‘Am I my brother’s keeper?’
Cain and Abel Bible story has applications today
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.