11 Sep Murder Was The Case
The act of murder is horrendous. Considering the punishment, many of us think that we could NEVER take a life, RIGHT? We may never take the physical life of anyone, but have we not killed people on the job, in the neighborhood, or on roads and freeways with our ungodly thoughts and harsh words? Along with these, I know I have assassinated many politicians and prominent community leaders. I have even dared to murder people who were my own brothers and sisters in Christ. I have killed many times over because of the anger I have held in my heart. One particular story comes to mind.
Many of us are very familiar with the bible story of the first sibling rivalry between Cain and Abel, the first two children of Adam and Eve. Our minister, Brother Nick Glenn, introduced the lesson, A Case of Murder, and retold the story of a brother slaying his brother beginning in Genesis Chapter 4. Listening to the lesson, I experienced feelings from both ends of the emotional spectrum. I felt sadness because the same jealousy and anger that many of us sometimes feel resulted in homicide. I also felt joy because our omniscient God had a scheme of redemption that is now underway!
The trouble, of course, did not start with Cain and Abel. Brother Glenn gave us a powerful history lesson on how sin entered the world. Adam and Eve both knew not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. They were not to even touch it! Eve, however, was deceived by a cunning and very crafty Satan and she ate the fruit. Adam, on the other hand, was not deceived but ate the fruit given to him by his wife. WHY? Was he that hungry or was he so taken by the woman that God had given him that he chose to disobey God to please her? Regardless of his reason, sin had entered the world and they were to surely die. It is so comforting to know that before this first sin occurred and even before the foundation of the world, that our great God had a plan of salvation and did not plan to make our separation from Him permanent. God had a scheme of redemption that he even introduced to Satan before Adam and Eve were expelled from the garden. (Genesis 3:15)
In Genesis 4:1 Adam and Eve had been kicked out of the garden. They had messed up big time! Nonetheless, God shows mercy and allows them to have a child. Even after their disobedience, God did not take away their purpose as expressed in Genesis 1:28. This truly resonated with me because I have messed up so, so many times and I will continue to mess up as long as I am clothed in this flesh! Thank God that he does not strip me of my purpose, productivity, hopes, or dreams! Eve gives partial credit to God by proclaiming that “I have acquired a man from the Lord” and they name him Cain. In Hebrew, the name Cain means “one who desires to take possession quickly by stabbing and striking, being possessed and provoked by jealousy”. The second son given to the family was Abel. His name in Hebrew means “something that is brief, something that is worthless, vanities of vanities”.
Like siblings in many families, these brothers were distinctly different from each other. The younger Abel is mentioned first in Genesis 4:2 and Cain is mentioned after his brother even though he was the older. As explained by Brother Nick, this breaks with primogeniture or the system of inheritance or succession by the firstborn, specifically the eldest son. In this case, as with others, God bypasses who’s first and goes to who’s next. In Genesis 4:2-5 we see differences emerge that would build to a case of murder. Abel was a shepherd and respected by God. Conversely, Cain was a tiller of the ground and the ground had been cursed because of the first sin. Cain was not respected by God. Cain is overcome with jealousy and anger. He assassinates his brother!
In Matthew 5:21–24, Jesus tells us that murderers will be in danger of judgment. He also tells us that we are in danger of judgment if we are angry with our brother because of the actions anger brings. But, hold up Lord, didn’t you tell us in Ephesians 4:26 to be angry, but sin not? Therefore, we know that the danger is not in merely getting angry. Anger is not a sin, but rather an emotion that God has given us (and God has given us everything for a purpose). The danger of judgment lies when we don’t or can’t control this powerful emotion and we act on it in a destructive way! So, how can we control our anger so that we glorify God and use our anger in the way He intended, rather than sin, and put ourselves in danger of judgment? Great question! The answer begins with coming to God and connecting with Him and He has a wonderful plan for that. We come to Him by way of another shepherd – THE GOOD SHEPHERD, Jesus Christ! From one murderer to another, I stand ready to introduce him to you!