Hebrews 11 : 4, Genesis 4 : 1 – 16
The story of Cain and Abel is very disturbing to me. As a mother, I can’t even imagine how painful it must have been for Eve to lose one son to murder and another son to sin. Cain didn’t have a physical prison in which to spend his life; however, he had an emotional prison of being banned from the people he knew and never meeting success in his livelihood (farming). Let’s examine Abel’s story in Genesis 4.
We are not told how Cain and Abel knew what an appropriate sacrifice would be for God, but God’s reaction to each sacrifice shows us that they understood. Cain was the firstborn and gave God some of the items he grew in the field. Abel gave God the best portions of the firstborn in his flock. I think part of the issue was that God read their hearts. Abel was willing to give up the best of his first fruits, where Cain gave God “some of the fruits of the soil.” Hebrews 11:4 says, “By faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did.” God then instructed Cain to be on his guard for sin. Cain chose not to listen to God and murdered Abel.
There are some interesting points about Abel that are mentioned in a few places in the Bible. Genesis 4:10 says, “…Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground.” Matthew 23:35 says, “And so upon you will come all the righteous blood that has been shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Berekiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar.” Please read Hebrews 12 : 22 – 24. Hebrews 12:24 says, “To Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.” I find it very interesting that it is Abel’s blood that is mentioned and we are told of blood that speaks a better word. Genesis 4:10 makes me feel like Abel’s blood was calling for revenge, or punishment. However, we are told of a new covenant through Christ, whose blood speaks a much better word. What could that word be? I think it is forgiveness.
Abel knew by faith that a sacrifice was needed for justification. While Abel provided God “a better sacrifice,” God provided us the perfect sacrifice through Jesus and showed that He had power over death through Jesus’ resurrection. We need to believe by faith that Jesus’ blood “speaks a better word;” that is our justification.