The Testimony Of Abel

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The Testimony Of Abel

The Testimony Of Abel

Genesis 4:1  And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD.
2  And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.
3  And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD.
4  And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering:
5  But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.
6  And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen?
7  If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.
8  And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.

Genesis 3 tells us that Adam’s disobedience brought major changes to God’s creation. The effects of that sin was detrimental to all of creation. The ones who have the privilege and responsibility of choosing are human beings and angels. Angels can choose to follow God or not. However, angels cannot be forgiven and restored back to a right relationship with God.
Adam was given clear instructions, and in fact commands regarding what he should do and what he should not do. Adam began life obeying God. He named all the animals and God was pleased with what he did. Not long after he was created, Adam chose to reject God’s command and he chose to eat of the fruit of the one tree God forbad him of eating from. That sin of disobedience plunged the entire creation into a state of chaos. The entire creation is now groaning to be redeemed.
We know from the Scriptures that there is no redemption for this earth. God has declared that the heavens that we now see and the earth we now live on will be destroyed by fire. God will create new heavens and a new earth.
However, within this cursed creation, God did provide redemption for man. Man was created a little lower than the angels.

Psalm 8:5  For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.

God gave man a special place in His creation. Man chose to reject that special place and became a sinner.

Hebrews 2:9  But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.

In order for man to be forgiven, a perfect man had to come to die and shed His blood for wicked sinners. The Bible tells us that “man” is Jesus Christ. When Adam sinned, God showed him that the shedding of blood was required to provide the means of forgiveness.
In chapter 4 we read that after God drove Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden, they still had the capacity to be fruitful and multiply. God judged them and life became more difficult for them, but they would still bring children into the world.
We read that when Eve bore Cain, she acknowledged that the LORD had blessed her with a man. In verse 2 we read that Eve conceived again and bore a second son, Abel. These two boys grew up and chose a vocation. Abel was a keeper of sheep and Cain was a tiller of the ground. Both choices were acceptable to God. However, one would provide the necessary means for the proper offering to God. Fruits and vegetables do not have blood. They have juices, but not blood.
In verse 3 we see that Cain chose to remember the LORD and he chose to bring an offering of the fruit of the ground to the LORD. In verse 4 we read that Abel also brought an offering. His offering was of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. Abel chose the best of his sheep for an offering to the LORD.
Cain and Abel obviously knew what God required of them. God never drops man into a vacuum and then holds him accountable for His righteous standard. He provides all that is needed for man to choose wisely.
In the New Testament God gives us some further information about Abel’s offering.

Hebrews 11:4  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 12:24  And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.

It was not that Cain did not offer a sacrifice. His sacrifice cost him something, however, his sacrifice was not acceptable to God.
In Hebrews 12:24 it seems that Abel’s sacrifice was related to bringing a sin offering. It is contrasted there with Jesus’ blood sacrifice, which we know was for the remission of sin.
Cain and Abel chose their occupation. However, when it came time to make an offering, they needed to understand that only a blood sacrifice would be acceptable to God. Cain demonstrated the rebellion that is bound in the heart of so many. He decided to ignore God’s will, but he wanted to be religious. He was, after all, born with that desire to worship. As a lost person, his “worship” was a form of “self worship”. He expected God to accept this idolatry.
God showed both Cain and Abel, that there was only one acceptable sacrifice at this time. Cain chose to make a wrong sacrifice and the LORD rejected his sacrifice. We do not know if he chose the best of his fruit or not. However, it did not matter. His best was not good enough for God.
Abel brought of the best of his flock. He did not choose the runt of the crop. He chose a sheep that was fat and healthy.
The LORD was pleased with his offering. As we noted earlier, Abel made a more excellent sacrifice because it was in accordance with God’s law. The sacrifices were not just an exercise in religious expression. They were to be a reminder of the necessity of the shed blood in order to please the LORD.
Cain refused to humble himself and go to his brother and purchase the proper item for a proper sacrifice. He chose to become angry. We read that he was very wroth. You may have witnessed someone who is very angry. Their face turns red and they do things that are not rational.
God knew what Cain was doing and He intervened in Cain’s life here. He is a merciful God and He gave Cain the opportunity to check his attitude. Cain was reminded that he had the opportunity to deal with his sinful heart at that time. He could deal with that right there and he would be forgiven. Sin did not have to have the mastery over him. Cain had the opportunity to get this right. He could make a proper offering and get rid of that burning anger that he was revealing.
Cain chose to talk with his brother after God spoke to him. He did not deal with his anger, and while talking with his brother, he killed him. Abel was not the problem here. All that Abel did was obey God. Cain chose not to obey God. The LORD had already spoken to Cain about his attitude and how to fix the problem he was facing. Going after his brother would not solve anything. It would just make matters worse.
Cain made another wrong choice and became a murderer. We learn here that when we take matters into our own hands, we make a mess of things. Cain chose false religion over true religion. He chose pride over humility. He chose jealousy over blessing. He chose to reject wise counsel and listened to the father of lies.
There are many people today who are religious. They have that inherent desire to worship. They do not know the true God and choose a god of their own making. Their false god cannot satisfy them and so they need to add all kinds of distractions to try to dull the effects of the guilt they live under. They choose to go where the teaching is man-centred, rather than God-centred. They choose the world’s music rather than that which pleases God. They want to exalt themselves, rather than exalt the true God. They may not go and murder those who choose to do right, but they take offence to being offered wise counsel. They ignore and even reject the opportunity to be corrected and go the right way. They justify themselves by casting doubt upon the sure Word of God.
Cain did not gain anything by being a stubborn, self-willed man. He brought further judgment upon himself. Abel lost his physical life because he chose to obey the LORD. However, as we noted from the book of Hebrews, his testimony lives on, while Cain is used as a warning to all people.
Today, as with Cain and Abel, we all begin as lost sinners. We too must choose whom we will serve. We all begin by serving self. It is only through the acknowledging that there is one true God and one true Saviour and turning to that true God and being forgiven and saved that we can do what is right.
We need to follow the example of Abel and do what is right. Life is much more than what we see with the naked eye. Life is found in knowing and serving Christ.
Pastor Bartel

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