The word “Harvest” is a biblical word. It is also a word associated with a farming or an agricultural setting. Israel was an agricultural community. Christianity taking its background from Judaism, borrowed heavily a lot of Jewish ideologies and practices. Hence our usage of the word “Harvest,” even when we are not Farmers.
For us, “Harvest” represents every blessing that comes to us from God. Whether you are a civil servant, politician, banker, doctor, teacher, trader, hawker or whatever, every blessing or provision that comes to you is from God and is your “Harvest.”
Harvest Thanksgiving is, therefore, a time to publicly and corporately thank God with others.
The story of Cain and Abel in Genesis 4.1ff gives us the first example of Harvest Thanksgiving Service in the Bible. Let us note that both Cain and Abel knew that it was a good thing to come before the Lord with tokens of appreciation for all God’s numerous blessings. But the Bible showed us that the Offering of Abel was accepted by God, while that of Cain was rejected.
As we prepare to come before the Lord next week in our Harvest Thanksgiving Service, our meditation today is on this question: Why did God accept the offering of Abel and reject the offering of Cain? We may not have all the answers, but from the Scriptures, we can gain insights.
(1) ABEL GAVE HIMSELF FIRST
In Verses 4-5, the Bible said that God first accepted Abel Before accepting his offering. He rejected Cain, hence his offering was also rejected.
It is established all over the Scriptures that God looks at the heart and not on the physical things. God desires our salvation, dedication and righteousness more than our material gifts. Prophet Samuel said, “To obey is better than sacrifice” ( 1 Samuel 15.22B).
(2) ABEL GAVE HIS BEST TO GOD
Verse 4 said that Abel brought his “firstlings” and “the fat” (KJV). Abel’s offering was the best of what he had. He considered God worthy of his best and he gave it to God. He didn’t give God his leftovers. For many Christians, it is the other way round. They give their best to themselves first before considering God or the work of God. This attitude was the problem God had with his people in Haggai chapter one. Let us learn that we are here to serve God first and not ourselves.
(3) ABEL’S OFFERING WAS CAREFULLY PLANNED AND PREPARED
For Abel to give his “firstlings” means that he thought about it, checked what he had, selected the best, kept it aside and brought it before God. His giving was not impromptu and careless.
For him to give “the fat” thereof, it means it was a quality offering. Although your offering is between you and God, it should be an offering befitting the King of kings. You must remember that you are not just giving to the Church. Your offering is a Present to Deity.
(4) ABEL’S OFFERING DEMONSTRATED OVERFLOW OF GRATITUDE
The only thing that can make one give ones best to God is the understanding that everything came from Him in the first place. This is why you see different Christians respond to God in different ways and at different emotional levels. We must understand that our health, our salaries, our profits, our wealth, our achievements, positions and successes are not as a result of anything of our own. God warned Israel against such attitude (Deuteronomy 8.17-20). There are many far better than us that did not get to half of where we are. Let us show Overflowing Thanksgiving to God like Mary did in John 1.1-3.
(5) ABEL GAVE BY FAITH
Finally, let us look at what the Bible suggested in Hebrews 11.4 as why ABEL’S OFFERING was accepted by God: ABEL GAVE BY FAITH. Without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11.6). But what does it mean to give by Faith?
(I) It suggests that Abel may not have been in the best of position of prosperity at the moment, yet he still gave his best. He didn’t give “because of,” he gave “inspite of.”
(II) It means that Abel’s offering was not just his Thanksgiving, he made it a Seed for his next Harvest.
(III) His offering was a Prayer to God.
(IV) He gave with hope and expectations for a better and greater Harvest.
THE BENEFITS OF ABEL’S OFFERING
Hebrews 11.4 gave us two benefits that came from Abel’s offering to God:
(1) By Abel’s offering God counted him “righteous.”
(2) His offering also had a voice that spoke on his behalf before God.
(3) Even after his death, he is still being remembered.
May we give unto God, like Abel, our best, our fattest, our overflowing offerings. May we give by Faith an offering that speaks righteousness, deliverance, protection, prosperity and favours of God upon our lives in Jesus Name.