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Give Your Best With Zest

Daily Reading: Genesis 4

Scripture Focus: And the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell. (Genesis 4.4b-5)

Devotional Thought: After the fall of mankind into sin in Genesis 3, things just keep getting worse. In the fourth chapter, we find the account of the first people born to Adam and Eve – their two sons, Cain and Abel. Cain was a farmer and Abel tended to the sheep. They both brought offerings to the Lord, both seemingly good and acceptable offerings. But God, who knew the hearts of both men, had regard for only Abel and his offering.

When we are caught with an ulterior motive, or with nefarious purposes, we can relate to Cain’s reaction. He was “very angry, and his face fell,” (v 5). This is defensiveness, and it is often our first reaction to accusation as well, even when we know the accusation has merit. Sadly, Cain’s response was extreme, and he killed his brother Abel.

This chapter shows us the Lord’s expectations for those who love Him. We see it spelled out more clearly in Leviticus later, as God gives very specific requirements for the Israelites’ offerings and worship. He expects us to give the best of what we have to Him. When we hold back, when we choose to meet our own desires and needs before giving to Him – whether it be with our time or money – the offering is not a pleasing aroma to Him. Rather, it is a reminder that there are other gods before Him: the gods of control, greed, accumulation, pride, comfort, or selfish ambition. When we give of our time, energy, and financial resources, let it be the “firstfruits” that we give – the very best of what we have – to acknowledge His lordship over every aspect of our lives.

Prayer: Lord, we know we sometimes fail to give you the best of ourselves. Help us to see that all good and perfect gifts are from you, the Father of lights, and that our gifts are meant to center our hearts on you. Amen.

Psalm of the Day: 16 The LORD is king forever and ever; the nations perish from his land. 17 O LORD, you hear the desire of the afflicted; you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear 18 to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more. (Psalm 10.16-18)

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