ABEL – How did Abel know the perfect offering (Lesson 4)

Genesis 4:1–5 (KJV 1900)
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.

Two brothers with two different gifts brought to their LORD God as offerings to honor Him. We already have seen how Cain’s gift was offered to God from the fruits of natural life labor from the cursed ground. Abel, however, brought a totally different type of offering to Him. His offering was the “firstlings” of his flock; the choicest of the herd of sheep that Abel watched over.

Abel was just as intelligent as his brother Cain. They were brothers, and they received the same amount of smarts from their parents. Yet Abel figured out the best gift to offer the LORD God, while his brother Cain figured out the absolutely worst gift to give to Him. What was the difference between the gifts? Abel’s gift was life created by the LORD God; Cain’s gift was fruit created by man from cursed ground.

When the offerings are defined as life from God in Heaven vs. fruit from man in cursed ground, the differences are profound! “No intelligent man would ever offer fruits from a cursed ground, when the choicest, most perfect gifts of God-created life are available. Yet that is exactly what happened (and something we see happens even in the offerings today!) One brother figured out what a perfect offering to God would be, and the other had a completely wrong idea about what would please God.

Since Abel and Cain both used intelligence to prepare their offerings to Him, and both desired to bring offerings to the LORD God, and both sought the LORD God’s pleasure, then what difference in their thought processes changed the offerings? The motive is apparent:

While Cain brought his personal works as a present to Him; Abel brought the works of God. Cain knew the LORD God as an oppressive master who had condemned mankind to toil and labor; his fruits came from the toil of his hands and were given in the most stubborn and arrogant way to his God in order to keep punishment away.

Abel knew the LORD God intimately. He knew the LORD God in his interior parts. Abel knew that he could not do one work, or create one thing from the cursed, dying ground that would be pleasing to the LORD God. Abel knew that it was only the creations of life by the LORD God that could honor Him. Products of the cursed, dying ground would never be worthy of a gift given to Him. Abel confidently knew that it could only be the purest forms of life, created by Him, that would magnify His glory, and be accepted as a blessing.

While Cain thought of the LORD God as an oppressive master who kept His thumb upon mankind to make their life tough, Abel looked upon Him as all-knowing, all-powerful, always present Creator of all things, filled with glory that mere man could never duplicate. Abel was filled with humbleness, awe, love, worship and respect toward the LORD God, while Cain’s heart flowed with resentment, fear, arrogance and entitlement.

Don’t ever be fooled with the nature of the gifts offered to the LORD God. Abel’s gift and Cain’s gift were purposely chosen, with full intelligence and intent. Abel chose to offer the only gift worthy to be given to the LORD God; it was only the perfect creation of life by the LORD God that was worthy to be given.

Abel did not assume all life to be equal in worth and glory, however. He chose from the “firstlings of the flock and the fat thereof.” It was the untainted, pure first creations of life that held the most potential to worshipful offering, and it was the first creatures of the created flock which were given back to God in awe-filled worship of Him by Abel.

This confident knowing of the offerings pleasing to the LORD God defines the “Faith of Abel.” There is only one way that anyone can have this type of faith. A true worshipper of the LORD God must worship Him from the inward parts, and know His nature intimately. Offerings given to the LORD God must always reflect His glory; only life works created by Him have this potential. Those with the “Faith of Abel” know that the gifts derived from the curse land and handiwork of man will never please the LORD God.

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 11:4)

It was this perfect offering to the LORD God, a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, which proved to the LORD God that Abel was righteous. Abel sacrificed the best of life given to him by his LORD God, by offering it back to Him in worship, and God knew him through his gift.

Abel loved the LORD God without promise of eternal life. Abel worshipped the LORD God with the awe and respect of a righteous man without regard to entitlement or promises that would benefit him. He worshipped God through his offerings of the best of life without expectations of anything to follow. Unlike Cain who expected reward from God for his hard work in the cursed ground, Abel gave back to Him because he intimately worshipped the LORD God.

It is that same “Faith of Abel” that gives believers today the ability to confidently offer the fruits of His works that will please the LORD God. It is these faithful offerings that reveal the righteousness of those whom offer the most excellent sacrifices, and offer the shadows of deeper faith that we will explore next.