“By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous. God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks.”
Two sacrificial offerings are under consideration in this verse. First, there is the offering of Abel, and then there is the offering of Cain. There has been much discussion about what was different in the two offerings that made God pleased with one and not with the other. Since the Bible doesn’t tell us, we have to look at the possibilities open to us. Let’s start by getting the facts. Both brothers brought God an offering. Both brought offerings from their labor. Both of their labors were God blessed. There is no indication that a sheepherder was more important in God’s sight than a farmer. There is no indication that God wants only lambs and not grain. Both are addressed in the Old Law.
There is no indication that God pre-favored Abel because of any physical characteristic that he manifested. What indication there is, centers around the behavior in regard to the offerings. God’s question to Cain was not about the offering so much as it was about the one offering. “If you do well, will you not be accepted?” is the question God puts to Cain about the rejection of his offering. Something is wrong with Cain, not the offering. Since God needs nothing, there is no point in assuming He didn’t want grain but an only lamb. If that was the case then it still wasn’t the offering He disregarded as much as the failure to follow His commands.
The Hebrews writer makes it plain that the difference in Abel and Cain was a matter of their faith. The nature of what, when, where, and how may all be involved. God gave instructions about the offerings. Abel followed them, and Cain did not. The widow’s penny and the rich men’s millions are viewed as the same gift since God needs neither. The measure of the penny was the measure of the heart that gave it. God loves a generous person, not a generous gift. Grain or lamb, God looks at the heart of the giver.
Task for Today: What is your ‘by faith’ today? What did you do, or what did you give on the basis of faith? Some people give 10% because they think that is the amount God wants. Are you a generous giver or a by the rule giver. Do you bring servanthood to the world to get into heaven, or are you a servant because you are of heaven. Today, by faith (Your Name) …”