By Faith, Abel and Enoch
4 By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain did. By faith he was approved as a righteous man, because God approved his gifts, and even though he is dead, he still speaks through his faith.
5 By faith Enoch was taken away, and so he did not experience death. He was not to be found because God took him away. For before he was taken away, he was approved as one who pleased God. (Hebrews 11:4-5)
From verses 4 to 38, the author will share examples of individuals from the Old Testament who demonstrated faith in God that pleased Him. Verse 4 calls back the story of Cain and Abel from Genesis 4:3-7, in which Cain offered some of his produce from the land, while Abel offered the firstborn of his flock their fat portions. The Lord then regarded Abel and his offering, while He did not regard Cain’s offering, which led to Cain becoming angry. Now, the account in Genesis does not fully explain why Abel’s offering was accepted over Cain’s offering. Yet, here in Hebrews, we get the full and simple explanation, in that, Abel displayed faith in God. Abel trusted in God and offered the best he had in obedience to God, while Cain held back from God, showing a lack of trust within his own heart. Abel’s offering showed full worship to the Lord. In the end, even though Cain murdered Abel, Abel’s display of faith still “speaks” centuries later, and is a model to follow of full worship to the Lord.
Then, in verse 5, we have Enoch, who is mentioned in Genesis 5:24, “Enoch walked with God; then he was not there because God took him.” Genesis 5 is a list of genealogies from the line of Seth, Adam and Eve’s third son. Every individual in the genealogy is listed with how long they lived, followed by the line “then he died.” Yet, Enoch did not die, but was “taken away, and so he did not experience death.” Even from this short statement about Enoch, we can learn two things about his life: one, he did not experience death due to his faith; two, before God took him away, his life was one that was pleasing to God. In a time that generation after generation became more and more evil, which would lead to Noah and the flood, Enoch stood out as a righteous man who displayed faith in God despite the wickedness around him. In the end, he was “approved” and blessed with the gift of not experiencing death.
From both illustrations, we can learn to live lives in full worship to God, displaying our faith in Him through our actions. With Abel, he offered the best he had to God. With Enoch, he lived out his faith every day despite the wicked influences around him. Live out your faith in God boldly.
Isaac De Guzman