Hall of Faith: Abel, the Genuine

I am excited about this new series we are starting today.  If you turn to Hebrews 11, you will find the Hall of Faith, which begins with many individuals we recognize from the Old Testament.  The author of Hebrews is unknown, but the writer definitely knew about the scrolls and scriptures and lives of these religious giants. 

Today, we start by exploring the lives of those names and described in this list.  From there I hope we will be able to explore others who have made a difference over the centuries to be included in the Hall of Faith.  

 

Abel, the Genuine

We all know the story of Cain and Abel. Cain became angry at his brother, Abel, and murdered him.

Abel gave with a genuine heart

Genesis 4 tells us the story of Cain and Abel. We are told “Jehovah had respect unto Abel and to his offering.”

We do not know what either brother offered before God, but one did so with a genuine heart and one did not. God honored the one that did, however his brother resented the respect he {Abel} earned from God. The Wycliff commentary says Abel’s sacrifice more literally means, “a much more sacrifice;” that is, a more full or complete sacrifice; a better sacrifice. The meaning is, that it had in it much more to render it acceptable to God. In the estimate of its value, the views of him who offered it would be more to be regarded than the nature of the offering itself.

Cain was jealous of his brother

Cain became jealous of Abel and killed his brother. He then tried to hide his crime from God, but Jehovah already knew what had happened.

Cain’s actions are often our focus on the story however, Abel is the first person mentioned in the Hall of Faith found in Hebrews 11.

The name Abel means breath and vapor.

He was the second son of Adam and Eve.

The book of Genesis tells us that Abel was a keeper or feeder of sheep.

Jesus even mentioned Abel in his teachings. In Matthew 23:35, he refers to “the blood of Abel the righteous”. A lookup of the word righteous tells us “morally right or virtuous.”

Cain murdered his brother

No words of Abel’s are recorded in scripture, but we are told God said to Cain in Genesis 4:10, “the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground.”

So the voice of Abel cried out for vengeance.

In Hebrews 11:4, we are told “By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he had witness borne to him that he was righteous, God bearing witness in respect of his gifts: and through it he being dead yet speaketh.”

So what do we know about Abel from this?

God honored his sacrifice more than Cain’s. We don’t know why other than Abel gave with a genuine heart.

So what do we know about Abel:

Abel earnestly worshiped the Lord

  1. God considered him righteous
  2. He gave with a grateful heart
  3. His character was exemplary
  4. He was a man of genuine faith
  5. He gave God his very best
  6. He was the first martyr
  7. He continues to speak from beyond the grave

Even though Abel died as a martyr, his life still speaks today of his strengths. Abel was a man of faith, righteousness and obedience.

His life of giving with a genuine heart of faith is a lesson we can all learn.

Do you give with a genuine spirit?

 

*Pictures from FreeBibleImages.org