ABEL looked at his flock of sheep grazing peacefully on the hillside. Then, perhaps he looked far beyond his sheep to a spot in the distance where he could just make out a faint glow. He knew that right there a flaming blade was turning, ever turning, blocking the way into the garden of Eden. His parents once lived there, but neither they nor their children could enter now. Imagine the late afternoon breeze ruffling Abel’s hair as he turned his gaze upward and thought about his Creator. Would the breach between man and God ever be healed? Abel wanted nothing more than that.
Imagine what it was like for Abel to see those cherubs when he was a boy. In their materialized form, their appearance surely bespoke immense power. And that “sword,” ever aflame, ever turning, inspired awe as well. As Abel grew up, did he ever find that those cherubs got bored and left their post? No. Day and night, year after year, decade after decade, those intelligent, powerful creatures stayed right in that spot. Abel thus learned that Jehovah God had righteous, steadfast servants. In those cherubs, Abel could see a kind of loyalty and obedience to Jehovah that he could not find in his own family. That angelic example no doubt strengthened his faith.
- Abel prepared to offer up some sheep from his flock. He selected the best, the firstlings, and what seemed the choicest pieces. Meanwhile, Cain too sought God’s blessing and favor, preparing an offering from his crops. But his motives were not like those of Abel. The difference became apparent when the brothers presented their offerings.
- Abel offered up the very best of what he had. Jehovah looked with favor not only on the offering but on the man himself. Motivated by love for Jehovah and by genuine faith in him, Abel acted.