Living on opposite sides of a crooked line, Abel and Cain were diametrically opposed.
Cain was the oldest, “a tiller of the ground,” taking after his father Adam. But he didn’t have his father’s heart, and brought an offering that wasn’t his best. He brought “fruit of the ground,” produce from his occupation, but was it a harvest he knew wasn’t fit for his own table? He didn’t choose something excellent, as if giving a hand-me-down. God wasn’t pleased and detected something crooked.
Crooked. The dictionary explains this Middle English word that originated in the 1250s to mean something bent or curved. It later came to mean someone dishonest as a crook. Cain’s offering may not have been dishonest, and all he had to do was straighten this bend in his offering. What he did next was more than deceitful.
Abel was a keeper of sheep—a shepherd (a person who herds, tends, and guards the sheep). In the New Testament we see Jesus as the Good Shepherd. He brought an offering “from the firstlings of his flock,” also from his occupation. It wasn’t old, and with this present, Abel gave up the future offspring that offering would have generated. Being a newborn, it was most likely adorable (as little ones are) and hard to part with. It was an extravagant, costly gift.
However, there was a crooked line, and Cain remained on the other side. As most of you know, he killed his brother.
The lines are there today. Many don’t cross over to the straight though they can. What did He say? “If you do well, won’t you be accepted?”
Isaiah 45:2 says He makes the crooked paths straight. He fashions good from our crooked lines.