Am I My Brother’s Keeper?

2015 10 C+K Publishing - IMAGE (BROTHERS)

“Then the Lord said to Cain, Where is your brother Abel? I don’t know, he replied. Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Gen. 4:9) This question, “Am I my brother’s keeper,” is an eternal question that has relevance through the ages, from Cain and Abel to all relationships involving men today. This question implies that man would benefit from having someone else who is committed to his well-being. The Lord seems to be specific in directing this question to Cain who is a man. In other words, it appears that God implies that Cain has some responsibility for his brother. One would assume that Cain would want what is best for his brother. More importantly, one may assume that these are the only two brothers on the earth at this time. This fact alone would make their relationship more important when it comes to taking care of each other. Brothers have a unique bond and this bond must be protected and preserved.

The account of Cain and Abel is a story that should touch every man. Two blood brothers who are the only sons of the first family on earth somehow end up in an unimaginable position. How could one brother be so callous when it comes to his only brother? In fact, Cain is the older brother and one assumes that the older brother has some innate awareness that he is expected to take care of his younger sibling. However, in this particular incidence it is the older brother who commits the unthinkable. Cain is responsible for murdering his own brother. It is obvious that no consideration is given to the impact of his decision upon his own future or the horror it will unleash in the lives of his parents. There is no appropriate explanation for his decision or for his shallow response when confronted by the Lord Himself.

Both Cain and Abel brought offerings to the Lord. They must have been taught by their parents that sacrifices were both needed and expected. They were needed because of the disobedience of their parents and the apparent consequences that followed. They were expected because now there was a conscious awareness of the reality of sin and the fact that it had resulted in a separation of man from the presence of God symbolized by their parents’ removal from the Garden of Eden. It may also be safely assumed that they were taught about what constituted an acceptable sacrifice to present to the Lord. One brother, Abel, brought a sacrifice to the Lord that was accepted while his brother, Cain, failed to receive favor from the Lord. His sacrifice was not acceptable and it becomes obvious that Cain experience rejection as well. He became very angry and his countenance fell. The Lord’s response to Cain is recorded in Gen. 4:6–7. “Then the Lord said to Cain, Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you but you must master it.”

In short Cain refused to heed the counsel of the Lord and out of jealousy and rage slew his own brother.  It is his attitude towards his actions that should be a concern for all men today. We are witnessing this same callous spirit in our cities and on our streets today. Far too many of our brothers are being murdered and the response seems to be the same: “Am I my brother’s keeper.” It is this spirit that men must address. May the message that every man was born to reign be proclaimed by kings in every city and the truth that “iron sharpens iron” be repeated until every male-man realizes that he is his brother’s keeper. Finally, may every man realize that he has been given an option by the Father of mankind that “if we do what is right, not only will our offerings be accepted, but we too will be accepted by the Lord!

Dr. Clarence V. Boyd, Jr. is the Dean of Spiritual Formation at Oral Roberts University. He graduated from ORU with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theology and Social Work, a Masters of Arts degree in Theology and a Doctorate of Ministries degree.

Dr. Boyd is the Founder and President of Revelations-Revealed Truth Ministries whose major focus is to take the healing and delivering power of Christ to the inner city. He is also Co-Founder and Pastor of Revelations-Revealed Truth Evangelistic Center (RRTEC) in Tulsa and the author of Endangered Masculinity. He is married to Dr. Kim Boyd. They have four children and six grandchildren.

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