Why did God accept Abel’s offering, but not Cain’s? As a child, I just couldn’t get it. They both brought offerings to God. Why did God show such favoritism?
I was told by teachers at elementary school that we should do the best we could for God. God deserves the best. But didn’t Cain bring to God the very best of his crops?
When I became a Christian, somebody told me that God must have seen that Cain had a mean spirit, while Abel trusted God. One day, it dawned on me that the answer must be more obvious than that, and must be clearly visible in the text, in order for us to learn something from it.
Cain’s parents had made themselves clothes of fig leaves, in order to cover their own guilt. But this did not make them right with God. Instead, God gave them clothes of skin, which must have involved the death of an animal.
Abel’s offering involved the death of an animal. Blood was shed, to cover sin. Cain’s offering was not a sacrifice. He offered the best that he could do. But the Bible tells us that the best we can offer is as a “polluted garment” (Isaiah 64:6).
Cain didn’t get it, either. Arrogantly, he assumed that God should have been pleased with the best he could offer. But without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sin.