We all make choices. Hebrews 11:4 reminds us of the first family and the very different choices the brothers made.
“By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks.”
The more complete story is found in Genesis 4:1-16.
ONE AND NOT THE OTHER
At first glance, Cain and Abel look similar. They both were hard workers. They both brought sacrifices to God. But God paid heed to one and not the other.
Both brothers had heard the first-hand account of living in the Garden, the terrible choice their parents had made, and about the consequences. They also must have been told of the need for a blood sacrifice, which was a picture of the Messiah (Redeemer) who would come. Hebrews 9:22 tells us, “Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.”
Abel realized his great need and brought the sacrifice God required. It was a picture of the coming Messiah. God paid heed. Cain, on the other hand, thought he could win God’s favor by bringing things he had carefully grown and tended. It was a “look at me” moment. “Look at what I’ve done.” …and when God paid no heed he became angry.
God tried to reason with Cain. He pointed out his sin and encouraged him to master it (repentance). God held out hope to Cain. Cain would have none of it. He went from being very angry, to bringing his brother out in the field with him where he killed him. His actions spoke louder than his sacrifice.
Titus 1:16 gives a perfect explanation.
“They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient, and worthless for any good deed.”
Once more God approached Cain.
“Where is your brother Abel?”
It was another opportunity to repent. Instead, he deflects and lies.
“I do not know, am I my brother’s keeper?” (Gen. 4:9)
God confronted Cain with the truth. Cain knew what he had done. For his actions, he would be cursed. He would no longer have the ability to produce from the ground. The very thing for which he was so proud was taken away. He was destined to be a wanderer all of his days.
Cain responded by complaining, not repenting. He was sorry about his situation and the punishment, but not his sin. Still, God granted him protection throughout his earthly life by putting a mark of protection on him. Sadly, Cain was not concerned about his eternal soul, and he “went out from the presence of the Lord.”
LIVE BY FAITH/FIND FAVOR
Abel lived and died for his faith. He was killed because he was favored by God.
Which brother are we like?
- Cain, who proudly thought he was good enough to approach God on his own merits or,
- Abel, who realized his great need and humbly brought the sacrifice that God required.
“For it is by grace that you are saved, through faith. This does not depend on anything you have achieved, it is the free gift of God; and because it is not earned no man can boast about it. “ (Ephesians 2:8-9, Phillips)
For further study, read: Genesis 4:1-16; Proverbs 21:27; I John 3:12; Hebrews 12:24
Faith in the Creator (https://bc4women.org/2018/11/faith-in-the-creator/)
Faith Crisis (https://bc4women.org/2018/11/faith-crisis/)