Over the years, there have been many great partnerships…or duos…that have become etched into our minds….
…for example……. Sonny & Cher……or Tom & Jerry
So how good are you? Complete the second half of some famous duos throughout history. (Answers below).
Abbott & …….
Anthony & …….
Batman & …….
Holmes & ……
Cain & ……..
(Answers = Costello, Cleopatra, Robin, Watson, Abel)
That last pair…Cain & Abel…What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of these two characters from the Bible?
Murder? Jealousy? …or was it Righteousness?
They were the first two human children ever…born to Adam & Eve…so they are brothers…and as we will read…Cain killed his little brother Abel.
What do you know about the baby brother…Abel?
Abel only lasts 8 verses in the bible…he doesn’t speak a word at all in those 8 verses…and yet the bible tells us that he still speaks to us today.
How can that be?
Well let’s read those 8 verses and see if there are any clues. They come from Genesis Chapter 4 from verse 1.
“ Adam lay with his wife Eve and she conceived and gave birth to Cain. She said “ With the help of the Lord I have brought forth a man.” Later she gave birth to his brother Abel. Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord.
But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favour on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favour. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.
Then the Lord said to Cain “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it”.
Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field”. And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him. (NIV)
Now…. Abel is a gone burger!…so quickly…and shortly afterwards Cain denies to God that he knows where Abel is…using the famous phrase….”Am I my brother’s keeper?”
Listen to God’s response…in verse 10 of chapter 4.
“What have you done? LISTEN! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground”.
How could God hear it?
I believe it is because righteousness has a unique voice of its own…and it is immortal.
Proverbs 12 v 29 says….”In the way of righteousness there is life…..along that path is immortality”.
A righteous life well lived…..giving your best to God and others…it speaks volumes.
Both here on Earth…and in the heavenlies.
So why was Abel deemed righteous? Why was he so revered by God?
Unlike Cain, who brought some fruit of the soil…Abel chose the best of the best…the most costly sacrifice he could give…as his gift of love…respect…and gratitude for his Maker.
Actions speak louder than words.
We remember Abel’s righteous actions…..and yet the Bible always talks about Abel’s words.
Hebrews Chapter 11…the great FAITH chapter…it says in verse 4 .
“By faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice that Cain did. By faith he was commended as a righteous man, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith he still speaks, even though he is dead”.
And later in Hebrews Chapter 12 verses 23 & 24…it says….
“…you have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect…to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel”
As good as Abel was…and still is…Jesus is better.
But they both speak the truth to those who will listen.
We think that Abel is great because he gave his best to God…….how much greater is God himself for giving of himself…Jesus Christ…as the perfect sacrifice.
Even Jesus himself mentioned Abel when he was tearing strips off the Pharisees in Matthew 23 v 35…
“…And so upon you will come all the righteous blood that has been shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah…whom you murdered between the temple and the altar”.
So how does this help you and me today? What lessons can we learn?
How can we be righteous like Abel?
Is it to always give our best to God whatever we are doing?
…like helping anybody we see in need…or giving what we own away?…or reading our bible longer…or praying more……and these are all good things that we think would make us more “Righteous”…or “Acceptable” in God’s sight.
But that all seems such a CHORE…doesn’t it?
And we will never be good enough…so why bother? How do we move forward?
Before Jesus came, our righteousness lay in our own efforts.
“We will be counted as righteous when we obey all the commands…. God has given us” Deuteronomy 6v25. We absolutely failed that righteousness test!
But, Jehovah-Tsidkenu, meaning “The Lord our Righteousness” became our solution. “For he made him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians v 21).
Notice: It’s only ‘In Jesus’ that we ‘become the righteousness of God’! We’re not to try to do right so we can feel righteous before God, or to generate a supply of good works to draw from when needed. We’re to draw continually from the ‘righteousness’ deposited in our account by Christ. It’s useless to look within ourselves for humility, patience, kindness, love etc. They’re not there! We must take them by faith from the supply stored up for us in Jesus.
So to me…the answer is……we LET Jesus do it for us.
Jesus has already given us his best…we must ALLOW ourselves to accept that truth…..and LET it rule our thoughts…our words…our lives.
God wants you to give who Jesus is to you…..back to him.
You can only give from what you have got and what you know….so if Jesus IS love to you…..give Love to others.
If you KNOW Jesus to be forgiving and kind to you…be that to others.
By doing that…we are giving God’s best back to him…and that will never end…for on that righteous path…there is immortality.
To close…I wonder if you know what the meaning of the word Abel is?
It’s a Hebrew name…and it means BREATH…or BREATHING SPIRIT.
Isn’t it ironic that Adam…who named all living things in the Bible…called his son “Breathing Spirit”…and that for somebody who has no recorded words in the Bible…..God spoke well of Abel’s offering…his blood cried out from the ground…and by faith…Abel speaks even though he is dead…and his blood still speaks a good word…
Silence can be golden……but it can also speak volumes!
Is your heart like Abel’s…..yielded to your Maker in gratitude?
God wants us all to be part of our own everlasting duo with our champion of righteousness…. Jesus.
(Insert YOUR name here)……and Jesus.