An innocent little six year old was mercilessly gunned down by someone in a fit of road rage recently.
I wondered how was this possible?
The Lord led me to the story of Cain and Abel in the book of Genesis.
Cain and Abel were two brothers, the children of Eve, “the mother of all the living.”
When her first son was born, Eve called him “Cain,” a name related to a word for “lament” or “wail.” Eve said, “I have gotten a man from the Lord…”
BDB Definition: 11b) husband, 1c) human being, person (in contrast to God), 1f) champion, 1g) great man
The Bible says of Cain that he “…was a tiller of the ground.”
The word for tiller means: H5647 (Strong)
‛âbad, aw-bad’, A primitive root; to work (in any sense); by implication to serve, till, (causatively) enslave, etc.: be, keep in bondage, be bondmen, bond-service, compel, husbandman, keep, labour (-ing man), (be, become) servant (-s), transgress [from margin], (set a) work, be wrought, worshipper.Serve self
Where Eve seemed so filled with hope after Cain’s birth giving him a name that meant “Champion,” she seemed to have lost her faith sometime after his birth.
For she named her second son Abel which means:
BDB Definition: 1) to act emptily, become vain, be vain; 1a2) to be utterly vain;1b1) to cause to become vain; 1b2) to fill with vain hopes;
People who have lost their dream call faith “vain hope.”
Also, branding a child with such a name is akin to calling them hopeless, futile, or vanity.
It would not be any wonder then that Abel would find refuge out in the fields with his Father God while tending the sheep rather than with a family who considered him “… filled with vain hopes.”
Abel was given the name of someone whom his parents saw as having no expectations.
And this was surely to open the door for his brother to also adopt the same attitudes toward him as someone who was worthless.
It might not be difficult for a man to murder a brother whom he neither loved nor valued. For Cain had no love for his brother the Bible says.
“This is the teaching you have heard from the beginning: We must love each other. Don’t be like Cain. He belonged to the Evil One. Cain killed his brother. But why did he kill him? Because what Cain did was evil, and what his brother did was good.” 1 John 3:11-12 – ERV
“Cain and Abel both offered sacrifices to God. But Abel offered a better sacrifice to God because he had faith. God said he was pleased with what Abel offered. And so God called him a good man because he had faith. Abel died, but through his faith he is still speaking.” ~ Hebrews 11:4 – ERV
After Cain had killed his brother, the Lord asked him where Abel was. Cain sarcastically replied, “I don’t know, am I my brother’s keeper?”
BDB Definition: 1) to keep, guard, observe, give heed/ 2) 1a1) to keep, have charge of/ 3) 1a2) to keep, guard, keep watch and ward, protect, save life/ 1a3) to watch for, wait for/ 1a4) to watch, observe/ 1a5) to keep, retain, treasure up (in memory)/1a6) to keep (within bounds), restrain/ 1a7) to observe, celebrate, keep (sabbath or covenant or commands), perform (vow)/ 1a8) to keep, preserve, protect/ 1b1) to be on one’s guard, take heed, take care, beware/ 1b2) to keep oneself, refrain,/ abstain/ 1b3) to be kept, be guarded
God revealed through the Lord Jesus Christ that we are indeed to be our brother’s keeper. We are to love and to lay our lives down for one another.
Abel was asked to sacrifice His will to God even as Christ would one day be asked to sacrifice His will to the Father that all might in Him be given eternal life through His sacrificial death.
Abel gave God what He asked of him. This pleased the Lord greatly.
For Abel like Christ in effect had said, “Father I want Thy will not my will…”
How did Abel know what God’s will was?
He spent all his time with the Lord every day in a close relationship with Him.
While working in the fields he was abiding in His Maker. He listened to God speak to his heart.
God wanted something that was difficult for Abel to give Him. Something that Abel loved, prized, and valued very much. The finest of his flocks.
Yet, what else was worth having if he kept it back from God and lost his intimacy with the Lord by withholding that thing which God had asked him to sacrifice?
What could be more important than his relationship with the Lord, his Creator?
Abel knew what God required of him, he knew and cared to do God’s will.
The Bible says that the ungodly don’t care to know about or to do God’s will. They just want to please themselves.
‘“At harvest time, Cain brought a gift to the Lord. He brought some of the food that he grew from the ground, but Abel brought some animals from his flock. He chose some of his best sheep and brought the best parts from them. The Lord accepted Abel and his gift.But He did not accept Cain and his offering. Cain was sad because of this and he became very angry.” ~ Genesis 4:3-5 ERV
Cain offered to God the sacrifice of man; the sacrifice that insists on doing its own will and pleasure. Such a sacrifice may take a lot of time and effort to accomplish, and appear beautiful but it will not satisfy our Creator if it is not what He asked for.
God’s will is that we obey Him no matter what that obedience looks like, no matter how displeasing to us it seems. The Lord needs to know that His will matters to us more than our own our own will.
He created us to worship HIM. We were not created to please and worship ourselves.
Abel obeyed the Lord and offered the blood sacrifice He required. Cain did not.
