Genesis 4:1 And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD.
2 And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.
3 And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD.
4 And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering:
5 But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.
6 And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen?
7 If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.

Introductory Thoughts

The Lord is just as concerned with why a man does what he does as He is concerned with what the man does. Many times the best way to expose one’s motives involves asking and answering the simple question, “Why?” It was this question that the Lord asked to identify the motive of Cain’s anger (Genesis 4:6). The Lord used the same question to shed light on the motive for the disobedience of His people in 2 Chronicles 24:20. The Lord does not ask in order to gain an understanding for Himself. Rather, He asks man questions so that man might examine his own heart for the motives behind his actions. This same question will most likely resurface in some way at the judgment seat of Christ when men’s motives are most thoroughly examined.

Devotional Thoughts

• (For children): God is aware of why we do what we do (1 Samuel 2:3b; Jeremiah 17:10). Compare what these people gave to the work of God: 1 Chronicles 29:17 and Acts 5:1-5; 7-9. Whose hearts were right and who wanted to impress others?
• (For everyone): Take some time to look up the word why in the Bible. What verses stand out as ones where the Lord asked men why they did something?
• The question why causes us to look inward. Why do you serve the Lord? Why do you live a holy life? Why do you do any particular act? If you are not living a holy life or serving the Lord, why not?

Prayer Thoughts

• Ask God to show you why you do what you do.
• Thank God for the opportunity to perfect your motives here.