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Righteous Abel!
Christian Devotional by Pastor Cecil Thompson

Cecil Thompson

Hebrews 11:4

"By faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. By faith he was commended as a righteous man, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith he still speaks, even though he is dead."

In Matthew 21:28-31, Jesus told the parable of two sons. He asked both to go and work in the vineyard. The first refused but later changed his mind and went. The second son said he would go but he did not go. He asked the hearers which of the two did the will of his father? The answer from His hearers was the first.

Doing what is right in the sight of God is more than mere words. That does not mean that we are not to speak words of faith, but we certainly must follow them up by faithful action. The book of Hebrews presents a gallery of men and women who were faithful to the Lord by their lives. They are true heroes and heroines of the faith and we need to spend time considering what they did, or were, that makes them examples of faith.

Abel was the second man born in the world. Adam was created by God, Eve was fashioned from a rib taken from man, and Cain was their firstborn son, followed by his brother, Abel. We need to stop, close our eyes, and think what it was like at this early stage of man's life on the planet that God had prepared for them.

God had created a paradise for man that was beyond anything we can imagine. Just think---no weeds, perfect weather, harmonious relationship, animals were no threat, no sickness and no death. Got the picture? But then Adam and Eve sinned and were forced out of the Garden of Eden, weeds began to grow, work was essential to survive, sweat poured from the brow, pain was experienced, and death became a reality, both physically and spiritually.

In chapter four of Genesis, we are told that Adam lay with his wife and she became pregnant and gave birth to a son named Cain. Later she gave birth to a second son named Abel. We are not told very much about life during those early days, but a number of things may be inferred.

Each of these two sons of Adam and Eve had their own occupations. In the second part of verse two, it is Abel, the younger son that is mentioned first. We are told that he kept flocks. He was a shepherd of the sheep. David realized in Psalm 23, that "- - the LORD is my shepherd."

It was possible that in the times alone with his sheep, Abel communed with God and gained a knowledge of what would be pleasing in His sight. Abel seems to have developed a sweet attitude and a desire to do what was right in the sight of the Lord. He must have considered what he could offer to the Lord that would be acceptable.

After Adam and Eve had sinned they were aware that they were naked and tried to deal with their guilt by fashioning aprons made from fig leaves. After pronouncing judgment on them and their seed, God made garments of skin. That implies the shedding of blood to cover the sin of Adam and Eve, and foreshadowed the shedding of the blood of His own dear Son, Jesus Christ, to cover our sin.

Abel was a keeper of the flocks. In some manner he knew that the sacrifice of the most dear and precious of the flock would please God. In contrast, Cain was a worker of the soil. We might refer to him as a dirt farmer. There were no John Deere tractors back then, and his work was hard and laborious. We have no idea of the type of plants he planted, weeded, and harvested. It appears that in the day to day labors of life, that Cain developed a bitter, resentful attitude. There is no mention as to why he brought his offering of "SOME" fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. Not the first and best, but just "some" of the fruits of the ground.

The words describing Abel's offering start with the word "BUT" in contrast to the offering of Cain. Abel brought the fat portions of the firstborn of his flock. Again this is a foreshadowing of the Firstborn of the Father who would be sacrificed as the supreme payment of sins. Abel demonstrated faith in God. He knew somehow what would be pleasing to God and he gave his best.

God was pleased with Abel's sacrifice, but not with Cain's. The result of Cain's bitterness and resentment was the murder of his brother. That is how his faith speaks to us today. We do not need others around us to hold our hand and try to map out our life---we need to spend time with God.

Abel is a true hero of the faith. He was close enough to God to know what would be pleasing to Him. Hebrews 11 says his life of faith still speaks, even though he is dead. Will your life still speak of faith after you are dead? Does it speak of faith while you are still alive? Trust, believe, and act in faith!

Blessings dear hearts. Walk with God today. Trust Him completely and be a blessing.

--- Pastor Cecil


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