“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)
Abel, Adam’s second son, was a faithful, God-honoring man, but he was murdered by his older brother, Cain. From Genesis 4 we know that Cain’s bloodless sacrifice was not accepted by God, while Abel’s animal sacrifice was accepted. Cain’s pride, anger, and rejection of God’s offer of restoration resulted in the murder of obedient Abel. Our text tells us that Abel “being dead yet speaketh.” What does he say? To whom does he speak?
First of all, he spoke to God. “The voice of thy brother’s [Abel’s] blood crieth unto me from the ground” (Genesis 4:10). Many have followed Abel in martyrdom, and they all cry, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?” (Revelation 6:10).
Secondly, he spoke to Cain. “And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother’s blood from thy hand” (Genesis 4:11). Cain was banished by God: “a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth” (v. 12), and every spot of ground on which he placed his foot from then on would be crying out to him, indicting him of his sin.
Thirdly, Abel speaks to us. His witness reminds us that men must come to God in obedient faith, for Abel obeyed God’s instructions regarding sacrifice (4:3-4). He offered the sacrifice in faith that God would deem him “righteous” (today’s text). The acceptance of the blood sacrifice and the rewards of his brother’s disobedience speak eloquently of the “wages of sin.” May God give us ears to hear Abel’s timely testimony. JDM