For by it the people of old received their commendation...By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks. Hebrews 11:2,4
While Hebrews 11:1 introduces the chapter’s theme, Hebrews 11:2 elaborates on why the chapter ahead highlights the faith of the cloud of witnesses who have gone before us. What did the people of old receive?
We equate commendation with the idea of reward, and though this idea is not absent in this passage, the emphasis is on being an honorable witness—a definition that is more of a concept in this book’s original language.
We can understand it this way, by the expression of their faith, they bore witness to what they saw/heard/experience/knew of God and thus received honor. Keep this in mind as we look at each person from now on.
Open up your Bible and read Genesis 4:1-16 and answer these questions:
What is the expression (what can you see, evidence) of Abel’s faith?
By his action, what is he bearing witness to about God?
What kind of honor did he receive? (Consider both Genesis 4 and Hebrews 11:4)
Genesis 4 records no word spoken by Abel, yet part of the honor his faith received is that “…though he died, he still speaks.” What do you think that means?
In this first transaction of human blood recorded in the Bible, God does not allow for injustice to remain silent but gives voice to the mute—voice that echoes into eternity. What hope in God does this foster in your present experience with injustice?
Conclude today by approaching the throne of grace in your time of need, confessing where you have seen your sin or your desire to take matters into your own hands. Ask him for the glimpse of God Abel saw and knew to settle deeper into your heart. Pray for justice in situations where only God can move.