"...Am I my brother's keeper?"--Genesis 4:9
"Then the Lord said to Cain, 'Where is Abel your brother?' And he said 'I do not know. Am I my brother's keeper?'"--Genesis 4:9. At this point in Genesis Adam and Eve have already been cast out of the garden of Eden and have had children. Among them, Cain and Abel. In Genesis 4:1-8, we find that Cain and Abel made their separate sacrifices but God had favor or "regard" for Abel's but not for Cain's. This led to the first murder in recorded human history, Cain kills Abel. When the Lord comes looking for Abel, Cain asks God the question that some have said has plagued generations ever since: Am I my brother's keeper?
Am I my brother's keeper? First of all, most would be asking why God accepted Abel's sacrifice but not Cain's. Hebrews 11:4 tells us that by faith, Abel offered the better sacrifice making him righteous in the sight of God. But returning to Genesis 4, we see also in Genesis 4:5 that "Cain became very angry" because his brother's sacrifice was accepted while his was not.
Am I my brother's keeper? In context, we can conclude that it was anger that drove Cain to kill his brother. The Scriptures do not tell us who was the older of the two directly but it appears that Cain was born first based on Genesis 4:1-2. That makes Cain older. If the conclusion is correct, Abel was Cain's little brother.
Am I my brother's keeper? Cain and Abel were more than likely young men already when this took place since they were working and offering sacrifices but they still had a responsibility to look after one another as brothers. Anger is what drove Cain to kill Abel, his little brother.
Am I my brother's keeper? There are times when we are going to be angry with our brother (or sister). Anger is a God given emotion but it is what we do with that anger that makes the difference. Ephesians 4:26 tells us to not let the sun go down on our anger or to be angry and not sin. Tonight we will look at another aspect of the Cain and Abel account but we still need to answer the question, Am I my brother's keeper?
Am I my brother's keeper? The answer is yes. We may get angry at our brother or sister sometimes but we have a responsibility to settle our differences as brethren, especially and most importantly as brethren in Christ. Cain's anger led to murdering his little brother. Our anger may not drive us to physically murder our brother but remember the words of Jesus in Matthew 5:22-23 where we see that anger can drive us to murder our brother in our hearts.
If you have something against someone or as we are told in Matthew 5:23-26, if you know your brother (or sister) has something against you, go to that person and resolve it before presenting your offering to God at the altar. This is especially crucial if they are a brother or sister in Christ.
Am I my brother's keeper? You bet we are. DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT! PRAY ABOUT IT! LOVE Y'ALL! GOD BLESS!