“And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering: But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen?” Genesis 4:3-6
I remember growing up and hearing the words, “There are no short cuts to doing things the right way.” As a kid, I tried to always take short cuts in life. I thought I could skim a book before a test I didn’t study for, and I thought I could obey at the last minute and not get caught or in trouble. The F’s on my report cards and the spankings received proved that there were no short cuts or alternatives to doing what was right. I had to do things the right way or pay the price for my disobedience. I often had my own ideas of what i wanted to do that were contrary to what I was told to do.
When I was young, I was not akin to getting up early and regretted having to get up for school. I never realized that kindergarten lasted more than a day, and I was ready to go back to watching the Flintstones as I did before school had started. On typical school mornings, my mom would wake me up, and I would be up for a little bit then fall asleep on the floor. She would tell me to get off the floor and then I would saunter into the bathroom and fall asleep there. I had my own idea of what getting up meant but I was not obedient as I just found new ways to skirt the house penal code.
One particular morning, I was struggling with my sleeping on the floor routine but I was in for quite the surprise as I would come to find out. My dad had been traveling and out of town, so he was not at home or so I thought. My mom was getting on me to get up when I heard a voice that sounded a lot like my dad. The voice from the shadows said, “Saso, get up now!” I jumped up off the floor and was wide awake as if I had consumed 3 cups of Cuban coffee. It is funny how I never tried to evade the Mendez Revised statues as my mom never had much trouble with me from then on. I soon learned the beauty of setting my own alarm and getting up on my own. I wish I could say this was the last time I would have my own interpretation of what obedience was, but it seems I would have to face the consequences for trying to do things my own way instead of the right way.
I think of Cain and how he desired to worship and sacrifice to God, but he did not care much for what God wanted or commanded. Cain came with a proud and unbelieving heart and desired to sacrifice God in his own way. Abel came with a humble heart and was sincere in his worship to God. He presented an offering that was pleasing to God, and He was obedient to what God had commanded. I Samuel 15:22 states, “And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.” God is more concerned about our obedience than our sacrifice. God commands things to be done correctly and in obedience to Him. Worship was not intended for us but for Him. Obedience is not open to our own interpretation but it must align exactly with what God has said.
Where are you today friend? Are you trying to do things your own way or are you living in obedience to God? Are you trying to seek God with a prideful heart or do you approach him humbly and with a heart of obedience? Does God have respect unto your worship or do you not care? May we learn to fully obey God in all things we do, and may we not take short cuts in the area of obedience. Anything that is not full obedience is disobedience and is not pleasing to almighty God. What will you decide today? Will you be upset or will you make things right? May our focus always be in pleasing God and may our actions bring Him glory.
Stay in the fight!