Hebrews 11:4-6 (www.biblegateway.com) NKJV
By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and through it he being dead still speaks.
By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, “and was not found, because God had taken him”;[a] for before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God. But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
"Father, thank You for these examples of your rewarding of those who follow you. Teach us this faith, please, Father, that Abel and Enoch had. In Jesus' Name, Amen."
We're starting a series for encouragement night about Hebrews 11. Today, we're looking at the examples of faith by Abel and Enoch.
The example about Abel is confusing, so here's how the NLT puts it:
Hebrews 11:4 NLT
It was by faith that Abel brought a more acceptable offering to God than Cain did. Abel’s offering gave evidence that he was a righteous man, and God showed his approval of his gifts. Although Abel is long dead, he still speaks to us by his example of faith.
I think this clarifies things more. This faith that Abel had made him bring a better sacrifice to God than Cain's did (Cain brought fruit from the ground, while Abel brought the firstborn of his flock and their fat). Abel's gift showed that he was a righteous man, and God approved. After Abel died, he speaks by his faith.
Enoch was the other example. God kept him from death because he pleased Him. It takes faith to please Him. So what's our encouragement?
God is pleased by faith. Why would He be more pleased by faith than good works, or how Christ-like we act, or whatever? Because a. without faith those things are impossible, and b. people with faith can believe that God is God and that He rewards those who follow Him.
So today, if you have faith in God, you have pleased Him. That doesn't mean He loves every thought in your head, or every action you do, and He's still going to prune off those bad things, but you have pleased Him through your faith.
Encouragement b. God rewards those who diligently seek Him. There isn't an 'if He feels like it' statement in there. He will reward those who diligently seek Him. So why isn't your pot of gold falling from the sky? Because a. it might hurt someone if it falls on them and b. it will be God's reward (better than ours) for us, and it will be in His time (again, better than ours).
In His Service,