I have been thinking about the many layers in the story of Cain and Able. I wrote about this sometime back in response to a question and thought it was time for an up date.
Is one sacrifice better than another? Perhaps it is more to the point of the attitude of the one offering the sacrifice. It says that Able offered the “First Fruit” or the best of his crop while Cain brings only an offering from his crop. This beggs the question for us today. "Do we give of our best – first fruits – in our offerings?" It does not matter what kind of offering if it is the best we have.
Able offered a blood sacrifice for the forgiveness of his sin, so he did acknowledged his fault before God. We do not know what that sin was and it is not important. His relationship with God was at peace. He died not because of his sin but because of his brother’s sin. I receive from that thought the concept that though my brother's sin is different than mine both our sins are the same before God,
Am I my brother’s keeper? I note here that Cain used that question as a means to deflect God’s question. How often do we dodge the real question about our sin?
Answering a question with a question is an old and well used tradition. Here is a clue to Cain’s problem not wanting to own up to his own responsibility for his actions in the way his offering was made and for the killing of his brother. Cain was selfish and self centered and it corrupted his relationship with God and that is the real issue of the story.
It is important for us that we are more concerned about our own relationship with God than to condemn someone else.