Abel, the first martyr - 24 August 2021

By Xanthe Hancox

Bible text(s)

The story of the two brothers, Cain and Abel, is well-known (Genesis 4:1-16). It’s the story of two brothers who had the same parents, the same kind of upbringing. Both had been taught to worship God and to bring offerings. Each had developed a successful livelihood. Yet they turned out so differently.

Cain became the first murderer, and Abel the first victim.

How did Cain come to do such a terrible thing? Cain was jealous and angry because God did not look with favour on his offering. But Cain did not give God the best of his fruits of the soil. He simply gave some of them, and that dishonoured God. God explained to Cain that he simply needed to do what was right, but Cain refused to listen. He did not control his anger or his jealousy, and he killed his brother.

Faith in God did not spare Abel. He was the victim of Cain’s selfishness and wickedness.

But God understands our grief from injustice and pain. We read in Genesis 4:10-12: “The Lord said, ‘What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground. Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth.’”

We must walk the path of faith, as Abel did. God will guide our footsteps, acknowledge our pain, and follow up with justice.

Prayer: God, you understand our hearts and our griefs. Please help us serve you and do what is right, caring for others and not hurting them. In Jesus’ name, Amen.