If you had your thinking cap on when you read the story of Cain and Abel, then you should have made certain observations. These guys are building alters and offering sacrifices, but at this point no Law has been given nor instructions for such things as alters and sacrifices. Had God told them personally to make such an offering? If you have such questions, then good for you. You’re paying attention. I can’t answer your questions, but it’s a good sign you have them.
If those guys making sacrifices bothers you, just wait till you hit Genesis 14. Abram is blessed by Melchizadek, priest of God Most High. Still no Law, no Moses nor Aaron, to temple or tabernacle, but here is a guy worshiping God Most High, blessing people, and apparently receiving tithes. If Cain and Abel gave you some questions, Melchizadek ought to give you an aneurysm.
Elijah is one of the better known prophets of the Old Testament. Just after defeating the prophets of Baal, however, Elijah does something very strange considering his victory. He hides out in a cave and simply asks God to kill him. 1 Kings chapter 19 is the very well known passage where there is a wind, but God was not in the wind; there was an earthquake, but God was not in the earthquake. Finally he hears the voice of God in a small still voice. I’m sure you’ve at least heard of this story. But twice in this passage Elijah expresses his concern that he is the only true believer left in the world. God basically tells him to get over his pity party, and informs him that there are 7,000 still in Israel that never bowed the knee to Baal. The lesson for us is that we are often not as alone as we think.
In Genesis chapter 14, Abram is the only man of faith we know about. After the flood, the population of the world grew, and very quickly forgot about God. As far as we know, Abram is the only person God is talking to period. Then he meets Melchizadek, king of Salem and priest of God Most High (El Elyon in Hebrew). Melchizadek blesses Abram, and Abram gives the priest a tenth of all he has. What’s weird about all this is the tribe of Levi, from which the Levitical priests are anointed, will not exist for hundreds of years yet. Levi was Abraham’s great-grandson, but not yet, not in Genesis 14. The New Testament book of Hebrews makes a big deal of this, and has a lot to say about the relationship between Abraham the patriarch and this priest not of the Levite order. Simply put, Abram was not alone in his belief of the True and the Living God.
At times, we are placed in tough places to grow. Remember the sunflower story? It can be discouraging, but recall the words of Jesus in Matthew 28: “I am with you always, even until the end of the age.” Just before that he said all authority was given to him in heaven and on earth. Not only are we not alone, who better could we ask be with us?