3: The First Altar
Posted: Thursday, May 29th, 2014Print
About Worship Forever Series
Follow Martha through the scriptures as she looks at what worship pleased God, and what worship He rejected. Find out what this means for your life today!
The Bible is an unfolding story of worship: Worshiping the wrong things, or worshiping God.
This Written Word is also a moving revelation of God’s response to worship. Worship that gains His favor and…worship that is rejected. By this meticulous revealing, He unshrouds who He is, what He requires, and especially, what He has done!
Adam and Eve built no altar. They heard God speak, lived before Him…but never built an altar. They spoke to Him and knew Him, but never built an altar. In their tragic punishment, in their fiery exile, still…they built no altar. Yet their second son did—the very first altar.
Cain, born first, was “tiller of the ground.” Abel, second son, “a keeper of flocks.”
In the course of time Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground. And Abel brought of the firstborn of his flock and of the fat portions. And the Lord had respect and regard for Abel and for his offering.
Genesis 4:3-4 AMP
Abel knew the meaning of sacrifice, the demand of God. Abel, the first one to understand.
How? The way we must all know. By listening and asking. What can I do about my sin, God? How can I calm this stormy conscience, unload this breaking weight of guilt?
In some part of his being, Abel heard, “Give Me a blood sacrifice. A life and a death alone can pay for sin and cover it from My holy eyes.” He heard…and he accepted. Abel knew the sting of sin else he would not have learned its solution.
Sin builds your first altar of worship. The sense of sin corners you to God and compels you to seek. Cain brought the gift rather than receiving the Gift. The first man ever born, would bargain his sin away. Buy his own forgiveness by the sweating evidence of fruit. My way, my works. “Appease and earn. Try and give.” But that is not an altar and is not worship…at least not worship of God.
But for Cain and his offering He (God) had no respect and no regard. So Cain was exceedingly angry and indignant, and he looked sad and depressed.
Genesis 4:5 AMP
Cain’s altar was a monument to his self-sufficiency. He needed nothing from God but the recognition of his own excellence, his high mastery of the earth God had cursed. Cain had conquered. He had bested God by labor and God must acknowledge it.
But God accepts no gifts, He being the Only Giver. There is no earning His favor. There is no merit in our labor toward Him and no exertion that affects His unchanging standard.
In amazing condescension, The Lord pleaded with Cain.
Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.”
Genesis 4:6-7 NASB
God called, He warned, He pleaded. But notice please, He did not bend. It is a blood offering…or nothing.
God would not bend, and Cain would not bow.
The serpent of Eden came again, this time as a very personage crouching at the door of Cain’s mind, waiting for consent to enter. Cain was caught between two intelligences: the Holy and the Evil. Offer blood, said the Holy. Take blood, said the Evil. The door of Cain’s unbowing mind opened by simple choice to the imagination of Evil, and the first murder was conceived.
Those two sons born of Adam built two altars, not only opposite from each other, but in opposition to each other. One built an altar on which to lay his weary sin. The other built a monument to his own proud effort.
Worship begins with Blood. Must begin with Blood. The first altar was an Altar of Blood, the giving of a life, to the killing of a life, to save a life. Blood only is your first altar of worship, for it is the first issue of God’s acceptance and the sole entry to His presence.
The firstborn man is the First Adam, Adam who gave the keys of Eden to Satan, and his first seed bowed to Evil before an altar. Adam, then Cain.
The Savior of the World is the Second Adam, of whom Abel is a type and picture of Jesus Christ, who wrenched the key of Paradise back from Satan by the acceptable offering of blood…His own!
Copyright © 2001 Martha Kilpatrick, Worship Forever