Spilled Blood

cainabel

The story of Cain and Abel. I’ve shared on this before, but wanted to come back to it. It sets so many of the patterns of our world that we follow to this day, it’s worth looking at over and over.

abels-offering
When they grew up, Abel became a shepherd, while Cain cultivated the ground. When it was time for the harvest, Cain presented some of his crops as a gift to the LORD. Abel also brought a gift—the best portions of the firstborn lambs from his flock. The LORD accepted Abel and his gift, but he did not accept Cain and his gift. When I first read this, I was trying to figure out why Cain’s gift was rejected and Abel’s accepted. I thought it had something to do with Abel being a shepherd and Cain working the ground, but that had nothing to do with it at all. Like so many other bible stories, we really only get the surface, the highlights. We don’t get to read what was happening to lead up to this point. But the writer of Hebrews tells us – “It was by faith that Abel brought a more acceptable offering to God than Cain did. Abel’s offering gave evidence that he was a righteous man, and God showed his approval of his gifts. Although Abel is long dead, he still speaks to us by his example of faith.” Hebrews‬ ‭11:4‬ ‭NLT‬‬. Abel’s offering was based on faith. Cain had some sin in his heart. God wasn’t interested in the offering, but in the heart behind the offering.

anger
This made Cain very angry, and he looked dejected. “Why are you so angry?” the LORD asked Cain. “Why do you look so dejected? You will be accepted if you do what is right. But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master.” Cain reacts as we still do to another getting praise over us – with anger and jealousy. But God tries to lift him up and encourage him. Why do you look so dejected? You will be accepted if you do what is right. If you turn from your anger and bitterness, you will be accepted too. Maybe part of the reason Cain was so upset was because he felt he was being slighted of his first-born rights, which were very important in these ancient times. But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master. This verse is huge. The actually verbiage in Hebrew for crouch can mean “lie in wait”, and was associated with demons guarding the entrances to building in ancient Mesopotamian religions. So, God is telling Cain here that he has demons lying in wait for him, that they want to control him. Sin, personified as a demonic force, just waiting for the chance to strike. And notice the warning here – But you must subdue it and be its master.   Control that demon, or it will control you.
One day Cain suggested to his brother, “Let’s go out into the fields.” And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother, Abel, and killed him. Cain did not control that demon at his door. Satan’s minion had its way with him, sin took control. Anger, jealousy, and rage won the day.

brothers-keeper
Afterward the LORD asked Cain, “Where is your brother? Where is Abel?” “I don’t know,” Cain responded. “Am I my brother’s guardian?” But the LORD said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground! Now you are cursed and banished from the ground, which has swallowed your brother’s blood. No longer will the ground yield good crops for you, no matter how hard you work! From now on you will be a homeless wanderer on the earth.” From Genesis 3 we see Adam and Eve quickly confessed their sin to God. But Cain here lies directly to God (probably to himself too). Our sin so quickly multiplies, doesn’t it. We do something we know is wrong, we lie about it. We tell another lie to cover up the first lie. And on and on it goes. “I don’t know,” Cain responded. “Am I my brother’s guardian? So quickly, Cain went to denying any responsibility for his brother. In fact, he went from seeing Abel as “brother“, instead he saw him as “other“. Once God accepted Abel’s offering over his, his brother became a rival, a competitor who had to be defeated. We are all children of God, right? We are all brothers. We are all made in His image. But how many of your brothers do you instead see as a rival? Are you your brothers keeper? Think about it.

bloodsplatter

But the LORD said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground! No matter how much we try to cover it up, lie to ourselves, try to get away with it, God already knows. But we already know that too, don’t we? Yet, we still try and try to cover up the crime.

big-guns

So Cain left the LORD’s presence and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden. Cain had sexual relations with his wife, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Enoch. Then Cain founded a city, which he named Enoch, after his son. Skipping forward to the point I’m trying to make here. This is the foundation of our society, the pattern set which Jesus came to reset. We see our brother as other, find any reason to conquer and subdue him in the name of our own empire. This has been going on perpetually since this story of Cain and Abel. We see our brothers as rivals, fight wars using whatever just cause we try to claim. We lie to ourselves and to God about what just happened. We hide the bodies and pretend like all that blood is not telling our truths.

 
Our society was founded on a system of power enforced by force, built on the blood of millions of Abel’s throughout history. Their blood cries out from the ground. Jesus came to re-found the world on an axis of love.  Instead of demanding the blood of some “other“, He gave His own blood so that the blood of all our brothers, the blood of all our sons and daughters might no longer have to be shed. Paraphrasing Ravi Zacharias, in a discussion between Christian and Muslim thinkers that until we all accept the blood given by the son of God on the cross, we will continue giving the blood of our own sons.

blood-of-jesus

“Now Adam had sexual relations with his wife, Eve, and she became pregnant. When she gave birth to Cain, she said, “With the LORD’s help, I have produced a man!” Later she gave birth to his brother and named him Abel. When they grew up, Abel became a shepherd, while Cain cultivated the ground. When it was time for the harvest, Cain presented some of his crops as a gift to the LORD. Abel also brought a gift—the best portions of the firstborn lambs from his flock. The LORD accepted Abel and his gift, but he did not accept Cain and his gift. This made Cain very angry, and he looked dejected. “Why are you so angry?” the LORD asked Cain. “Why do you look so dejected? You will be accepted if you do what is right. But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master.” One day Cain suggested to his brother, “Let’s go out into the fields.” And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother, Abel, and killed him. Afterward the LORD asked Cain, “Where is your brother? Where is Abel?” “I don’t know,” Cain responded. “Am I my brother’s guardian?” But the LORD said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground! Now you are cursed and banished from the ground, which has swallowed your brother’s blood. No longer will the ground yield good crops for you, no matter how hard you work! From now on you will be a homeless wanderer on the earth.” Cain replied to the LORD, “My punishment is too great for me to bear! You have banished me from the land and from your presence; you have made me a homeless wanderer. Anyone who finds me will kill me!” The LORD replied, “No, for I will give a sevenfold punishment to anyone who kills you.” Then the LORD put a mark on Cain to warn anyone who might try to kill him. So Cain left the LORD’s presence and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden. Cain had sexual relations with his wife, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Enoch. Then Cain founded a city, which he named Enoch, after his son.”

‭‭Genesis‬ ‭4:1-17‬ ‭NLT‬‬

http://bible.com/116/gen.4.1-17.nlt

John Lewis

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7 thoughts on “Spilled Blood

  1. I’ll share something in a VERY superficial way here. It has to do with Abel’s blood crying to God from the ground. In my current series on “DNA: Pirates of the Sacred Spiral,” I’ve learned how everything in and around us vibrates, everything has its own note to play in God’s symphony in creation. This also coordinates with other theories that many so-called fairy tales are drawn from real histories, real events.

    For example, the giant you growls, Fee, fie, foe, fum! I smell the blood of an Englishman!” The idea as that the Nephilim could indeed “smell out” those they hunted.

    Like I said, very superficial, but it seems to jibe with “blood calling out” numerous times in the Bible. Without God’s ears, we don’t hear it, we don’t value it, we too easily dump our brother’s blood on the ground, because we can’t hear ALL of the screams! Not too different from today, as you pointed out, where life is held so cheaply.

    Thanks for you patience in hearing me out. And thanks for another great contemplation!

    Liked by 1 person

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