by Kristen C. Strocchia
“By faith Abel offered God a better offering than Cain did. By faith he was commended as righteous, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith, Abel still speaks, even though he is dead.” Hebrews 11:4
By faith–absolute certainty in what he hoped for but couldn’t see–Abel offered God an atonement sacrifice. By doing so, he acknowledged that he was a sinner. Now the Levitical sacrificial system had not been instituted at this time. However, scripture tells us that God made the first sacrifice for sins when he gave Adam and Eve a better covering than the fig leaves they had chosen. Sin requires sacrifice because the wages of sin is death [Romans 6:23].
His brother Cain, on the other hand, offered the same self-prescribed offering as his parents, Adam and Eve. In place of fig leaves, he offered some of the fruit of the ground that he worked to God. Again, scripture does not state that God had set blood sacrifice requirements for Cain and Abel, but here in Hebrews–as in Genesis–we learn that Abel’s offering was considered better than Cain’s. Now Abel offered a firstborn where Cain offered just some of his produce.
In Levitical sacrifice, firstfruits of field or flock were often prescribed, because firstfruits require faith. If you’ve ever gardened, you know that after all of the time and effort and hoping for seeds to produce vegetables, there is nothing more exciting than when the first vegetable actually grows to maturity. It’s not always the biggest or the prettiest of the crop to come, but it is an act of faith to part with this first vegetable because there is no guarantee that there will be more. Droughts come. Blights appear. Insects ravage. Rabbits and deer dine. And a host of other possibilities. But the willingness to give God the first anyway, shows Him that we have faith in Him to provide for us no matter what circumstances may come.
What are you offering to God today? The firstfruits of your time, money and talent? Do your offerings demonstrate faith that He will provide no matter what the circumstance?