My Brother’s Keeper?

~~ a devotional ~~

by tkbrown

Genesis 4:1-17:

  • 1 — “And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain and said, ‘I have gotten a man from the Lord.'”
  • 2 — “And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.”
  • 3 — “And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord.”
  • 4 — “And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering.”
  • 5 — “But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.”
  • 6 — “And the Lord said unto Cain, ‘Why art thou wroth? And why is thy countenance fallen?'”
  • 7 — “‘If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? And if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.'”
  • 8 — “And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.”
  • 9 — “And the Lord said unto Cain, ‘Where is Abel thy brother?’ And he said, ‘I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper?'”
  • 10 — “And He said, ‘What hast thou done? The voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground.‘”
  • 11 — “‘And now art thou cursed from the earth which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother’s blood from thy hand;'”
  • 12 — “‘When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth.'”
  • 13 — “And Cain said unto the Lord, ‘My punishment is greater than I can bear.'”
  • 14 — “‘Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth; and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass, that everyone that findeth me shall slay me.'”
  • 15 — “And the Lord said unto him, ‘Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold.’ And the Lord set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him.”
  • 16 — “And Cain went out from the presence of the Lord, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden.”
  • 17 — “And Cain knew his wife, and she conceived, and bare Enoch: and he builded a city, and called the name of the city after the name of his son, Enoch.”

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Genesis 4:1-17 — Notes

God evicted Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden because they defied His command in choosing to eat of the Tree of Knowledge. Thus, their eyes were opened and they understood the difference between good and evil. Fearing they might also partake from the fruit of the Tree of Life, God found it necessary to send them out of the Garden.

Setting up a household out in the great big world, Adam and Eve began to live the life of a hunting and gathering family–hunting for meat and tilling the soil to grow fruits and vegetables for the family. Soon Eve was expecting their first child. When he was born, Adam and Eve named the child Cain. A short time later, Eve bore a second son whom they named Abel. Cain and Abel grew strong and capable in their worldly home as their individual areas of interest and expertise diverged. Cain was good at tilling the soil and growing a bountiful harvest from it. Abel, on the other hand, preferred to tend the sheep and expand his flock.

Cain was thankful and appreciative of the bountiful, abundant harvest he reaped from his tilling of the ground. He proceeded to gather some and present it in beautiful form to the Lord as a sacrifice. Abel, seeing Cain sacrifice to the Lord a portion of his harvest, offered to the Lord some of the firstlings from his flock and the fat thereof.

The Lord had much respect for the sacrifice Abel presented, but He was not pleased with the produce presented as Cain’s sacrifice. This upset Cain very much. The more he thought on it, the angrier he became. His attitude became downcast and sulky. God asked him why he was being so belligerent and told him if he presented a satisfactory sacrifice, it too would be accepted. He further explained the consequences of continued unacceptable behavior and not doing well in His sight would be to have sin lying at the entrance to his home. Sin would ensnare his every desire and present it to Cain until he ruled over sinful desires and cared not about pleasing God.

Henceforth, when the two brothers were toiling in the field, Cain talked to Abel. However, he was not pleased with Abel’s responses. As his attitude became increasingly sullen, he became extremely opposed to Abel’s beliefs. Finally, his ire was roused to such a point, he rose up and killed Abel–spilling Abel’s blood into the soil.

When God came to talk to Cain, He asked about Abel. Cain said he did not know the whereabouts of Abel. He said to God, “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

God was angry and chastised Cain. He said, “The voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground. And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother’s blood from thy hand; when thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth.”

Cain bowed his head, shook it and said, “My punishment is greater than I can bear. Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth, and from Thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass that every one that findeth me shall slay me.”

God said, “Not so, Cain! Whoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall reap upon him sevenfold.” Then the Lord placed a mark upon Cain so all would know who he was. Knowing the curse set upon anyone who killed Cain, they would be deterred, go on their way, and leave Cain alive.

