Jump Starts Daily

Jump Start #3314

Jump Start # 3314

Hebrews 11:4 “By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous, God testifying about his gifts, and through faith, though he is dead, he still speaks.”

 Recently I used our verse today for a study with some teens. Great kids. Exciting always to be around them. There are two questions that naturally flow out of this verse. These are questions that ought to cause all of us to do a bit of thinking, observing and applying.

  Abel: though he is dead, he still speaks.

 First question: Who hears Abel? He is speaking, but who is listening? Have you thought about that? Obviously, not everyone. There are many who couldn’t tell you anything about Abel. If asked, where in the Bible would you find the story of Abel, a huge majority would have no idea. Asked, who were Abel’s parents, it’s no telling what bizarre answers some might come up with. That’s the world. How about us?

  Who hears Abel? The answer must be the righteous. It is the righteous who know the story of Cain and Abel. It is the righteous that know why Abel’s sacrifice was accepted by God and Cain’s was rejected. Abel is speaking. Who hears him? The people of God do.

Second question: What is Abel saying? Though he is dead, he still speaks. Well, what does he say? This is not some sort of spooky, mysterious, ghost like circumstance. This is not creepy. What he is saying is heard by those who are listening.

  Abel, as the Hebrew passage puts forth, is an example of one who lived by faith. By faith, he offered to God a sacrifice of a lamb. That lamb wasn’t coming back. That lamb shed it’s blood. That lamb would be a picture of the sacrifices of ancient Israel and an image of the coming Christ.

  Cain offered vegetables. There isn’t much sacrifice in picking a tomato off the vine. Picking one veggie doesn’t even kill the plant. Cain was convenient, Abel was sacrifice. Cain was easy. Abel was costly. And, what Abel reminds us of, what he is speaking is, that we must follow what the Lord says. Shortcuts, what feels right, what we want, what is easy, the cheapest way is not what God requires. It took time to kill a lamb and sacrifice it. Putting a cucumber on the altar is simple and doesn’t require much thought, let alone, faith.

  Abel is a reminder to us in our culture that doesn’t like to be inconvenienced, that following God sometimes takes time, effort and costs. Abel speaks that. Though he died, he lives. Though he died, he continues to remind. Though he died, he still speaks.

  The Burger King mentality of “Have it your own way,” has filtered into the church. What I want and what I like becomes the message of the hour. The theme of worship becomes fun. The focus turns to us. The attention is upon how we feel. God is squeezed out. We like hymns that have a beat more than a message. We like sermons that are lite and contain less doctrine. We are more interested in our fellowship than fellowship with the Almighty. These are the times we live in. And, yet with all this technology around us, there is a voice still speaking. It is a voice that is very, very ancient. And, that voice calls us back to the pure ways of God. That voice reminds us that God is upon the throne, not a stage. That voice echoes the message that it does matter what we offer to God. Worship can be wrong. Sacrifices can anger God. And, there is a way to do things and it must be God’s way.

  A voice speaking to us through the pages of the Bible. A voice that reminds us that others may not agree with you, even your own family. Yet, that voice tells us that pleasing God is the most important thing.

  He’s dead, but he still speaks. Do you hear him? Do you hear what he is saying?