People love to brag about being the first person to do something amazing or the first person to go to some place. Some people live to get their name put in the Guinness Book of World Records, to do the next great thing or to break the world record for something. They never get tired of pushing themselves, searching for the next amazing thing that no one has ever done before.
But you know one world record that has already been taken, that no one can ever do again?
To be the first human to leave the earth and enter the presence of God.
Can you think of anything more awesome than that? Imagine, if it’s even possible, what it would feel like to be the first to leave this earth and find yourself in the dwelling place of the Creator of the universe.
Call it paradise, call it Abraham’s bosom, call it heaven . . . whatever you think the dwelling place of Old Testament saints was – I haven’t done much study on that subject, but I don’t think it matters a whole lot – suffice it to say, it’s a place of perfection and beauty and joy, a place saturated with the presence of God.
And Abel, the first human to die, was the first to enter that place.
I’ve always thought of Abel’s murder as a horrible thing, the event that really significantly marked the entrance of sin and death into the world. And don’t get me wrong – it was. But thinking about it yesterday from a different perspective made me realize that it was also the beginning of something extraordinary.
Of course, here’s the thought: wouldn’t it have been far better for sin never to have come and for the human race to have continued having direct fellowship with God right here on a perfect earth? Yes, I believe it would have been infinitely far better.
But the wonderful thing about this is that, in spite of the now polluted and corrupt world, God still made a way for us to gain direct fellowship with Him – both while we live on this sinful earth and also after we die.
Instead of immediately giving up on us and leaving the world to its own destructive way, God gave His righteous Old Testament people a way of accessing His glory and presence, even though His eternal plan and purpose was probably pretty vague and foggy in their minds; and eventually, God’s ultimate plan for the whole world would be made clear through the coming of Jesus Christ.
Yes, Abel was the first human to die as a result of sin, but he was also the first human in a sinful world to experience the full presence of God as a result of God’s infinite love and care for His righteous children.
The fact that God went the extra step to reconcile His people to Himself after they had already rejected Him is almost more amazing of a thought than the fact of the initial fellowship between God and humans at the very beginning of Creation.
Thinking about this makes me realize even more strongly than ever that God can take what is bad and transform it into something good. In this case, God took the entrance of sin into the world, and used it to enact the greatest story of love and redemption the world has ever seen.
Abel’s death and entering into God’s presence is an extraordinary world record – the first person to experience, through death, the love and redemption shown by God to His people.
Thanks for reading my random musings, and I hope it spoke to you in some small way. Let me know your thoughts! I’d love to read them.
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