Obedience is tested only when we confront something we do not want to do. In I Samuel 15 it tells of God ordering King Saul to totally annihilate an enemy. Through Samuel, God told Saul:
“Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy everything that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.” I Samuel 15:3
Saul did go to battle. He did most of what God had commanded, yet he spared Agag, the king, and took home some cattle and sheep. Did Saul obey or disobey God? Look at the text: “Then the word of the Lord came to Samuel: ‘I am grieved that I have made Saul king, because he has turned away from me and has not carried out my instructions.’ I Samuel 15:10-11a Samuel confronted Saul, asking, “Why did you not obey the Lord?” and Saul tried to pass his actions off as obedience. “But I did obey the Lord,” Saul said. “I went on the mission the Lord assigned me.” I Samuel 15:19a,20a
Saul, you see, had the Cain Syndrome. He did the part of the command that came naturally—going to war—but where Saul’s will differed from God’s command, Saul chose his own way. It is all or nothing. God did not credit Saul with obedience, even though he had been victorious in battle and had carried out a large percentage of the commandment.
In the same way, God did not acknowledge Cain’s offering. God knows our hearts. Even though we give God some of the food—the convenient food we want to give Him—that is not being obedient to Him. He is asking you to go to the next level. Do not hold out. Rather, give Him everything He wants.