of hand. No, no, no. I won't receive this. That I believe is the reason Cain got mad, went in depression. Now, I want to, right here, to discover what I think I discovered. This is the beginning of amazing grace. Chapter 1 and 2, we see God giving Adam and Eve a chance even after him booted them out of paradise, that's grace. The slaying of the animal, that's grace.
But this is amazing grace, the grace that God shows toward Cain. I want you to look at it. Look at the grace that he shows toward Cain. It's amazing. And the Lord said to Cain. "Why are you angry? Why is your countenance fallen? If you do well you will be accepted, that's very simple". Somebody said, "Oh I'm depressed. I don't know why". Ask God, he'll tell you. Zip, you'll know in a hurry. Yep, works every time. Oh, yes, just get alone. Just think about it. "I'm angry, I don't know why I'm so angry". Just ask God, he'll show you. It works every time, sure. You don't believe it? Just try it.
I remember years ago, a woman came down the aisle, she was crying. She said, "Pastor, I'm down here, I just got some sin. I don't know what it is". I said, "Guess at it". You know she guessed it the first time? It's really amazing wasn't it? So, God said to Cain, "Cain, man, if you do well, you got clean hands, pure heart. I'm the center of your life. You live a life in the basis of truth. Hey, your offering will be accepted but that's not where you are. Your offering was given for there's no business like show business. That's what your offer is all about". And then we see the amazing grace of God, because now God warns Cain.
When God speaks audibly, warns Cain, it's really something. Look at the warning that God gives to Cain. It's a powerful thing. And he says, "And if you do not well, sin crouches at your door". He's saying to Cain, "Sin crouches and it desire is for you. Sin wants to consume you but you should have victory. You should rule over it". Amazing Grace. He said, "Sin is crouching at your door," and the word there in the Hebrew has to do with a wild animal. How many of you own a cat or have ever owned a cat? Lift your hand, I have. We've got a lot of cats and one cat was named Claws. And Claws, I think like a lot of cats, would go and kill squirrels and birds and bring them at the door. I'd come in and all they had to pick up a bird or a squirrel that Claws had captured for us, brought to the door of our house.
Some of you are familiar with that. And cats are something. And this is a picture of an animal, a lion, a panther, or of something crouching, and God says, "Cain, here is an animal crouching. This is sin crouching for you". Now, notice something. When your cat spot something and is stalking, your cat gets down. Your cat gets smaller. The cat crouches down. The point here. God sees your sin as big, and you see your sin and I see my sin as small. Just a small thing. And you know, we take lust, and put it in a little ball, and put it on the side. It's no big thing. It can lead to adultery. We take greed and it's a small thing. It's a little bitty thing in my life. It can lead to take advantage of people to get.
So, sin crouching is a picture of an animal, of a cat, that is crouching there who appears to be very small. You want to get small. So the prey won't see it. And so, we see our sin as small and others and God sees our sin as big. But he says, "You're going to have victory over it. It doesn't have to be like that". Isn't that terrific? And that's true of all of us. Paul tells us, "He that is within you," that's Christ, "is greater than he that's in the world". We have the capacity in our lives to have victory. And we know sin is crouching. Appears to be very small. It's much bigger than that. And sin will gobble us up but we can have victory through Jesus Christ. If we use the power that's in the life of who walks with Christ.
"Now, Cain talked with Abel, his brother, and it came to pass that when they were in the field Cain rose up against Abel, his brother, and killed him". God warned him, grace. And Cain killed his brother Abel. Way to take care of the competition. Just wipe it out. Eliminate it. Then the Lord said to Cain, more grace here, "Where is Abel, your brother"? And Cain lied, "I do not know". Cain already had invented Webster's word of the year: post truth. "I don't know where he is". Then he asked that very well known question, "Am I my brother's keeper"? You know, we're not our brother's keeper. Because we realized to reach out to people, to help people, to love people, when their life is in a mess, you'll end up in the middle of that mess yourself. And it sure is expensive to get a lot of these messes, isn't it?
So, therefore, we don't keep our brother. We don't reach to our brother. We back up and we say some little power saying, "I'll pray for you". That's good but prayer without legs, without action when we have legs and we can take action. Am I my brother's keeper? Then we have the response. And he said, "What have you done"? This is God. And he goes on he talks about the ground, the punishment of Cain. You'll no longer be a farmer. You'll no longer have that to your credit. And he says, "You're going to be a fugitive and a vagabond on the earth," and he comes to verse number 13.
"And Cain said to the Lord, 'My punishment is greater than I can bear. Surely, you've driven me out this land from the face of the ground and I shall be hidden from your face,'" in other words I can no longer farm. I can no longer go in your presence. And Cain says, I "shall be a fugitive and a vagabond on the earth and it will happen that anyone who finds me will kill me". Here's more grace, grace, grace, grace from God. Amazing, amazing, amazing grace and the Lord said to him... Now Cain doesn't confess sin. He doesn't repent sin. He didn't show any regret, but God still reaches out with grace, grace, grace. It's just amazing grace here. "The Lord set a mark on Cain lest anyone finding him should kill him".
The mark of Cain. God protecting this killer, this murderer, the first murder in the Bible and he murdered his brother. "And then Cain went out from the presence of the Lord and dwelt in the land of Nod, east of Eden". Anytime in the Bible, you see anybody goin' east, they're always running away from God, every single time. And now, he's in the land of Nod, which is the land of wandering. A man without a country, a man that had no vocation at that time, and a man who was estranged from family and friends, and a man estranged with God, and just wandering around, and wandering around, and wandering around.
What happened here? Adam and Eve couldn't worship because of sin. Cain's offering couldn't worship because the motivation behind it was wrong. It was a prideful offering. And now, we see he's in the land of Nod. Anybody here in the land of Nod? Life has no purpose, no rhyme, no reason, no fire, no, as we used to say no vinegar, no passion in it. You're just sort of wandering around, going through the motions of life. Listen, if you're not really worshiping the problem is not I need a new book. I need a new method. I need a new place. It's with all of us. Hands, heart, the center of our lives, living on truth.
You see when we go to worship God, first of all, has you and me to deal with the trash in our lives, and then he'll open up the heavens, and he'll bring us out of the land of Nod, of wandering, in the land of service and love, and we'll learn to speak the language of heaven. You know what the language of heaven is? "Well, we're going to speak Spanish, or French, or Farsi, or what's gonna be the language of heaven"? I can tell you what it is. It's the language of love. And we have to learn to speak the language of love in Christ on this earth. So, be ready to speak the language of love forever and forever in heaven. Am I my brother's keeper? Absolutely. Through worship he'll open our eyes. We'll begin to see people as God sees them. And see ourselves as God sees us. And perhaps we'll begin. We won't be fluent. We'll still stutter a lot. Perhaps begin to, by the grace of God in this life, speak the language of love, the language of eternity.