Thursday, November 15, 2007

Two Offerings and A Murder

To have been in the beginning. To have witnessed God breathe life into a lump of clay, and watch as it became animated, aware, possessing a sharp intellect and the knowledge that it had been created.
To have beheld as a garden grew out of nothingness, the tenderness with which God placed Adam in said garden, and the care that He took in making a comparable mate for him. It would have been a sight to see Adam's reaction upon his first encounter with Eve, to watch as they walked through Eden hand in hand.
The age of innocence had passed now they had known shame and covered themselves with fig leaves, realizing that feeling shame was not nearly enough incentive to break God's heart, and disobey His command. But alas, it was too late to go back to the way it was.
Even the first man knew how to pass blame as did the first woman, and the serpent, much like the last child to find a seat in a game of musical chairs, had no one to pass the blame to.
In silence the serpent heard his sentence, then the woman, then the man.
As a parting gesture, God made both Adam and Eve tunics of skin, and clothed them, then sent them both out of the garden of Eden lest they eat of the tree of life and live forever.
Oh, how they wanted to return to paradise, how they wanted to go back to Eden, but alas, paradise lost can never be recaptured, and a cherubim with a flaming sword made certain it would stay that way. God does not take kindly to disobedience, His nature will not permit Him to overlook it.
Time passed, and the cry of a newborn pierced the night, and now the first woman and man, became the first family. They learned parenting as they went, since there were no child rearing books to be had, but even with the crying and the late nights, Eve was certain she had received a man from the Lord.
Soon after, Abel greeted the world with his piercing cries, and as he learned to crawl, then walk, then run, he realized he was very different from his brother Cain. They had their moments, as siblings do, trying to peek over the fence into the garden, asking each other questions like 'what do you think mom and dad did to make God so angry?' in hushed tones, but no one could deny that they were very different.
Their paths diverged from early youth, as Abel chose to be a keeper of sheep, predisposed to dreaming, and enjoying the quietness of solitude.
Cain, chose to work the cursed earth, he was a tiller, sun beating down as he plowed, and planted, plucked weeds and often watered his harvest with the sweat of his brow.
Cain was not an atheist, he was religious, for it was Cain who first brought offering to God. He made an altar of stone, offering the fruit of the ground, to the Lord.
Abel on the other hand, took and brought before the Lord of the first lings of his flock, and of their fat. Perhaps Cain looked upon the butchering of the lamb with disgust. Both knew that there could be no forgiveness or atonement without the shedding of blood, but while Abel believed this, Cain did not.
The reason that God accepted one offering and rejected the other, had nothing to do with what the two brothers offered up to Him, but had everything to do with the heart and mindset with which these offerings were made. When Cain saw that his offering had not been accepted, rather than ask why this was, he became angry. The Lord, then spoke to Cain, and explained that the reason his offering had been rejected, was due to the fact that his heart, did not mirror his actions.
Genesis 4:6-7, "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."
Cain's offering was not a sacrifice, or a means of worship to a false God, but a false and insincere sacrifice and means of worship to the one true God.
Cain's religiosity, too refined and elevated to kill a lamb, did not hesitate in murdering Abel, because religiosity has no scruples, it has no mercy. Religiosity is rooted in tradition, in custom, in ritual and ceremony. It is a formality, there is no true emotion, but merely going through the motions.
Cain's offering came from a place where if he performed these specific tasks, if he fasted so much, and said so many prayers, and dressed a certain way he would be saved.
Abel's offering on the other hand, came from a place wherein because he believed in the Lamb of God, as a natural progression and continuation of his faith in Christ, he would fast, and pray, and dress decently, and wait upon the Lord in righteousness.
The religious man will always be more concerned with his outwardly appearance, than his inward condition. As long as others perceive him as being religious, he is unconcerned with the fact that his heart is not what it should be, that sin is festering below the surface, and that his actions are absent of convictions.
On the other hand, one who is sincere in his desire to know God, to have an intimate relationship with Him, is unconcerned about the image he projects to the world, he does not perform rituals or customs because others are watching, but love compels him to follow after Christ, and surrender his heart in its totality to Him.
May we do well in the sight of God, that our offerings may be accepted. Whether they be offerings of praise, worship, prayer or supplication, God sees the heart with which these acts were performed, and it is based on the condition of the heart that He either accepts or rejects the offerings we bring before Him.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea Jr.


