I thought God was not pleased with Cain's sacrifice because it was not an animal; there was no blood involved. God's choice of sacrifice to cover Adam and Eve's sin was a blood sacrifice to cover their shame. It would seem that Cain worked harder to produce the sacrifice he offered to God than Abel did. Farming back then must have been very hard. I wonder why Cain didn't trade Abel crops for livestock?
When Cain brought his sacrifice to God, he had worked to produce what he brought. Let’s examine the scriptures to see why God was not pleased with what Cain offered. You are correct that God provided Adam and Eve with some clothes to wear. The clothes God gave then were made out of animal skins.
The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them. (NASB) Genesis 3:21
This implies that God actually made the first sacrifice. I believe that God did this for Adam’s and Eve’s sins. He made the last sacrifice too! The last sacrifice was Jesus Christ who died for our sins. Since Jesus was the perfect sacrifice, there is not a need for any more sacrifices to be made.
But the sacrifices of Cain and Abel were very different. Their sacrifices appear to be sacrifices for their own sin. Cain was a farmer and Abel raised sheep. Since Genesis 3:15 predicted Jesus’ victory over Satan at the cross, Cain and Abel must have understood the need for sacrifices. The book of Hebrews reveals this truth when it says that Abel’s offering was an act of faith.
By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous, God testifying about his gifts, and through faith, though he is dead, he still speaks. (NASB) Hebrews 11:4
By faith Abel offered a sacrifice. He was looking forward to Jesus’ death. They understood the need for sacrifices. Consequently, Cain and Abel gave offerings to God. Cain gave God an offering from his garden and Abel from his flock.
Again, she gave birth to his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of flocks, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. So it came about in the course of time that Cain brought an offering to the LORD of the fruit of the ground. Abel, on his part also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions. And the LORD had regard for Abel and for his offering; but for Cain and for his offering He had no regard. (NASB) Genesis 4:2-5
Heart of Desire
Why was God not pleased with Cain’s offering? Did Cain work harder than Abel? Is farming harder than raising animals? Are animals more expensive than vegetables? Which one is more costly? The important truth is that God does not reward us according to how hard we work or how much we give, but according to our desire, or heart, for Him. Our actions are windows to our inner hearts. God was looking for a blood sacrifice. God was looking for a heart that wanted to please Him. He was not looking for a man’s hard work or a man’s wealth. Therefore, He was not pleased with Cain’s sacrifice or offering, but He was pleased with Abel’s. Why give God something that He did not want?
Why did Cain not trade some of his crops for some animals? We do not know, except that it appears he did not really want to please God. He wanted to do as he wished. He was independent. It appears that his real problem was a heart that did not care for God’s wishes or care about Him. We must remember that God wants us to believe in Jesus Christ first, and then He wants your heart’s love, care, and passion. He wants a relationship with you. Learn more on the page Searching for God.