Then, Cain went out to the land of Nod on the east of Eden and dwelt there with his wife. When she bore him a son, they named the boy Enoch. Cain built a city in his son’s honor and named it Enoch–after his son.

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Comments

So, the moral of this story in Genesis 4 is fourfold:

1.) One of the ten commandments later given to Moses for governing the Israeli people as they wandered in the wilderness forty years was: Thou shalt not kill. Here, Cain killed Abel. Then, he denied this fact to God. God knew he had killed Abel, and He tried to give him a chance to tell the truth–come clean about his sin, but Cain denied any knowledge regarding Abel’s whereabouts.

2.) We are our brothers’ keepers to some degree. We should always try to have some knowledge of our brothers’ whereabouts and status–even when they do not communicate with us. We should try to acquaint ourselves with information about them, whether they are biological or other familial brothers. This also applies to our brothers and sisters in Christ.

3.) Anger, uncontrolled and unbridled leads us to action with unacceptable consequences. Cain’s anger led to despondent mood, self-pity, and finger-pointing. These “sins,” in turn, led to Cain killing Abel and trying to hide that fact. He did not consider the magnanimous nature of his offense. Maybe we can equate this as the reason humans today consider small, minor, “more acceptable” offenses to be less important–and to the human belief of God viewing them the same.

4.) God makes no difference in “degree of sin.” Sin is sin, and if not forgiven via cleansing by Christ’s blood, it is punishable by an eternity in hell just as Cain was eternally banished from God’s presence.

It is our choice where we spend eternity. God drove Cain from his homeland–even out of His presence–meaning Cain then had no chance of ever redeeming himself with God. This shows us, in like manner, how sins continually committed today–without atonement–can cause our hearts to harden to the point we do not care what we do to self or others. When this level of hardness develops, we have no chance of ever heeding the message of God and His Son, Jesus Christ. As a result, we choose to spend eternity in hell with other sinners–eternally apart from God in heaven. All sin has consequences. Therefore, when we choose to enact any sin, we choose those consequences along with “it.”

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Source:

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). Genesis 4. “Holy Bible: Old Testament, King James Version” (KJV). U.S. Congress. (14 November 2021). https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/Genesis-Chapter-4/.

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Photo above: Ugo Mendes Donelli @Unsplash.com.

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Adam and Eve

I — God’s Fortitude

~~ a devotional

by tkbrown

“So He drove out the man, and He placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubim and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.”

Genesis 3:24–“Holy Bible: Old Testament, King James Version (KJV)

We tend to not give much thought to God’s character traits, His personal strengths, even His weaknesses. Perhaps we should take a few days to look at these aspects of God and Jesus. We might, then, understand the two of them a bit more.

A few of the words that come to mind when I think of God are compassion, strength, godliness, cleanliness, love, honour, devotion, and fortitude. While each of these are important–and we will look in depth at each–I think the word “fortitude” describes so many facets of both God the Father and God the Son.

When God created Adam and Eve, He placed them in the Garden of Eden in which He had planted every good and beautiful tree and trees with fruit for them to eat. He formed a river which ran out of Eden by which He watered the garden.

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8 — “And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed.”

9 — “And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.”

10 — “And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted and became into four heads.”

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Genesis 2:8-10–“Holy Bible: Old Testament, King James Version (KJV)

“And the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.'”

Genesis 2:18–“Holy Bible: Old Testament, King James Version (KJV)

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21 — “And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;”

22 — “And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made He a woman, and brought her unto the man.”

23 — “And Adam said, ‘This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.'”

24 — “‘Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.'”

25 — “And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.”

Genesis 2:21-25–“Holy Bible: Old Testament, King James Version (KJV)

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How difficult it must have been for God when Adam and Eve committed the first sin–eating of the forbidden fruit. He had provided much good food for their consumption. Yet, they gave in to temptation and ate the fruit of the one tree from which He had forbidden them to eat. How heartbroken He must have been when He went to the garden for their daily walk together and could not find them.

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7 — “And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves aprons.”

8 — “And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden.”

