When Cain slew Abel, God questioned Cain, “Where is Abel thy brother?” While this may seem on the surface as an interrogative question, in reality it was much more. It was meant to be more introspective than interrogative, for God who is omniscient certainly knew where Abel was. In fact, the very next statement that God makes is that he has heard the voice of Abel’s blood crying out to him. So why then did God ask, “Where is Abel thy brother?”
First, I believe, God wanted to pique the conscience of Cain in reminding him of his foolish sin of murder and asks him for Abel’s whereabouts. God was not so much so condemning Cain as much as he was trying to convict Cain of sin by appealling to Cain’s conscience. Second, if you noticed, God mentions Abel by name, not so much so, clarifying as to whom he was asking about, but more so to confirm that God knows those who find favor in his sight (as did Abel) by name (Genesis 4:; Exodus 33:17). God knows his sheep (his people – you and me) by name (John 10:3). Finally, God refers to Abel as Cain’s brother. Ever wonder why God would explicitly state the relationship between Cain and Abel? At this moment in time, there are no known children of Adam and Eve, mentioned in the Bible and so Cain certainly did not need anyone to remind him that Abel was his brother. So why then did God refer to the Abel as Cain’s brother? I believe, the plausible reason for God to state the relationship between Cain and Abel is to indicate the heart of God, that God is a family-oriented God and he is a God who cares about relationships.
Points to ponder:
When we sin against God by our own selfish lusts and desires (James 1:14), God does not condemn us but instead convicts us of our sin and righteousness and of judgment by the anointing (unction) of the Holy Spirit (John 16:8-9). Let us not ignore or reject the conviction of the Holy Sprit grieving him but instead let us repent of any unconfessed sin (Ephesians 4:30). And on those who believe in Jesus Christ, and who repent and confess their sin, Jesus’ righteousness is imputed on them (Philippians 3:9; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 John 1:9). God knows his righteous by name, as they are recorded in Jesus’, the Lamb of God’s, book of life (Revelation 21:27). Jesus called his disciples brothers (Matthew 28:10) after his resurrection following the completion of the work of God of reconciling God and man on the Cross of calvary (John 19:30). Yahweh is a God who is about reconciling relationship – the relationship between God and man – as brother to brother.
Genesis 4:9 (KJV)
9 And the Lord said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper?
Matthew 28:10 (KJV)
10 Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid: go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me.