Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
September 19, 1963
NUMBER 20, PAGE 6,12b

"Where Art Thou?" -- "Where Is Thy Brother?"

Robert H. Farish

The two questions, "Where art thou?" and "Where is thy brother?" probe the personal and the social obligations of men. A genuine interest in these two questions of location is necessary in order for a person to realize the purpose of his existence. Exclusive concern for the first is base selfishness; however, one must first "find" himself before he can effectively aid his fellowman to find himself. The divine order is: (1) save thyself, (2) save others.

"Where Art Thou?"

Every person needs to frequently take his mind from the daily "press of affairs" and seriously ponder the question, where am I? This enables him to "come to himself" if he has thoughtlessly drifted from his ideals. "Where art thou?" Are you growing in grace and knowledge of God or are you drifting away from the things of the gospel which you formerly heard? Primary concern for one's personal spiritual position is not a violation of the love required which "seeketh not its own"; rather, it is essential conditioning of heart which equips one to avoid the hypocritical course of those who "say and do not." Sober consideration of the question as it relates to one personally, plus prompt action to change locations when change is indicated, are both necessary in order for the question to accomplish its designs in one's life.

Hiding From God

A driving compulsion to hide from God possessed Adam after his sin caused him to be afraid. What an awful condition to contemplate! This compulsion to hide from God will characterize the wicked when the great day of their wrath is come — "and the kings of the earth, and their princes, and the chief captains, and the rich, and the strong, and every bondman and freeman, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains; and they say to the mountains and to the rocks fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: for the great day of their wrath is come; and who is able to stand." (Rev. 6:15,17) The first man, following the first sin, experienced that sinking of spirit which unmanned him and drove him to try to hide from God.

Adam needed to know where he really was in relation to God; he needed conviction of sin, that is, he needed to be brought to a realization of the enormity of transgressing God's law. This question would help him to the necessary realization of his spiritual location. Not long before this, disobedience to God had seemed to Eve to be the most promising course to follow. She "saw that the tree was good for food.... a delight to the eyes.... to be desired to make one wise." (Gen. 3:6) Adam and Eve must be caused to see through the glowing, persuasive, propaganda of the devil. They must see that he had lied to them, and that they, by obeying the devil, had separated themselves from God.

If Today Were Judgment Day

"Where art thou" now? If today were judgment day would you be in that company whom Jesus addresses as "blessed of my Father" and hear Him invite you with them to "inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world"? Or would you be in that pitiful throng to whom he will say, "depart from me, ye cursed, into the eternal fire which is prepared for the devil and his angels"?

After this essential introspection which this question requires, attention needs to be directed to the question which God asked the second man — "where is thy brother?"

"Where Is Thy Brother?"

To Cain, the second man, but the first to be born, God said, 'Where is Abel thy brother?" What was Cain's first thought upon hearing God's question? Did memory flash that awful scene before his eyes again? Did he shudder as that field, where he "rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him," was brought back into sharp focus before his mind? Did he see the form of his brother as it lay there with the earth receiving its blood? Or did he recall a grave hastily dug in which he had sought to hide his brother's body? Whether he with callous impudence left Abel's body lying in the field, or with shaking limbs dug a grave in which to hide him, Cain knew where his brother's body was.

"What Hast Thou Done?"

Cain's resentment had been aroused because God "had respect unto Abel and to his offering; but unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect." (Gen. 4:4) The writer of the Hebrew letter explains that "by faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain." (Heb. 11:4) It was what these brothers did that caused God to respect one and to respect not the other. John states that Cain's evil works, in contrast to Abel's righteous works, were the cause of Cain slaying his brother. (1 John 3:12) God also used language which identifies the deeds of the two as the basis upon which God respected one and did not respect the other. God said, "if thou doest well, etc."

Cain's early reaction to God's rejection of him and his offering was to be "very wroth and his countenance fell." What better description of a resentful man could you find than this? God explained to him that if "thou doest well shall it not be lifted up?" Well doing is the most successful face lifter known to man. God proceeded to warn Cain of the dangers of continuing to entertain resentment in his heart. He should have repented and done what God had commanded him to do in offering, thus would his countenance have been "lifted up" in the realization of his acceptance with God. But so long as he continued to be wroth at God, "sin coucheth at (his) door" with its desire to consume him. Cain did not rule over it, but continued in his way — "the way of Cain" — until his resentment reached such a peak that he "rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him." Cain's failure to rule over sin is the failure common in our day; people, to whom God has said "let not sin therefore reign your mortal bodies, that you should obey the lust thereof...." (Rom. 6:12), continue to fail to take decisive action against sin in their lives.

Let those who think that harboring resentment is a small thing, take a long thoughtful look at Cain when he stood with a bloody weapon and looked down at the lifeless body of his brother. With resentment expressed in his bloody deed, passion spent, and the life of his brother beyond human recall, how did Cain feel? Did horror come to reign in his heart instead of resentment? Was rapid evaporating wrath instantly replaced with chilling horror? Did the poor miserable wretch linger there gazing intently at that still form, desperately longing to see some sign of life in that form which he had struck down? While the Bible does not answer these questions in detail, it is well for the person who is resentful because his worship does not meet with the approval of God's standard, to contemplate the remorse of mind which is possible for one who "doest not well" and then fails to rule over sin, which in a host moves in closer with its desire unto them.

The First Murderer Was Also A Liar

Regardless of the emotions which flooded into Cain's soul when he had accomplished his deed and regardless of the distance which now separated him from the field where he rose up and slew his brother, he still knew where he was. Hence, when God called unto him to give an account of where his brother was, he lied when he said "I know not." He sought to establish his independence of responsibility to know where his brother was by asking, "Am I my brother's keeper?" This question is a denial of social responsibility.

At first glance it might appear highly improbable that Cain would lie to God in an attempt to avoid the punishment which was due his crime, but when we remember that Ananias and Sapphire lied to God about their giving and when we further consider the lies that are told today in an attempt to justify sins, not only of commission, but of omission in failing to discharge the obligations of work and-worship-which God has assigned, we surely will not be slow to accept the fact that Cain lied to God. If we could all but realize that we like Cain will not get by with lying to God we would have learned a most valuable lesson.

Where art thou? Where is thy brother?

— 417 E. Groesbeck, Lufkin, Texas