Summer Devotional and Sermon Series
Week 2/Heroes: Cain & Abel
In every family with children, there is a firstborn. In Old Testament times, that child grew up with a special destiny. They were thrust into the role of trailblazers and they represented the future hope of the family and its name. In the tradition of the Hebrew culture, all children would receive an equal share of the inheritance but the firstborn son would receive a double portion. This double portion is spoken of as the birthright blessing. With the rights of the firstborn also came responsibility. Their life was to be dedicated to the Lord and they were to be a leader and a blessing to others. The firstborn son had authority and responsibility for his younger brothers as they were to watch out for the younger siblings and to set the pace and map out the path for them. It was into this culture and mindset that Cain was born.
When we take into account the special place Cain held as the firstborn, it is a bit easier to understand why he was angry that his gift was rejected. His gift should have been the best but that of his younger brother was given preference over his. Cain seethed with humiliation and anger and in that state, lured Abel out into the field. His jealousy overtook him and led him to commit the heinous act of murder. Ephesians 4: 26-27 tells us “Go ahead and be angry. You do well to be angry—but don’t use your anger as fuel for revenge. And don’t stay angry. Don’t go to bed angry. Don’t give the Devil that kind of foothold in your life.” Unfortunately, Cain used his anger in a revengeful manner and Abel paid the price with his life. Now we see that the “potentially hoped for redeemer” was a murderer and his brother the victim. The downward course of sin among the young human race was moving quickly.
God spoke to Cain and challenged him to tell the truth about what had happened. Cain evaded the question with the answer “What am I…my brother’s keeper?” Ironic since that is exactly what he was as the firstborn. God’s reply to him was that the blood of Abel was calling out from the ground where it was spilled. What a picture that paints of God’s anguish.
I suspect we have all (in some manner or another) used the words “ I could just kill you” when we were angry over a situation with a sibling, spouse or friend. We don’t literally mean we would take their life, but the words indicate how angry we are at that moment. Proverbs 12:18 says “The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” Our words have the power to destroy someone’s self-esteem and leave them with a wounded soul. We must be careful in how we use our words. We need to guard our tongues and our hearts and do not allow anger to rule our life choices lest we end up as Cain did.