The Desire Test
It perhaps was a normal day when Cain and Abel met together to bring their offerings before the Lord. Genesis 4 leaves a lot of information about the event out: was this the first time they had made an offering to the Lord or had they both been giving the Lord an acceptable sacrifice, the very best they had in acts of appreciation for years already? What we do know is that on this occasion as both brothers brought their offerings to give to God that we are told, “Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat” but when it comes to Cain we just read “Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground.”
We can only use a little 'sanctified imagination' in assuming the reasons why Cain brought the offering he did that day, we will never exactly know why, or what motivated him to bring what was perhaps the leftovers of his fruits before the Lord, but we do know “the Lord respected Abel and his offering, but He did not respect Cain and his offering”.
As Cain lacked sincere, honest, healthy and godly desires in his offerings to the Lord, it doesn’t take very long to see the downward spiral of out of control desires and we witness an action committed that would forever change the life of this young man, as the blood of his brother drips from his hands: “and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him.” The action of murder was fulfilled from the unhealthy desires culminating in a cold heart that had wondered from the Lord.
It would be shocking if any one of us would commit such an act like Cain’s, but it is important to reflect, how far can unhealthy desires rob us from communion and closeness with the Lord? What happens when our desires become self-centred, egotistical, superficial and unbiblical? What happens when the desires of our hearts become more on getting for ourselves and less giving to the Lord what he demands, deserves and desires from us? Is it possible, that the sad downward spiral of Cain’s life be imitated in mine?
Dear believer, the Psalmist once wrote
“Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” Psalm 37:
As we reflect on our desires perhaps we need to take into account this preserving truth of delighting ourselves in the Lord as the solution to keeping out desires in check. We can take great delight in a time of relaxation, the next vacation, a new car, a special date with wife / husband, time with kids and the list can only grow but when was the last time you delighted yourself in the Lord? If delight seems more like duty then its time to get back to seeing how awesome He is and how worthy He is and then a self-correction of our desires will surely follow.
Kyle Wilson is commended with his wife to full time service in Nicaragua, from the assembly that meets in Carleton Gospel Hall, Vancouver. They are in fellowship in the assembly in El Valle, and has three young children.