Anonymous said...

I wonder how many people view obey and disobey the way I used to. It is easy to excuse or justify disobedience if you think of it just as a mental choice. A few months ago I read something that Jeff Benner had written about it really being a matter of the heart. Do you treasure the commands of God or trample them under foot as if they are unimiportant? Reading that gave me an understanding I had never been taught and that hurts when I think of following the flesh instead.
Thank you for continually teaching the Truth. You have a way with words that frequently makes me laugh. May Yah continue to bless your ministry.

Anonymous said...

Everything of 'self' is an abomination to a holy God. Cain's sacrifice was the work of his own hands - he had tilled the ground with sweat, harvested his crops....there was no blood sacrifice, just like today's crossless 'gospel'. The works of the flesh can never be acceptable. The man of the flesh wants to kill the man of the spirit, and that is evident when you attempt to talk the gospel with many so-called believers - they take offense and and usually come back with "But I'm not under law' or 'who are you to judge'. It is the way of Cain, Balaam and Korah active in the church today. Thanks, Michael - loved your telling of the tragic story of the brothers.

Anonymous said...

Greetings Michael,

Thanks for sharing this scripture and uncovering some of the many truths it reveals. Truly, we should take God's warning to Cain to heart.

Genesis 4:6-7, "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."

God tells Cain to rule over his sin. It kind of reminds me of Christ's warning to the woman caught in adultery when He says, "...Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more." (John 8:11).

In many Christian circles, people say that you will never be free from the bondage of sin on this side of eternity, but here God commands (both in the OT & NT) that those who follow Him need to rule over their sin. Paul says in Romans that we are either slaves to righteousness or slaves to sin. We can't serve two masters. The irony in both of these instances is that the gift of the Holy Spirit had not even been given yet. To whom much is given, much is required, and if we, after being born-again and filled with the Holy Spirit, are still letting sin be our master and teaching others that this is ok, may God have mercy on our souls.

Hebrews 10:26-27 explicitly warns, "For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries." Truly, it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

God is merciful and gracious and He warned Cain and gave him space for repentance, but Cain spurned his day of correction. In the same way, through the mouths of His prophets and through various judgments in the land, God has been warning this nation and many who are asleep in the church to repent and come out of Bablyon. However, I fear, just like Cain did, we are spurning our day of correction. How shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation (a salvation that not only saves us from the penalty of sin, but also saves us from the power of sin so that it will no longer be our masters)?

Michael is correct. The problem with Cain's offering wasn't the type of sacrifice he brought as much as it was his heart. It's obvious that Cain had an anger problem and a root of bitterness that was clearly directed at Abel. Matthew 5:22-24 gives us insight as to why God did not accept Cain's sacrifice. It says, "But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, 'Raca,' is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, 'You fool!' will be in danger of the fire of hell. " Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.

God would not accept Cain's offering until he dealt with the bitterness and unforgiveness that he had toward Abel. Believe me, the day that Cain murdered Abel was not the first day that he had hatred toward his brother. This was something that had been festering awhile and that God tried to get him to deal with, but he refused.

The next time that you go into your prayer closet, or fast, or begin to sings praises to God, make sure that you aren't harboring any grudges against anyone, because God won't accept it, no matter how sincere you might be, until you deal with the issues of the heart. So the next time that the heavens seem like brass, don't necessarily write it off as an attack of the enemy or the "dark night of the soul", because quite possibly you could be holding a grudge against a co-worker, friend, relative, or spouse.

Who may ascend the hill of the Lord? Those with clean hands and a pure heart. Even before Cain slew his brother, he had blood on his hands, because his heart and intentions were not pure towards Abel.

Lord, help us to forgive one another and love the brethren and let no bitter root grow up among us and defile many. Instead of always blaming the devil for our lack of unanswered prayers and fruit in our lives, let us examine our hearts to make sure we are not sabotaging ourselves by harboring unforgiveness toward anyone.


Brother Andrew

Michael Boldea Jr. said...

