With the arrival of sin, it did not take long for the world to break down further. Sparked by jealousy, misunderstanding, and anger, the first murder involved the first pair of brothers. When God questioned Cain about his sin, his reply is probably ironic and rhetorical—“Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Gen. 4:9)—and the answer implied by God’s initial question was, “Yes, absolutely, you are your brother’s keeper”.
Read Proverbs 22:2. What is implied in this apparently simple statement? What does it tell us about our relationship to our fellow human beings?
Everyone we meet is one of God’s creatures, created in His image, and part of the network of relationships that connects us all in God’s creation, fractured and broken though it might be. “We are all woven together in the web of humanity. The evil that befalls any part of the great human brotherhood brings peril to all”. – Ellen G. White, The Ministry of Healing, p. 345. Like it or not, because of this common link, we have a God-given responsibility to God and to each other (see Matt. 22:37-39).
Throughout the Bible, the claim that God is our Creator is recurring. For example, it is one of the reasons given for remembering the Sabbath (see Exod. 20:11) and for worshiping God in the end time (see Rev. 14:7). It is also a primary motivation given for caring about others, for being concerned for the less fortunate.
We are all linked by the bond of our common origins in God. Whoever “oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God” (Prov. 14:31, NIV). How much clearer could that link be?
God as our Creator has a claim on us that demands our entire life, including our worship and our service and care for others. As difficult and frustrating and inconvenient as it might be at times, we are, indeed, our “brother’s keeper”.
Why do you think God’s claims as Creator are such a recurring theme throughout the Bible? Why is this so important, and how should this reality affect how we treat others?