#DailyDevotion How You Treat Your Neighbor Is How You Treat God
Genesis 45 Then Cain got very angry and wouldn’t look up. 6“Why are you angry,” God asked Cain, “and why are you looking down? Isn’t it true that if you do right you are accepted? 7But if you don’t do right, sin is crouching at your door and wants to get you; but you should control it.” 8Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go outside.” While they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him. ‘Then the LORD asked Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?””I don’t know,” he answered. “Should I watch over my brother?” 10 “What did you do?” He asked. “Your brother’s blood is crying to Me from the ground. 11And now you are cursed and must leave the ground that has opened its mouth to drink your brother’s blood dropping from your hands. 12When you work the ground, it will no longer give you what it can produce. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth.” 13“My punishment is more than I can stand,” Cain told the LORD. 14“Today You are driving me from the land, and I must hide from You and be a restless wanderer on the earth, and anyone who finds me can kill me.” 15The LORD told him, “No, anyone who kills Cain will be punished seven times.” And the LORD put a mark on Cain to keep anyone who met him from killing him.
Cain was angry. He was angry with God for not accepting his sacrifice. He was angry and jealous of his brother Abel because the LORD accepted his sacrifice. It’s pretty hard to lash out at God. I mean, what can we do to him? Not a whole lot. So what does Cain do? He lashes out at the next best thing to God, his brother Abel. Indeed he strikes Abel down and kills him. Jesus teaches us, Matt. 521“You have heard that long ago the people were told: ‘Do not murder. Whoever murders must answer for it in court.’ 22“But I tell you, anyone who is angry with his brother will have to answer for it in court. Anyone who calls his brother an empty-head’ will have to answer for it before the highest court. Anyone who calls him a ‘fooľ will have to answer for it in hellfire.” Anger leads to murder, indeed in the heart it is the same thing. But why is it so wrong anyway (yes, I realize this sounds incredulous)?
The LORD tells us in Genesis 95“…If anyone kills a man, he should be killed by a man because God made man like Himself.” The LORD is reminding us what he said in Gen. 126Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, like Ourselves, that they might rule over the fish in the sea, the birds in the air, and the cattle, over all the earth and everything that moves on the earth.” 27And God created man in His image, in God’s image He created him; He created them male and female.
You see we are made in God’s image and likeness. While we cannot strike God, we can strike that which is his image and likeness, and that is our fellow man. Not only are we made in God’s image and likeness, but our Lord Jesus Christ is the very image of God into whose likeness we are made, for it is written, Col. 115“He is the Image of the invisible God, the Firstborn over all creation,…” Heb. 13“He… is the Expression of His Being.” Since the fall, it is the image of Christ Jesus to which we are being conformed, being renewed in holiness, righteousness, wisdom and knowledge through faith in Christ. However, it is this image in which we were created, that of Christ Jesus, and which our neighbor bears.
You see the whole of the second table of the Law is based on your neighbor being in the image and likeness to God in Christ Jesus. What you do to your neighbor, you do to Christ and God whose image and likeness they bear. Now the punishment Cain bore the LORD absolved by putting a mark on him. We believe it looked like a cross. Upon the cross, the very image of God, the exact expression of God’s being was hung to pay for the sin of the world, for your sin. Your sin against God and your sin against his image is atoned for by the cross of Christ. By faith in Christ Jesus’ sacrifice for you sin you begin to see the image of God in your neighbor and treat him as one who bears God’s image and likeness.
Almighty God and Father, your created mankind in the image and likeness of your only begotten Son Jesus Christ and redeemed us by hanging the exact expression of your being upon the cross. Grant us faith to believe this and live according to this. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.