William Andrew Dillard

Abel was the first person to be murdered. A debate precipitated his murder, and a proper act of worship precipitated the debate. Important details surrounding this incident are not spelled out in so many words, but they are present in the construction of the ancient language.
“In the process of time” is a phrase that may envelope years or decades, but it probably indicates these men were heads of households, since in early history patriarchial priesthood was the consistent practice. Cain and Abel brought an offering unto the Lord. Abel brought of the firstlings of the flock, but Cain brought of the fruit of the field. God had respect unto Abel and unto his offering, but He did not have respect unto Cain and his offering. Cain was terribly angry, and as he and Abel walked in the field they talked. “Talked” in the Hebrew is in the intensive stem of the verb meaning they talked intensively and heatedly. It could be called a debate. Of course, Cain was wrong. When one is wrong there are only two options: repent and get right or become angry. Cain chose the latter, and in his anger he sought to silence the voice of truth by killing his brother.
But what did Abel do that was so right? He was a sinner as are all men, and as his brother Cain was. However Hebrews 11:4 tells us “By faith Abel offered a more excellent sacrifice than Cain. . .” There is the answer. It is still the answer that makes a difference in men today. Now faith is the belief in a promise. This tells us that both Cain and Abel had correct instructions about how to worship and sacrifice unto the Lord. Abel believed and carried out those instructions. Cain did not, but chose to substitute his own way of worship rather than follow the instructions of God.
It must be noted that after six long millenniums and voluminous instructions and experiences, men still choose the way of Cain which is labeled in the Bible as “Iniquity.” Its judgment is certain, as illustrated by Cain.
It is infinitely more important to follow God in all things rather than substitute the faulty reasoning of sinful men. Abel got a quick ticket home in the ordeal, but by it he also continues to speak to the condemnation of iniquity in men. On the other hand, it is Cain who really lost his life, and the things that count for all eternity.
Truly, God gives us all the opportunity to believe Him and to follow Him. This is the thing sinful men must do if they are ever to be right in the sight of God. Abel did, and he was so right!

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