In Hebrew, Abel, or Habal, means vapor or vanity, in the sense that it is of little substance and brief. Therefore, based upon the context of the passage in Genesis, scholars assume Abel died young, before he and his brother, Cain, both married and had children.
We tend to think of the death of someone young more mournfully than others. And in reading the story of Cain and Abel, we see Abel’s death at Cain’s jealous hands as a life unfairly cut off. Abel seemed to have so much potential!
Even though Abel apparently died young, we are reminded in Hebrews that outward appearances don’t always dictate the circumstances. His righteous lifestyle echoed throughout the ages and is still discussed today. His humble and reverent attitude serves as a reminder to us that no life, no matter how short, is vapor in God’s eyes when we are walking with him.
God has the ability to take the tragedy of a short-lived life like Abel’s and turn it into a household story, an eternal way to glorify God. Abel is our reminder that what others see on the outside isn’t necessarily what God sees. Serving God all of our days, no matter how short or long they are, is eternally impactful, and to God, such a life is never wasted.
Think about your life, no matter how short or long it’s been so far. Have your actions glorified God? If not, now is the time to walk closer to his ways so, like Abel, you can glorify him.
Dear Lord, please give me the ability to glorify you to the best of my ability. Show me the ways I can serve you better and guide me in spreading your name to the nations. Amen.
Go Deeper — What areas do you need to improve in order to live such a fulfilling life as the one Abel had? Ask the Holy Spirit to help you lead a more Spirit-filled life.
Photo Credit: Robert Baker