In every family there always appears to be someone who is a bit different. Families are small communities that resemble the communities at large. Some family communities are caring and nurturing where help is available for those in need. If there is a problem, you are not isolated because the community comes together to resolve the issue. That family community is the life line for many members.
Then, there are other family communities that are not so nurturing. If you have a problem, you are on your own. These families do not provide any support in your hour of need. Many times, you cannot divulge your issue because they will make fun of you. There is no help for you and you have to manage your issue on your own.
For the most part, many family communities fall somewhere in the middle with members from both of the other groups. So you learn that when you have a problem, which members to have a conversation with and which members to avoid. So even in the imperfections of your family unit there is some measure of support when needed.
So each person has to navigate their family community. Unfortunately, there are some units that develop into an unhealthy environment. Instead of working together, there are unhealthy emotions. These emotions affect how members interact with each other. The first family on the earth had family issues. Many times sibling rivalry has it’s roots in parental attention. In some families, children compete for their parents attention. In this first family, the rivalry had nothing to do with the parents; the rivalry involved their relationship with God.
There were two brothers who were different. Genesis 4:2 says, “Abel was a herdsman and Cain a farmer.” That was wonderful because they complemented each other. Today, many families refrain from eating meat but in that time, it was component of their meal. Since there were only four people on the earth at this time, the variety was awesome. They were able to feed and clothe themselves with the fruit of their labor.
One day, they went before God to give an offering. Now there are some expectations when you give an offering. In 1 Samuel 13:9 it says, “So he demanded, “Bring me the burnt offering and the peace offerings!” And Saul sacrificed the burnt offering himself.” Needless to say, this offering was not accepted by God. You see, God has requirements for offerings. Saul broke some of the rules for offering. The priest, not the king, sacrificed the offering.
When Samuel arrived, he was not happy. Saul stepped out and stepped into the role of the priest and offered the sacrifice. He responded to Saul in verses 13-14, “How foolish!” Samuel exclaimed. “You have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you. Had you kept it, the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. But now your kingdom must end, for the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart.” Saul lost his job because he was violated the rules of the offering.
God takes offering seriously. If you want your offering to be accepted, you must do what God requires. So both Cain and Abel both brought their offering to God. However, God accepted Abel’s offering but rejected Cain’s. Cain was unhappy because his offering as rejected. So God had a conversation with him in verses 6-7, “God spoke to Cain: “Why this tantrum? Why the sulking? If you do well, won’t you be accepted? And if you don’t do well, sin is lying in wait for you, ready to pounce; it’s out to get you, you’ve got to master it.”
Cain was unhappy. Instead of taking the time to examine himself to see where he missed it, he became angry with his brother. His anger was so great, he slew his brother. That is the ultimate betrayal in any family. Acceptance is not based on another’s actions, it is based on you. God has standards. If you do what He requires, your offering will be accepted. If you choose to do it your way like Cain and King Saul, you will have to live with the consequences.