brothers keeper 2

This is one of the earliest questions asked. But it was not asked by someone trying to understand his responsibility; it was asked by a man trying to get away with murder…literally.

Gen 4:1-9 Adam lay with his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain. She said,”With the help of the LORD I have brought forth a man.” Later she gave birth to his brother Abel. Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the LORD. But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast. Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.” Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.” And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him. Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?” “I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

How long after the murder does this conversation take place? Moments? Days? Was Cain on his way home? Surely Adam and Eve will notice the empty chair at the table….Is he working on his story for mom and dad when God interrupts?

As far as we know, Abel is the first person to die, and the first person to go to heaven. God knew exactly where Cain was. God wasn’t looking for information; God wanted Cain to admit the truth. Notice God led with the key question, no warm up or small talk. Was the grave still fresh?

Cain doesn’t give God an answer; he answers God with a question. What does Cain actually believe about God? Does he really think God doesn’t know what he’s done? If he thinks he’s smarter than God, why would he bring a sacrifice in the first place? If God is powerful enough to be worthy of the sacrifice, does he really think he can fool God, or that God owes him acceptance? Why would he bring a sacrifice to a God that he thought wasn’t powerful enough to punish his sin? Does he think God loves him more than he loved Abel? I think it’s clear that Cain considered himself more important and smarter than God or Abel.

All of the laws of God can be summed up in two basic commandments: Love God, Love others. Jesus made it very clear in the parable of the sheep and the goats that how we treat each other absolutely matters to God. God will not tolerate our pride and insolence to him; neither will he excuse our abuse of others. The way we respond to God, the way we handle or repent of our sin, indicates what we believe about him and his power in our world and in our lives.