cain and abelThe title of the devotional is basically a paraphrasing of what Paul said of Abel in Hebrews 11:

By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.

Hebrews 11:4 

It is a very poetic phrase, and the meaning of it seems easily understood:

Both brothers offered sacrifice to the Lord, yet only one was regarded as righteous (Genesis 4:3-5). Why did God delight in Abel’s gift but not Cain’s? Paul says Able offered his “by faith.”

The phrase “by faith” is modifying the way in which the sacrifice was offered, but that’s not to say the actual contents of the offering were unimportant. On the contrary, it was because Able offered by faith that he offered the correct sacrifice. Remember that Paul says that faith comes by hearing the word of God (Romans 10:17).

Abel offered “by faith” because he heard and obeyed the Word of God. It’s reasonable to assume that his parents, Adam and Eve, instructed him (and Cain) on how to offer such sacrifices to God. Abel acknowledged and obeyed the commands and thus he offered “by faith”.

His brother did not offer by faith because he did not follow the Word of God. For whatever reason, he chose to disregard and disobey.

For his faith Abel died, but because he was obedient to God, his death still speaks today. What does it say?

His death says that obeying God is more important than what is easy.  Cain offered plants as his gift to the Lord. Such an offering was certainly easier to come by than an animal sacrifice (no wrangling, no blood-letting, etc), but “easy” doesn’t necessarily mean “right.”

His death says that obeying God is more important than family. How sad that Can chose to be consumed by bitterness and anger toward his brother. A person’s relationship with God is not tethered to ones family. If mom and dad or brother and sister refuse to serve God a faithful child of the Lord must still do what is right. Even though it cost him a brother, Abel lived a faithful life.

His death says that obeying God is more important than life itself. Would Abel have offered his sacrifice if he knew his brother would kill him? There is no doubt in my mind. A man of faith is not concerned with what may happen to him in this life. This life is not guaranteed to us, however long we have is what we have. What we do with it is what matters. Abel chose to use his (albeit short) life in service to God.

Though he is dead, his life and death speak to us, thousands of years later, and remind us that obeying God is more important than anything else.