Proverbs – News Form the Source – Part 13
“Honor the Lord with your possessions, and with the firstfruits of all your increase; your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine.” Proverbs 3:9-10
The idea of bringing offerings as sacrifice and worship to God originates from the beginning of all things as people were created to live on the earth.
“Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, and said, “I have acquired a man from the Lord.” Then she bore again, this time his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the Lord. Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the Lord respected Abel and his offering, but He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell. So the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.” Genesis 4:1-7
The key words in these passages are these. “Cain brought and offering of the fruit of the ground…” “Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock…” With one of these God was please and with the other He was not. Why?
It seems logical to us now, 6000 years removed from that day that Cain’s offering was not accepted, to ask, why did he not inquire of God for what would be acceptable for him to bring? We have no record if he did or didn’t. What we do know is that he was angry and he took out his anger against his brother. Here is what I believe the Scriptures suggest about this event.
The idea to bringing and offering to the Lord would have been a commandment from God at the time when in the course of daily life that Adam and Eve would have been regularly serving the Lord in this way. They would have taught this to their children so that when they became adults and had their own property and possessions they would continue the practice. It is significant the Scriptures tell us that Cain was a tiller of the ground and Abel was a keeper of sheep. Each worked with his hands producing what they had for their livelihood.
But, Abel brought to the Lord a sacrifice like those that his Father Adam would have brought over many years. It was a sacrifice of the first born of his sheep. The implications that his offering was consistent with the blood sacrifices that were first made in the Garden of Eden when God provided skins of animals to cover their nakedness and provided warmth and protection for them from the sudden and extreme changes in earth’s atmosphere due to sin. The covering of leaves that they had fashioned for themselves was inadequate for their need to survive on the earth after their fall from life to death.
“Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.” Genesis 3:7
“Also for Adam and his wife the Lord God made tunics of skin, and clothed them.” Genesis 3:21
So, then Abel’s offering pointed to the need for the shedding of blood. And we know now that without the shedding of blood there can be no remission of sin. [Hebrews 9:22] The offerings that they were bringing to the Lord were also intended to remind them that God was their source of life in the midst of a world of sin and death. And indeed it pointed to the ultimate sacrifice for the sin of all mankind, Jesus Christ, which was declared from the day man sinned and disobeyed God. God’s righteous judgment came on all the earth from that moment. Even the ground was cursed to no longer bring forth abundant fruitful and life sustaining food without harm or rigorous labor in the heat of the day in the midst of thorn and thistles the direct effect of sin.
“Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, “You shall not eat of it’: ‘Cursed is the ground for your sake; in toil you shall eat ofit all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, and you shall eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for dust you are,and to dust you shall return.” Genesis 3:17-19
Surely the story would have been told to them again and again over the years as Adam and Eve performed this command season after season as they were growing up.
But, I believe the scriptures support the idea that Cain was rebellious against God’s law and was perhaps, too prideful to go to his brother and purchase a suitable sacrifice from among his flock, nor, it would seem, was he willing to find and raise his own heard of sheep from which he could have brought his on firstborn to the Lord. But the issue ultimately is not just what was brought but what was the attitude of the heart of the one bringing the offering. [1Samuel 16:7]
Instead, the sin nature that was marked on his DNA from his father, Adam’s transgression, dominated his mind, then because of it his anger led to resentment and murder was introduced on the earth. His offering was rejected for many reasons, but chief amount them was that it was not the first fruitseven of his harvest. It was just an offering. He was not interested in honoring God with what God had provided for him. He just wanted to do what he wanted to do, and as little as he could get away with, because his heart was not in it from the beginning.
Abel brought the firstborn of his flock, the strongest and the one(s) with the greatest potential for multiplication and increase. His offering cost him a great deal. But Cain’s offering cost him little or nothing. It was empty and marked with a curse because it was fruit from the ground that God had cursed because of sin.
So, wisdom teaches us now that we should honor the Lord with our possessions (substance) and, and I repeat, ANDthe first fruits of all our increase. Our Possessions and the first fruits of ALL our increase are to be used to honor God.
There is so much we could say about the idea of our possessions but suffice it to say that whatever we have that is good and of value is something by which we can honor God. The first fruits of all our increase includes the tithe (ten percent), but it more specifically encompasses all things by which we are enriched that increases the sum of our wealth and add value to our lives.
Now honor God can be done in a variety of ways. It all begins with acknowledgement that He is our source by our expressions of thanksgiving, then our giving back to Him as an act of worship. Then we also honor Him by wise and Godly inspired stewardship of the resource we have in order to become and stay positioned for greater increase in the future. We plant seed and reap a harvest and from that harvest we plant more seed to reap a greater harvest next time. We give so that we may be positioned to receive even greater than we gave to that we can give in even greater measure next time.
We honor the Lord with our possessions and the first fruits of all our increase, and he turns around and fills our “barns,” our storage places of supply, of surplus and future seed for sowing is stored, will be filled, filled, filled with PLENTY. There is nothing in that statement that even minutely suggest just enough, barely enough or lack of any kind. It says clearly, “filled with plenty!” I sometimes feel the need to repeat tings out loud to my self to shake off the layer of familiarity that comes to diminish the very real vibrant life enriching reality that God’s Word is not empty religious ritual merely to be recited for emotional or effect.
It is the TRUTH!
It is LIFE!
It is GOD”S WORD!
When we honor the Lord with our substance and the first fruits of all our increase not devil in hell or on earth can keep us from receiving the blessing of the Lord promised with it!
Your barns will be filled with plenty and your vats will overflow with new wine. This is not hyperbole. I need to be reminded of that from time to time So, I want to remind you. Don’t let the devil lie to you and say that God didn’t mean that or that He didn’t mean it for you. It’s His Word, His integrity, His Very character and being that is in every Word that goes forth from Him.
“So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:11
God keeps His WORD. Thank You, Father. Thank You, Jesus. Thank You, Holy Spirit.