Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the LORD respected Abel and his offering.
Yesterday, we introduced Cain’s offering and the reason offerings were presented to God in the Old Testament. Here we read of Abel’s offering. Abel presented the “firstborn of his flock and of their fat” to God. Abel was a “keeper of sheep” (Genesis 4:2), so it makes sense that he offered animals.
But the difference between Cain and Abel’s offerings was not just in what was offered, but in the attitude and approach of each in giving the offering. We read here that “the LORD respected Abel and his offering,” or as the New English Translation says, “the LORD was pleased with Abel and his offering.” As we will read in tomorrow’s Daily Bible Verse Blog post, God was not pleased with Cain or his offering.
The first hint we have of the possible disparity between Cain and Abel’s offerings is in the fact that we are specifically told that Abel presented the firstborn of his flocks. This indicates that Abel gave specific thought and care to his offering by marking the firstborn of his flocks and dedicating those as holy to God. Dedicating the firstborn to God as holy is something God expected in later offerings (Exodus 13:12; Numbers 18:12, 17; Proverbs 3:9).
Hebrews 11:4 tells us that Abel’s offering was a “more excellent sacrifice,” not just because it was an offering of a firstborn animal, but also because of Abel’s righteousness behind it. Abel desired to give the best to God.
Tomorrow, we will further explore the differences between Cain and Abel’s offerings.
To learn more about the purpose of animal offerings and what they foreshadowed in God’s plan, read “Animal Sacrifices Prefigured Christ.”