*This semester in Bible Study, we are digging into heroes of the faith from Hebrews 11. This blog will be the first in a series sharing about the men and women we study each week. I pray these will be a blessing and encourage your own study of scripture to learn more of what the Lord would teach you individually in your walk of faith.
Abel. Most of us know him as the second son born to Adam and Eve or the brother Cain killed. But up until recently, I admit I didn’t know much else. His mention in Genesis 4 is short, so it seems that he wasn’t all that significant. Until…we find he is the first man worthy of being listed in Hebrews 11. And the question is, why is he there?
Hebrews 11:4 says:
“It was by faith that Abel brought a more acceptable offering to God than Cain did. Abel’s offering gave evidence that he was a righteous man, and God showed his approval of his gifts. Although Abel is long dead, he still speaks to us by his example of faith.”
Though he’s dead, he still speaks. Wow, I couldn’t wait to see what he said! How his words would impact my heart.
But y’all, when we got to Genesis 4 and read, guess what we found? He never spoke a word. At least not any recorded in scripture. All we have is the record of one event in his life:
“…When they grew up, Abel became a shepherd, while Cain cultivated the ground. When it was time for the harvest, Cain presented some of his crops as a gift to the Lord. Abel also brought a gift—the best portions of the firstborn lambs from his flock. The Lord accepted Abel and his gift, but he did not accept Cain and his gift. This made Cain very angry, and he looked dejected.” Genesis 4:2-5
That’s it. One seemingly insignificant offering, probably among many, to the Lord. But then, I looked back at Hebrews 11:4, and I saw it. “…he still speaks to us by his example of faith.” It wasn’t about the words, y’all. It was about his faith in action..
Two things we can learn from Abel are this:
1.Actions, many times, speak louder than words.
“…Cain presented some of his crops as a gift to the Lord. Abel also brought a gift—
the best portions of the firstborn lambs from his flock.” Gen.4:3-4
Cain gave some, but Abel gave his best: the firstborn, along with what other translations tell us were the “fat portions.” Abel made a sacrifice. Cain made an offering. It was the heart behind the action that mattered, y’all. The humble action of faith Abel carried out “spoke“. And that is the challenge to us today. Do our actions leave a legacy that will still be “speaking” when we are gone?
2.Doing the right thing does not go unnoticed.
“…The Lord accepted Abel and his gift, but he did not accept Cain and his gift. This made Cain very angry, and he looked dejected.“Why are you so angry?” the Lord asked Cain. “Why do you look so dejected? You will be accepted if you do what is right. But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you…” Gen.4:4-7
The Lord never tells us that Abel did what is right, but we can infer that from this passage. And the question is, what did he do so right that Cain did so wrong? And y’all, I think we see it in Cain’s reaction the the Lord’s rebuke. He became angry. A humble heart would have apologized and asked the Lord’s forgiveness. But instead, pride took over, opening a door for Satan to gain a foothold, that ultimately led to the murder of his only brother.
Abel possessed a heart of humility, y’all. That heart led to the sacrifice that became the action of faith that still speaks today.
May we all have the courage to act out our faith, do the right thing, and leave a legacy that speaks long after we are gone.