Dear Brother Andrew,
Very well said, okay now I believe you're a writer, just kidding, I believed you when you mentioned it in your e-mail, still looking forward to perusing that article.
I've been told I use too many commas. Anyway, great comment. It's amazing how much of scripture we tend to overlook simply because it pricks the flesh.
With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea Jr.

Anonymous said...

Praise Jesus!!

The Lord spoke to me recently that a spirit of religion is a surefire inoculation against the Gospel of Jesus.

Hisservant rich

Anonymous said...

To Brother Andrew,
Well said! I once had anger towards a pastor that lied to the congregation about an event that took place in the church that I was intimately involved with. The Lord pointed this out to me in prayer and I ended up calling him to apologize for my anger. He however acted like the benevolent forgiver but never apologized for his lies. The Lord will deal with him; my hands are clean. Anger can be so subtle if you're not careful.

I’m also dealing with some frustration towards an employee of mine that is going behind me and my supervisor to sabotage some of our work. Office politics can pull you in if you’re not careful. I have authority over him, but I don’t have the right to repay evil with evil.

I also like what you said here: "However, I fear, just like Cain did, we are spurning our day of correction." That was well put.

God Bless,

Elm Street Chapel said...

To Michael,
Amen to your comment that the issue was Cain's religiosity (and therefore his heart not being right before God), not him denying that God exists.

When speaking to those who are without, it seems that in many instances the words the Lord lays on our heart are give to help show them that Jesus is to be our shepherd and the true religion is taking care of the widows and the orphans and staying unspotted from the world...not the religion and denominations of the world that we see trying to gather followers today.

Like the vision that God gave you regarding the various levels of pools, we should only desire to drink from the purest source, Christ Himself, and not let the other pools (that have been controlled or dirtied by men) catch our eye. It is sad because all too often when the Lord grants me the opportunity to speak the gospel to those who are in need, they must first unlearn what the religious have taught them, and learn that serving God is no religion at all. It is merely doing what He has asked of us and being obedient to Him in all that He has required of us.

Micah 6:8 - 8He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?

To Andrew,
Amen to what you have written as well. It is true that we must forgive that we may be forgiven. Also, the scriptures are clear that if we hate our brother and say we love God, we are liars.

1 John 4:20 - 20If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?

Let us therefore continue in those things that the Lord has put before us, in humility, and keep our eyes fixed on Him, that no pride of man or cares of this life would keep us from the fullness of what He has called us to do.

God be with us,

Anonymous said...

This flies in the face of the current teachings on giving...the focus is so much on to just give (and a lot of it) and then God will have no choice but to bless you, that we forget that in every call to give, God has commanded that we do so in leave our sacrifices at the alter and first go and be reconciled with our brothers. Putting money in the offering basket will not change's supposed to change us in that we should grow to love God and our neighbor and demonstrate it through our giving.

Michael: Thanks for this post and the blog...I'm learning and soul searching quite a bit :)

In His Grace,

Anonymous said...

It seems my fears have been relieved. I wrote earlier about an employee of mine that was trying to sabotage the work that our group has been doing.

I wrote:
"I’m also dealing with some frustration towards an employee of mine that is going behind me and my supervisor to sabotage some of our work."

In my line of work there are different philosophical approaches on how you implement technology. Our group maintains the computer systems that control much of manufacturing. We are part of but somewhat separate from the corporate IT group.

For years they (corporate IT) have been attempting to break up our group and take over the services we provide. They have however shown at other facilities that they cannot provide the same level of service. In fact, other devisions of the company will not allow them to come into their facility without being able to provide the same level of service that we do. In fact, we've been told that we have raised expectation levels too high. In other words, we do too much for our customers.

The saboteur (my employee) went to my boss's new supervisor who was specifically told by upper management to work on breaking up our organization. There was in a sense a collusion between the two to help break us up and push our services to other groups in the IT community. The saboteur couldn't direct the breakup, but could assist by reporting information behind our backs.

I just found out Friday morning that this new supervisor to my boss has moved to an entirely different division of the company. For now, the Lord has saw fit to hold us together. I'm not sure what will happen to the saboteur. He was ranked low a year ago and might be on his way out the door.