9 — “And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, ‘Where art thou?‘”

10 — “And he said, ‘I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.'”

11 — “And He said, ‘Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?'”

12 — “And the man said, ‘The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.'”

13 — “And the Lord God said unto the woman, ‘What is this that thou hast done?‘ And the woman said, ‘The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.'”

14 — “And the Lord God said unto the serpent, ‘Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:'”

15 — “‘And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.'”

16 — “Unto the woman He said, ‘I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.'”

17 — “And unto Adam He said, ‘Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee saying, ‘Thou shalt not eat of it:’ cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;'”

18 — “‘Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee, and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;'”

19 — “‘In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.'”

20 — “And Adam called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living.”

21 — “Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins and clothed them.”

22 — “And the Lord God said, ‘Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life and eat and live forever.'”

23 — “Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden to till the ground from whence he was taken.”

24 — “So He drove out the man; and He placed at the east of the Garden of Eden Cherubim and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.”

Genesis 3:7-24–“Holy Bible: Old Testament, King James Version (KJV)

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Much like we as parents must deal with disobedient children, God had to deal with a disobedient creation. Then, each pointed the finger of blame toward another before admitting personal guilt as well. The man and woman who were made after His own image, were cast from the garden due to their disobedient acts.

When God entered the garden looking for Adam and Eve and was unable to find them, He knew something was amiss. How many of us, as parents, would have similar hunches upon being unable to find our children? When He called for them, and Adam responded with fear due to them being ashamed because they were naked, God knew of their disobedience already. Putting a disobedient child out to fend for him-/her- self is one of the most difficult tasks a parent must face. The fact that God had to walk in these shoes first with His own creation tells us it is due to the child’s choices these steps had to be taken. Adam and Eve chose to disobey God; so, He had to put them out of their beautiful garden He created just for them. From that day forth, they were to fend for themselves. Pain, sweat, and death would be served as punishment for their disobedience.

This took “fortitude” for God to take this stand with Adam and Eve. In this one sequence of events, we can see the strength, the courage, the bravery it took for God to stand up to Adam and Eve with a love that did not cast them away from Him–rather it cast them out of the luxurious life He had created for them.

Thus, when you are tempted to ask, “How can a loving God be so cruel as to punish us when we have done wrong?” remember, it was Adam and Eve who punished you. As their seed, we reaped the consequences of their actions along with them. This is why we now have the New Testament plan of salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord–God’s Son. This is why we have full freedom to choose to be a recipient of this salvation, or we can choose to ignore it and experience life separate and apart from God. It is not God who punishes us! It is our choice; therefore, it is “we” who punish ourselves.

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16 — “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

17 — “For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world but that the world through Him might be saved.”

18 — “He that believeth on Him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

19 — “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.”

John 3:16-19–“Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)”

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Sources:

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). Genesis 2:8-10. “Holy Bible: Old Testament, King James Version” (KJV). U.S. Congress. (1 August 2021). Genesis 2:8 – 2:10 (kingjamesbibleonline.org).

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). Genesis 2:18. “Holy Bible: Old Testament, King James Version (KJV).” U.S. Congress. (1 August 2021). GENESIS 2:18 KJV “And the LORD God said, [It is] not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.” (kingjamesbibleonline.org).

Eds. Bible Gateway. (1993). Genesis 2:21-25. “Holy Bible: Old Testament, King James Version (KJV).” biblegateway.com. (1 August 2021). Genesis 2:21-25 KJV – And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to – Bible Gateway.

Eds. Bible Gateway. (1993). Genesis 3:7-24. “Holy Bible: Old Testament, King James Version (KJV).” biblegateway.com. (1 August 2021). Genesis 3:7-24 KJV – And the eyes of them both were opened, – Bible Gateway.

Eds. Bible Gateway. (1993). John 3:16-19. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV).” biblegateway.com. (1 August 2021). John 3:16-19 KJV – For God so loved the world, that he – Bible Gateway.

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Photo Above: by Roman Grac @pixabay.com.

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