Heroes & Heroines of Faith Series Part 1: Abel
Thanks for joining me on this ride. Hebrews 11:4 tells us of Abel.
[Prompted, actuated] by faith Abel brought God a better and more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, because of which it was testified of him that he was righteous [that he was upright and in right standing with God], and God bore witness by accepting and acknowledging his gifts. And though he died, yet [through the incident] he is still speaking.
To get a better understanding of what the above text is about, let’s go back to the story of Abel as seen in Genesis 4:3-10.
Cain and Abel were the sons of Adam and Eve. Cain was a farmer who cultivated crops and Abel was into animals. Both of them brought offerings to God. Interestingly, the offering of Abel was described; “And Abel brought of the firstborn of his flock and of the fat portions…..” Genesis 4:4, but that of Cain wasn’t. In the end, Abel’s offering was accepted and Cain’s was rejected.
What made Abel’s offering accepted?
I’m not a theologian, but from my little research and from what I sense in my spirit, I feel these were the reasons.
- He gave his best. I believe the emphasis on Abel’s offering suggests that he didn’t just pick anything. He gave the best he had. Not only did he offer his first fruit (which is a metaphor for Jesus Christ), he also gave the best of it.
- He gave in faith. Without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”Romans 10:17. This second text makes me believe that he acted based on what he heard from God. He obeyed God to the letter. Anything done outside faith is done by sight (flesh) and that can be a sin.
- He was in right standing with God. The offering of a sinner is an abomination to God (Proverbs 15:8). Cain on the other hand I believe was unremorseful and blew the chance he had. Despite being rebuked by God in Genesis 4:7, he showed no sign of remorse and he didn’t repent.
- Not only was his offering a sacrifice, his life also became a sacrifice. He died for his belief.
Abel is bearing witness for or against my walk.
- Am I giving my best to God? David said in 2 Samuel 24:24 “…I will not sacrifice to the LORD my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing…”. This made me start thinking. Am I giving God my best? If my offering and service is placed side by side Abel’s, will mine be accepted or rejected like that of Cain? I don’t want us to relate this with seed offering only (of course it’s part of it), but let’s examine our time, strength, the way we do what God has told us to do, our jobs (yes, because we are to serve as unto the Lord), our roles as wives, as husbands, as children, as ministers, as leaders, as bloggers because we will give an account to God of what we did with our blog too. Will our service, if passed through the fire, come out alive or will the fire consume it? Will it go before God as a sweet smelling aroma or will the smell be the one that God doesn’t recognize?
- Am I giving in faith? Abel’s faith enabled him to be in tune with what was to come. He never knew that what he did was a symbol of what God was going to do in the future. Did you catch that? Faith makes us see beyond the now. Let me give a practical example. God might be leading you to deliver a message to someone. In your knowledge, that message may not make sense because everything seems fine with that person. But then because your faith is active, God opens your eyes to see what is to come in that person’s life. Few months or years later after delivering that message, you receive a phone call of how that message came to pass. This can only happen with faith because if you are to go by sight, the message won’t make any sense. So am I living a faith based walk or am I living by sight? Am I obedient to God?
- Am I in right standing with God? To be in right standing with God is a gift from God. Righteousness isn’t by works. It is something that God has given to us freely as a result of what Jesus did on the cross. Do I believe in this? Do I have faith that I am righteous because God has made me so? Am I trying to win God over by thinking that I am able to be righteous on my own? Am I attributing my righteousness to my works instead of grace?
- Am I willing to die for my faith? If i die today, will my story be like Abel’s?
Like I said in my introduction, these people walked on this planet. I would like to think that Cain’s evil heart didn’t just appear on the day of the offering. Abel must have been seeing traces of this bitterness. If my assumption is correct, it means Abel had to put up with trouble from his brother and yet his service to his brother was acceptable to God. Will God consider my service to my family members same? How do I handle family disputes? Do I allow God to lead me in this regard or do I rely totally on my emotions?
I love it when God shows me my real self as I study His word. I always consider the bible as a mirror for myself. It makes me see what I need to adjust and what I need to continue doing. Seeing I am nowhere near Abel, I have decided to be mindful of how I handle family dispute, mindful of what and how I present my service to God bearing in mind that this applies to my life in general and also be mindful that I am walking by faith and not by sight.
Has this ministered to you in any way? What are your decisions? Leave them in the comment section below.
See you tomorrow as we look at another great man called Enoch.
-Efua is a mentor and blogger. You can read more from her on her blog Grace Over Pain.