Day Five: Abel

Written by Ray Smith

Why is Abel listed in the Bible as a man of faith? Why is he listed alongside the giants of faith, like Abraham and Noah in the faith ” roll of honour ” in Hebrews 11?  For one simple reason. He made an offering to God that was acceptable.

We don’t have much information about Abel. In Genesis 4 we are told:

  • Abel was a son of Adam and Eve, and brother to Cain.
  • Abel was a sheep farmer (His brother was a grower of cereals and vegies)
  • Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock as an offering to God. (His brother made an offering to God of some of the fruits of the soil – Gen 4:3-4)
  • God accepted Abel’s offering, but not Cain’s.
  • In anger Cain murdered Abel.

The act that enshrines Abel as a man of faith in perpetuity is his acceptable offering.

“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 offering. By faith he still speaks” (Hebrews 11:4)

Why did God look favourably on Abel’s offering and not Cain’s? One view is that his offering was a blood sacrifice and Cains wasn’t. However, in the Old Testament, offerings didn’t have to be animal sacrifices. The Bible prescribed a range of acceptable offerings including grain offerings. (Leviticus 1).

The significance of Abel’s offering was that it was a “first fruits offering”. He offered to God the best of the firstborn of his flocks. The first and best of what he had.

It’s a faith action to take the first and best of what we have and offer it to God. Not what is left over after we have taken and used what we want. This is how Abel still speaks to us today.

The challenge is to offer the first and best of my income. To devote the best part of my time to the Lord. To regard all my resources as belonging to God and offer to Him whatever is required in our church and for His kingdom.

It’s a big step of faith to offer to God our first and best – and trust Him to supply whatever we may need after we have given it.