In Genesis 4:3-10 we read of the first recorded murder in scripture. “In the course of time Cain brought to the LORD an offering of the fruit of the ground, and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the LORD had regard for Abel and his offering, butfor Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell. The LORD said to Cain, "Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it." Cain spoke to Abel his brother. And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him. Then the LORD said to Cain, "Where is Abel your brother?" He said, "I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?" And the LORD said, "What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground.”
Further, we read in 1 John 3:12 , “We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous.” We learn of why this murder was committed from this passage. Do you see the answer? It is given in the last sentence. What ‘works’ of Cain were evil and what ‘works’ of Abel were righteous? Genesis 4 provides us with their works. Hebrews 11: 4 also provides us valuable information on this: “By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks.” Do you see the connection between Abel’s sacrifice and being commended as righteous?On the other hand, we read in Jude 11 of “the way of Cain” in reference to false teachers. They are like Cain in that they “despise (reject) authority (v. 8); also, they “walk according to their own desires (Jude 16, 18). God instructed both Abel and Cain as to how to sacrifice. Abel offered in or by faith, and thus did as commanded; Cain rejected God’s commands and offered according to his own desires. When his sacrifice was therefore, rejected as unacceptable, how did he react? We read, “…Cain was very angry, and his face fell. The LORD said to Cain, "Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it." Cain did not rule over sin, but in anger took his frustration over being rejected out on his brother. Could not Cain have reacted differently? In James 1:14-15 we find, “ But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.” What happened with Cain? We know don’t we? The same pattern of behavior is followed by all who do not acknowledge their error when confronted with it. Thus, we understand why murder occurs in society. There were many such atrocities and killings like as which Cain committed. Consider: Lamech in Gen. 4:23-24; Simeon and Levi in Gen. 34:25-31; Pharaoh in Exodus 1:16, 22; Moses in Exodus 2:12; Ehud in Judges 3:16-23; Jael in Judges 4:21; Abimelech in Judges 9:5, 18, 56. An Amalekite in 2 Sam. 1:16; Abner in 2 Sam. 2:18-24, etc. All were committed out of a motive. The context will bear this out in each case. Motives can be pure or impure. David murdered Uriah in 2 Sam. 11:14-17 to cover up a previous sin of fornication with Uriah’s wife. We find that Barabbas in (Mark 15:7; Acts 3:14), was a murderer. Herod’s actions in Acts 12:2, 19 of killing James and later his own guards were motivated out of impure motives. A common link to such behavior is guilt. But guilt of what? Genesis 4 contains the answer, “If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it."
It is guilt over “not doing well”; but in what regard? Do you see the answer? In what matter was Cain rejected prior to his murder of Abel?
The bible is clear on such things as envy, jealousy, etc. They are sins. But how does a person develop such? Can they be avoided? Can they be “ruled over” as God told Cain? Jesus told us the source of such evils in Matthew 15:11. “Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.”In Matt. 15:17-20, He explained this statement: “Do you not yet understand that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and is eliminated? But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. These are the things which defile a man…”. We need to give attention to what we allow to enter our minds. As the old saying goes, “Trash in; trash out”. When murder is committed, ought it to be considered strange, or senseless? Or is it a natural fruit of a defiled mind? Consider Satan. In John 8:44, speaking of Satan, Jesus said “He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own; for he is a liar, and the father of it.”
Consider…did Satan kill anyone? Do you find record of his literally slaying anyone? Yet it is stated of him that he was a murderer. How was this true?
The answer is given in this verse…do you see it? It follows the word ‘because’. Read carefully the next sentence as well. What else is Satan called? Do you see the connection between murder and lying? Do you see how it is true that Satan was a murderer? Who did he first murder? Genesis 3 tells us. How did Satan ‘murder’? Was his murder senseless, and/or unexplained, or was there a motive? Are there motives to what has historically been called a ‘senseless’ killing?
What of us and our motives? Can we have pure motives? Can we have evil motives?
What was true of Satan is also true of you and I, when we do as Satan did. What is your view (attitude) of lying? Do you “put it in the same category” as murder? Is murder viewed as worse than lying in your estimation? Why do we tend to view such killings as random, senseless, etc. as being of the nature that GOD will punish such with greater vengeance? Notice from the Sermon on the Mount, what Jesus said of anger, "You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment.…” (Matt. 5:21-22). Where does murder begin? Jesus said in Matt. 15:19, “Out of the heart proceed evil thought, murders.” Furthermore, we find in 1 John 3:15 this teaching for the Christian, “Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.” What kind of ‘murder’ is under consideration here? For one to claim to be a disciple of Jesus and hate his brother without cause, is to be a murderer. While the taking of a life physically may not occur, a murder has been committed, has it not? What kind of murder? In regard to murder and hatred, Jesus revealed to us that in God’s eyes, they are equally viewed. And Jesus came to declare to us the will of the Father. We need to view lying, hatred without cause and murder in the way that God does. Then and only then will we deal with it properly and “put it away from us” as we find stated in Col. 3:5-10.In Gal. 5:19-21, we find that such is a work of the flesh, and those who practice such shall not inherit the kingdom of God. What kind of murderer does the apostle Paul have in mind? 1 Peter 4:15 says, “Let none of you suffer as a murderer.” What kind of murderer does Peter have in mind? Re-read 1 Peter 4:15. Is literal murder a senseless act or is it a natural fruit of sin? It ought not be thought a strange, senseless act when the Bible clearly teaches that ones actions will be in accordance with ones thoughts. What we allow into our minds will be acted out in our behavior. This danger has long been recognized by others. I have posted several blogs on the effects of viewing immorality upon the heart of individuals. I would encourage you to read them if you haven’t as yet. Such killing can come to an end, but we must address the source of the problem: polluting the heart (mind) with filth. Let us rather be “filled with the Spirit like as Paul taught in Eph. 5:18-19, “…be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another inpsalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart…”Let us be led by the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-26) and we will bear fruit accordingly. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.”The Spirit of God has revealed unto us the will of God; let us receive those things that we might know how to prevent murder. “…we have received…the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God…” (1 Cor. 2:12). Let us “think on” the things revealed to us by God's Spirit and we have the promise that God will be with us (Phil. 4:8-9). “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” Let us not only understand how and why such killings occur, but more importantly, let us have faith in what God has spoken in these passages and obey Him.