Growing up I had two Collies named Charlie and Linus. They were brothers. They were different. Early on Linus tried to off Charlie like Cain did Abel. They were riding in the back of the pickup and Charlie fell out the back; we are pretty sure we saw Linus push him. From that day on Charlie had a slew of health issues. Charlie chased cars. He was ‘bumped’ so many times we quit counting and was straight up ran over once. This messed up his back legs such that if you would slap him on the rear on a cold day he would just gently fall over on his side. He had a tumor on his back and three ears. Some varmint got a hold of one of his ears and split it down the middle. Oddly though death seemed to follow Charlie he lived a couple of years longer than his brother. Linus was lazy and loved to eat. He loved peanuts. He would crack the shell himself, spit everything out, then eat only the peanuts. They gave him gas. Same litter – very different.
Cain and Abel, same parents – very different. Too often we read this ‘little story’ of sibling rivalry and fail to see ourselves in it. This text smells of heaven or hell – for you. You are one of these brothers. My contention is that unless Jesus has done something to you, you are Cain.
You are the spawn of Satan. Two seeds make up all of humanity, the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent. They are opposed to one another. Don’t flatter yourself that you are the humble, pious worshipper who is a victim. Everybody is a victim these days anyway, it doesn’t make you special. If you really want to stand out today and be unique, fess up that you are the villain. You are Cain. Oh, you may look very religious, so did Cain, so did the Pharisees (John 8:34-47). Yes, you bring your offerings, but like Cain you are not after God, but after some kind of blessing. And when you don’t get it, you get angry just like Cain. Your anger, just as powerfully as your love, will show your true gods.
But there is hope. Everything that Cain failed to be Jesus was. He is the true and better Elder Brother. His blood cries out salvation instead of condemnation, even though we are guilty of it all the same (Hebrews 12:24). Instead of taking our lives, which He unlike Cain, would be just in doing, He gives His life in order to give us life, and in such a way that He remains just (Romans 3:26). Jesus is cursed, but not for His sin, he is cursed for ours. He is driven “away from the presence of the Lord” crying out “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me” so that we might enter into His presence where there is joy evermore.