Am I My Brother's Keeper?

This was the answer of Cain to the Creator when our Heavenly Father asked him, Where is Abel your brother.  In order to understand the inner meaning of this subject we need to understand the historical background of these two brothers, Cain and Abel.

Cain and Abel were the sons of Adam and Eve.  They were taught by their father the way of fearing God, as we assume that he told them what God did to them when they sinned.  When Adam and Eve sinned they covered themselves with leaves of a fig tree.  But God covered them with animal skin which symbolised the covering of their sin by the shedding of blood, which was the foreshadowing of the Lamb of God (Jesus) who shed his blood for the remission of sins of all mankind.

Cain and Abel appeared before the LORD with their own offering.  The Scripture says that Cain brought to the LORD an offering of the first fruit of the ground, and Abel also brought of the first born of his flock and of the fat portions.  The LORD had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering He had no regard.  Cain became very angry and his face fell (Genesis 4:3-5).

Our Heavenly Father is the God of love and graciousness.  He solemnly warned Cain, as the scripture says, “The Lord said to Cain, Why are you angry and why has your face fallen? If you do good will you not be accepted, and if you do not well, sin is couching at the door.  Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it” (Genesis 4:6-7).  Finally Cain killed Abel because he hated discipline and cast away the warning words of God behind him (v. 8).  When Cain killed Abel, the LORD asked Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?”  Cain answered “I do not know.  Am I my brother’s keeper?” (v.9).  As the Bible recorded, it is obvious that Cain and Abel were supposed to be keepers of one another, simply because they were brothers.  As God asked Cain “Where is Abel your brother?”, so we are also asked by our Heavenly Father “Where are your brothers and sisters”.  Are we supposed to be keepers of our brothers and sisters? Yes! How?  There are three ways described in the Bible in which we should be very much concerned with being keepers of one another:

1. Spiritual food

All believers need to grow in the knowledge of God.  We must meet together for Bible study.  This has two advantages. Firstly, to guide others, especially new believers, in growing as Brothers and Sisters and understanding the Scriptures.  “The unfolding of your words gives light, it imparts understanding to the simple” (Ps 119:130).  Meeting together equips the saints for the work of the ministry and building up the body of Christ, “until we all attain to the unity of faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes” (Eph 4:13-16).  Through meeting together we receive instruction in scripture, “profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction and for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16,17).

2. Humanitarian

We must love our Brothers and Sisters, “Then the King will say to those on his right, Come you who are blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.  For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me” (Matthew 25:34-36).

3. Evangelism

Jesus said, “And I have other sheep that are not of this fold.  I must bring them also and they will listen to my voice.  So there will be one flock and one shepherd” (John 10:16).

In Christ we are all keepers of our Brothers and Sisters.  Hallelujah!

Bro. Jonathan Nkombe (Tanzania)

previous chapter previous page table of contents next page