Years ago, when I was moved to a different division in the company without a choice, I became bitter and angry. My new boss was one of the worst bosses I had ever had. He actually had us do book reports. I had to read motivational books and then give a book report on it. Then, all of his employees had to read each other's book report and comment on that as well. I'm not kidding.

I was grumpy for six months until one day the Lord spoke to my heart and said; “Stop your whining and get to work.” God made it clear to me that I'm working for Him and not the company. God moved me to that position for a reason. I found out why 6 months later. If I had stayed in that other group that I was in, I would have lost my job. The company was outsourcing IT overseas and I would have been let go. But, because I was in this new area, I was able to retain my job.

After all this happened, I felt the Lord say to me; “What you thought was a curse, was actually a blessing.” Not long after that my “book-report” boss moved on and I got a new boss that has been the best supervisor I've had in the company. He immediately gave me a promotion with more money and began to put me into a position that I always wanted to do.

Since that time I've learned that as long as I'm in the Lord, then it doesn't matter what happens to me at work, at home, or in life. When I'm in Christ, then I'm right where I need to be. It's so easy to play the office politics that so many play. I find my self tempted to take revenge, ignore pleas for help, or even sabotage other people's work because they've done those things to me. But, for me as a child of God, I'm not allowed to do those things.

God Bless,

Elm Street Chapel said...


I am blessed by the story you shared regarding your work. And what you say in regards to it not mattering what happens to you at work because you are in Christ blesses me.

I am what most would consider fresh out of college and at the start of my career in engineering (I'm 23). I was hired in as a full time engineer 10 months before I graduated, only shortly after moving to a group that I was not particularly interested in. God knew better. My wonderful wife of 2.5 years was pregnant with our first child, Addi, and of course the Lord blessed us with the opportunity to be fully insured and purchase a home (which was a desire of my wife's heart, and God knew).

As you, I take it all as a grain of salt. The job I have is merely a way that God has made for me to support my family. It does not define who we are. We are sons and daughters of the most High God, and it is for this that we are eternally greatful.

Also, the Lord has given me opportunity to truly minister to several people regarding the coming judgment and I thank God daily for these opportunities. I pray, as I am sure you do, that at least one will grab hold of the truth of Jesus, and seek Him with all that they are, never turning back.

Continue to speak all that the Lord puts on your heart, brother, for if others are blessed as much as I am but what you say, surely they will know that He is with you, even in your mouth. If God is for us, who can be against us?

God bless you and yours.

In Him,

Anonymous said...

Thanks for what you said. I really do appreciate it. I myself was in engineering for a time at a couple of different companies. I went to Rose-Hulman and then graduated from Purdue with a BA in AOT. Five letters that cost me several thousand dollars that won't be payed off before Jesus returns. Thank the Lord Sallie Mae doesn't have a collection agency in heaven.

I went in for engineering, graduated with aeronautical, pursued stand-up comedy for a while ( pun intended) and then finally wound up in IT (Information Technology – professional geek). Don't be surprised if your career changes a few times.

Through most of it I was pursuing the American Dream (money, fame, notoriety). Fortunately I didn't get any of it. God was always pursuing me. (I also did Amway for a while, but just keep that between you and me okay :).

It can be hard to live your faith in the workplace when you're surrounded by so many who don't share the same passion and conviction for Christ. It's difficult to talk to them about the coming judgment and the need for them to draw near to Christ, when all they are focused on is their advancement in the company, the coming weekend , vacation, 401K, retirement, the new house, the new car, the new boat; did I mention the weekend.

And then there are the turf wars. “I can't help you because you don't have the widget that I can help you with; you have a red widget; I only work on blue widgets.” I feel like I'm in a feature length Dilbert cartoon every day at work. Dilbert to me is not a comic strip, but a reality very short, badly drawn, segments.

The Lord has however, given me opportunities to share my faith with others even though I'm violating the treatment of others policy, or the code of conduct policy, or the equality of gender and sexual preference policy, or -fill in the blank- policy. I've been able to share my faith with Hindu's, Sikhs, Catholics, Nascar fans, atheists, agnostics, and even so-called Christians. As long as you share it with love and humility, then you have nothing to fear. The only one to fear is Christ.

God Bless,