Hebrews 9 explains that under the Law that without the shedding of blood there was no forgiveness of sins. A blood sacrifice was required for the atonement of the sins people had committed. That was just how it was. We may not like it or understand it. But that was why Jesus Christ, God’s Son had to die to shed His spotless blood for the sins of all humanity to redeem us and put a fallen world back in right relationship with God. This is the truth. Cain refused to believe this truth of the need for the blood sacrifice to atone for his sins to be made right with God. He would do his own work and labor to please and satisfy God. Yet, God only wanted the sacrifice of an innocent pure lamb to atone for the man’s sins. He need only go to his brother and procure a sheep to sacrifice to the Lord. It was that easy. Cain made things hard in his unbelief.
Cain was furious when he saw that God was pleased with Abel’s sacrifice and not with his own.
The Lord asked Cain, “Why are you angry? Why does your face look sad? You know that if you do what is right, I will accept you. But if you don’t, sin is ready to attack you. That sin will want to control you, but you must control it.”~ Genesis 4:6-7 – ERV
God up and told Cain His will and the man simply ignored the holy revelation! It went right over Cain’s head because he had no regard for the Lord any more than he valued his brother’s life.
If he had loved and feared the Lord then he would have obeyed Him. Christ equated love for our Lord with our obedience to Him.
Jesus said to His disciples: “If you love Me, you will do what I command.
Those who really love Me are the ones who not only know My commands but also obey them. My Father will love such people, and I will love them. I will make Myself known to them.”
…All who love Me will obey My teaching. My Father will love them. My Father and I will come to them and live with them.
But anyone who does not love Me does not obey My teaching. This teaching that you hear is not really Mine. It is from my Father who sent Me.” ~ John 14:15,21,23-24 – ERV
The rest of the story is a very sad one.
Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.” So they went to the field. Then Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him. Later, the Lord said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?”
Cain answered, “I don’t know. Is it my job to watch over my brother?”
Then the Lord said, “What have you done? You killed your brother and the ground opened up to take his blood from your hands. Now his blood is shouting to Me from the ground.So you will be cursed from this ground. Now when you work the soil, the ground will not help your plants grow. You will not have a home in this land. You will wander from place to place.”~Genesis 4:8-10,12 – ERV
The price Cain paid for his sin was enormous. Cain’s former gift of being able to till the soil successfully became a curse as God said, “Now when you work the soil, the ground will not help your plants grow.
Whereas Cain had been the family’s hope for success and prosperity, “their champion,” he now became the disappointment, the one who was truly filled with “vain hopes;”one who could no longer produce. The Lord not only took away all former expectations of success, but also drove him away, branding him with the indelible mark of a murderer, condemning him to the life of a wanderer. (*See Genesis 4:13-16)
Have we ever stopped to think of what we give up when we ignore the Lord’s voice, giving in to our stubbornness, anger, own desires, and lack of faith over simply obeying the Lord’s will?
First we must like Abel abide in Christ to love God and to know His will.
Second we must care to obey His will once He reveals that will to us.
If we don’t love others, we won’t love, honor and value our God. When we do not love and value others we disobey God’s will.
Christ said, “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one to another.” John 13:34-35 – KJV
Jesus once told a religious ruler that the two greatest commandments upon which hung the whole Law were the first two: Jesus said unto him, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.
And the second is like unto it, “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” ~ Matthew 22:37-40 – KJV
The Apostle John wrote, “If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from Him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.” 1 John 4:20-21 – KJV
In the parable of the Good Samaritan Jesus let us know that in God’s eyes, everyone is our brother and sister. Not just people in our religious affiliations, our fellowships and social cliques. The Lord does not see as we see according to the teaching Christ gave us in that parable.
As I contemplated the enraged man who’d gunned down the innocent child on the freeway, I couldn’t help but wonder if he, like Cain, had lost his love and value for human life made in God’s holy image ~that life of which God says we are to be his keeper, his guardian, and to keep ourselves from harming.
Would that people knew God’s will and would do it!
Then I thought are we not too like that furious man when we explode like a seething time bomb with bitter words; words like lethal verbal weapons, over everything under the sun, ever finding fault, seeking to destroy with bitter criticism, accusation, and judgment, ever so quick to assume false conclusions without having all the facts? The internet and social media are daily inundated with these incidents of “virtual road rage.”
And if we regard not the life of our neighbor, resisting God’s will to be our brother’s and sister’s keeper, we absolutely do not love, fear, nor honor God our Heavenly Father, the Bible declares. (*See 1 John 4:20-21)
Jesus said, “…the bad things people say with their mouth come from the way they think. And that’s what can make people wrong. All these bad things begin in the mind: evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual sins, stealing, lying, and insulting people. These are the things that make people wrong.” Matthew 15:18-20 – ERV
“Heavenly Father, may You give us Thy divine love for one another, that we may also love and honor Thee, in Jesus’ name, amen.
Peaceangelsong, Text & Digital Scripture Paintings, Copyright © 2021 by Suzanne Davis Harden, through the Risen Lord Jesus Christ, Inspired by the Holy Spirit, All Rights Reserved. Scripture References taken from various translations: ERV (Easy To Read Version Bible) Copyright © 2006 Bible League International; The King James Version Bible, Public Domain; Strongs Bible Concordance, Public Domain
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