Killing Abel

by Aug 8, 2022Devotional

Guest post by Abigail Hamilton

Genesis 4 lays out a very familiar story. An account of two brothers and two sacrifices.

As we all know, Cain prepares his offering of fruit, and Abel brings the best of the flock. The Scripture says that the Lord accepted Abel’s but not Cain’s.

When this happened, Cain was “very wroth and his countenance fell.” In other words, he was extremely angry, and he looked annoyed.

Immediately God asked Cain, “Why art thou wroth? And why is thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? And if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire and thou shalt rule over him.”

God was letting Cain know that He didn’t pick and choose who was accepted upon feelings and whims. If Cain would bring the right sacrifice and not ignore the instruction that was laid out, he would be accepted. God warned Cain that sin was crouched at his heart’s door and if he didn’t do something different, then he would be destroyed by the enemy of his soul.

The anger grew. Why didn’t God accept my sacrifice? Why do I have to do anything different? 

Later when alone in the field, Cain killed Abel.

How awful, we think. But I wonder how many would admit that they’ve done the same thing.

Bro. Abel stands up in church and has fiery testimonies. You hear him getting hold of God in prayer in the the back Sunday School room before service ever starts. Bro. Abel has such a connection with God; he’s prayed healings to pass and is a vibrant altar worker. His whole life and ambition is to follow and please God. Bro. Abel has even written many books of accounts of his life where God worked in miraculous ways, saving and sanctifying many. Bro. Abel preached and labored overseas. He taught in Bible school classrooms. He carried many a burden for his family. He pulled for the pastor during Sunday sermons.

Many of us have had contact with dear, godly Bro. Abel.

But when we find we don’t have the same fire and zeal or the same power in prayer like Bro. Abel, there are two responses we can give.

We can be like Cain. We can silently resent Bro. Abel. We’d like to have the same blessings as Bro. Abel does, but we don’t really want to have the same sacrifice. Alas, if we don’t give the same offering, we won’t have the same experience. So, we then think God just blesses Bro. Abel in a unique way. It’s not for all of us. Bro. Abel is just a little radical. Then when Bro. Abel takes his freedom in service, we cringe for Bro. Abel is just a little too emotional.

And my friends, it isn’t too long before we’ve taken the Bro. Abels and killed them and buried them in the field. We sell their books to the thrift store since no one finds them interesting. We don’t sing their songs anymore for they just don’t make sense. Their testimonies are no longer repeated. And the experiences and fire are thought of as a thing of the past.

My friend in the hustle and bustle of your life, where’s Bro. Abel?

Have you done away with him? God is faithful to call out to the churches of today, “What hast thou done? The voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground.”

The writer of Romans exclaims, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

There is another response we can have though. And I wonder how history would have changed if Cain would have responded differently.

If Cain would have gone to Abel and asked, “Oh, Abel, I’ve messed up somewhere. I’ve made my offering, but Abel there’s no fire. There’s no acceptance. Abel, how did you get that smile on your face? You know you’ve been accepted, eh? Oh Abel, how can I know? If I’m willing and obedient you say? But I’ve already tried, Abel. Try again… Okay. I can’t do things my way, Abel? Wouldn’t that be easier? Oh… Yes I do want the fire. I do want the glory.”

Folks, that’s my cry. I’ve seen too many Bro. Abels in my life have such a connection with the Almighty. I’ve seen the power. I’ve seen the glory. 

But it all boils down to this one thing: how bad do you want to be accepted? To know that you’re not conformed to this old world but living in the perfect will of God.

I don’t want to kill Bro. Abel. I want to find that acceptance like he did.

There are many paths through this world of sin

But there’s only one I shall travel in

’Tis the old Cross Road, or the way called “Straight”

There is just one way to the pearly gate 

There are some who sneer at the old Cross Road

At the pearly gate and the soul’s abode

Yet I mind them not, but, with happy song

And assurance sweet, still I press along

Others risk their souls on some new-made way

Thinking they will come to the gate some day

Oh, may they find out, ere their lives are done

That the old Cross Road is the only one.

There is just one way to the pearly gate

To the crown of life and the friends who wait

’Tis the old Cross Road, or the way called “Straight”

There is just one way to the pearly gate. 

-James Rowe (1920)