Note: Devotional based on last Sunday's sermon on Genesis 4:1-15.
And [the LORD] said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground (Genesis 4:10).
We see the same pattern here as in Genesis 3. Just as God came and walked in the cool of the day and found out Adam’s sin, so he comes and finds out Cain’s sin.
We can run from God, but we cannot hide. As Moses said to the Israelites in Numbers 32:23, “and be sure your sin will find you out.”
To Adam God said, “Where art thou?” (3:9). To Cain he says, “Where is Abel thy brother?” (4:9).
If Genesis 3 shows the breaking of the first table of the law (man’s duty to God), Genesis 4 shows the breaking of the second table of the law (man’s duty to his fellow man). We are all, in truth, guilty of trespassing both!
Cain famously replies, trying to hide his sin, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” (v. 9b). John Currid writes:
This is a figure of speech used here to emphasize a sense of indignant refusal. What a bold, defiant, and rebellious response! Instead of fearing God, Cain questions him. The irony is that the true answer is positive: one is indeed to keep one’s brother (Genesis, Vol. 1, 147).
This same commentator notes that seven times in this passage, Abel is referred to as “brother” (vv. 2, 8, 9, 10, 11), but the term is never used of Cain (147).
The LORD then confronts Cain with another question in v. 10a: “What hast thou done?” This is similar to God’s question of Eve in Genesis 3:13, “What is it thou hast done?” Is God ignorant of what has happened? Of course not. He does not ask to furnish his own knowledge but to prick the conscience of the transgressor.
This is the question of a righteous God to sinful man, “What hast thou done?” He continues to ask this question of each of us, pushing us to the end of ourselves so that we might find refuge in Christ alone.
Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle