It is impossible to have a faith that pleases God without sharing a closeness to Jesus that comes from yearning after him. This kind of close personal bond can only come when we desire the Lord more than anything else in life.
The writer of Hebrews gives us several examples of faith-filled servants who walked closely with God. Let’s look together at Abel: “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” (Hebrews 11:4). Abel offered sacrifices to the Lord on a frequent basis and his sacrifices always required an altar.
Abel brought not only unspotted lambs for the sacrifice, but the fat of those lambs as well. “Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat” (Genesis 4:4).
The fat is important here because it caught fire quickly and was consumed, causing a sweet aroma to rise. “The priest shall burn them on the altar as food, an offering made by fire for a sweet aroma; all the fat is the Lord’s” (Leviticus 3:16). It is a type of prayer or fellowship that is acceptable to God, representing our ministry to the Lord in the secret place of prayer. The Lord himself states that such intimate worship rises to him like a sweet-smelling savor. “For we are to God the fragrance of Christ” (2 Corinthians 2:15).
Somewhere along the line, Abel made the choice to pursue a relationship with God, to have communion and fellowship with him as his parents had. His brother Cain also brought sacrifices but they were fruit, an offering that did not require an altar as there was no fat, nothing to be consumed. As a result, there was no sweet aroma to rise up to heaven. In other words, no personal exchange between Cain and the Lord was involved. That is why Abel’s offering was “more excellent than Cain’s.”
The faithful servant seeks God’s touch in his life. Like Abel, he won’t settle for anything less. This servant tells himself, “I’m determined to give the Lord all the time he wants from me in fellowship. I long to hear his still, small voice speak to me, so I’m going to stay in his presence.”
Beloved, may you determine to be this type of servant.