‘Am I my brother’s keeper?’

Cain and Abel Bi­ble story has ap­pli­ca­tions to­day

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - RELIGION - Mike Burns is a min­is­ter with Cornwall Chris­tian Church. A guest ser­mon runs in The Guardian ev­ery Satur­day and is pro­vided cour­tesy of Chris­tian Com­mu­ni­ca­tions.

Look up and read Ge­n­e­sis 4:116.

It talks about what hap­pened be­tween Cain and Abel. There is a lot go­ing on there but what I would like you to note is where it says in Gen 4:5 “but for Cain and his of­fer­ing he had no re­gard.” High­light that. “But for Cain and his of­fer­ing he had no re­gard. So Cain was very an­gry, and his face fell.” God did not ac­cept or even ac­knowl­edge Cain or his sac­ri­fice and this made Cain fu­ri­ous.

Now we need to un­der­stand some­thing key here. The whole Cain killing Abel is not the cen­tral point of the story. The story re­ally be­gins with Cain’s flawed sac­ri­fice be­fore God. It’s es­sen­tially a prob­lem be­tween Cain and God be­fore it be­comes a prob­lem be­tween Cain and any­one else.

We need to un­der­stand some­thing about sin and evil; when we sin we break re­la­tion­ships. When our re­la­tion­ship with God is bro­ken, some­thing bad is go­ing to hap­pen. Un­der­state­ment of the cen­tury. Cain’s wor­ship of God is bro­ken be­fore his prob­lems arise with any­one else.

Jump down to the end of verse 9, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” Un­der­line that, Its a funny state­ment isn’t it? What is the great­est com­mand­ment? What does Je­sus say the great com­mand­ment is? “You are to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and love your neigh­bour as your­self.” Cain asks “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

When the love of God is dis­missed by an­gry en­ti­tled peo­ple de­struc­tion fol­lows. Re­mem­ber it says when his sac­ri­fice is not ac­cepted, Cain is very an­gry. A lot of stuff hap­pens out of anger. There is a snow­ball ef­fect. Peo­ple who are an­gry at God, the tran­si­tion to act­ing on anger to­wards oth­ers is easy.

“You are to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and love your neigh­bour as your­self.” One flows out of the other. It is im­pos­si­ble to le­git­i­mately love God and not love oth­ers. The flip side is also true. John says if you claim to love God and hate your brother, you are a liar and the love of God is not in you. Ha­tred of God makes it eas­ier to hate oth­ers.

I’m not sure if Cain re­ally un­der­stands what’s go­ing on his head. He doesn’t know why he’s an­gry. He just knows that he’s very an­gry. He knows in some part of his mind that it’s not re­ally Abel’s fault, but he’s so an­gry, he’s con­fused, so Abel be­comes the fo­cus of his rage.

God asks him, “Why are you an­gry? Calm down, we can fig­ure this out. Why are you so up­set?” He needs to know him­self, but all he see’s is red. You know when your an­gry about how things are go­ing in your life, you know how you should re­spond but its that ad­vice you just cant take. What you want is all that mat­ters, what you feel is all that mat­ters. Your rage gets a hold of you and takes on a life of its own.

Re­mem­ber hurt­ing peo­ple hurt other peo­ple? What about all the vic­tims? We are all, ev­ery­one of us - sin­ners. A stub­born re­bel­lious peo­ple who sin again and again. We are lost peo­ple who need to be found, sick peo­ple who need to be healed, bro­ken peo­ple who need to be re­stored, dam­aged peo­ple who need to be made new.

Cain’s ac­tions led to his be­ing ban­ished from God’s pres­ence. The beau­ti­ful thing for us is that his end does not need to be our end. We don’t need to be ban­ished from God’s pres­ence. That although we are prone to sin, bent on self­ish­ness and en­ti­tle­ment, we are not doomed, we are not with­out hope. Our hope re­sides in the death of another, the death of an in­no­cent.

This In­no­cent says, don’t pun­ish them, pun­ish me in­stead, so they can be re­stored, for­given, healed, saved. In­vited, adopted, made new. Pun­ish Me, so they can be re­stored to Gods pres­ence, so they can come home. So we can go home. There is hope in him. Je­sus.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.