Summary: On the tenth anniversary of 9/11 we need to listen carefully to God's word on how we as His people need to handle hands that shed innocent blood. God's word has much to say about this.
How do you handle hands that shed innocent blood?
Today marks the tenth anniversary of an American tragedy that we have come to call “9/11.” Do you remember where you were and what you were doing that day? I do, and I’m sure most of you do too.
I was back there in that wing of this building in the south west room having a Bible class with Rosa, John Ann Simmons and Reba Hoodenpile. Rosa had just been baptized and we were studying about the Christian life together with John Ann and Reba.
Johnie came to the door and told us that Jay had called to say the World Trade Center towers in NY and the Pentagon had been hit by planes and that our country was under some kind of terrorist attack. We turned on the news and began to see all the terrible images of that event. These images were etched in our minds and hearts. We watched as the towers collapsed and crushed thousands of people, including hundreds of rescue workers who were desperately trying to save lives.
Later we heard about the brave men on United Flight 93 who revolted against the hijackers and thwarted their attempt to crash their plane into another government target. Instead, the hijackers managed to crashed the plane into a reclaimed coal strip mine in Stonycreek Township, Pennsylvania, killing all the passengers. As I read the story on Wikipedia, the emotions of anger and sadness were there again.
We’ve been studying in Proverbs 6 a list of seven things God hates and how to overcome them. Today, on the tenth anniversary of 9/11 we look at the third abhorrent thing God hates: Hands that shed innocent blood.
I can’t think of a more appropriate day to look at this than today.
God hates hands that shed innocent blood. So does everyone who knows and loves God.
There is something despicable about such a godless and sinful act. Something that makes us cringe with recoiling emotions. Something that brings out our innermost feelings of fury. This brings out the best and the worst in us. Guided by God’s word and will, we can be motivated to take amazingly positive actions such as sacrificially give ourselves and resources to reach out to the families and loved ones who suffered the loss of a father, mother, son or daughter, husband, wife, friend…
On the other hand, guided by our flesh, we can be motivated to let bitterness and anger burn and devour our lives with blame and vengeance.
How does God handle his hate? What does God do about hands that shed innocent blood? We really need to know, so that we can handle our own hatred of hands that shed innocent blood.
Let’s look at the Bible and see what we find out.
Look at Genesis 4 with me. Here we see the first example of hands that shed innocent blood. It is the story of Cain and Abel.
Read Genesis 4:1-16
Cain kills his brother because he is angry. Abel’s sacrifice is accepted with God, Cain’s in not. Cain gets mad and God comes to Cain and asks three questions and a clear warning to bring Cain to obedience and acceptance. But no! Cain will not obey the voice of God. Instead Cain’s anger smolders and bitterness takes over. He invites Abel to come with him and then attacks and kills Abel, his own brother!
God comes to Cain again, after he has killed Abel and asks, “Where is your brother Abel?”
One word is repeated six times in verses 8-11: “brother.” Cain says to his brother Abel… Cain attacked and killed his brother Abel… The Lord asks, Where is your brother? Cain replies, Am I my brother’s keeper? The Lord says, Your brother’s blood cries out to me! The ground received your brother’s blood.
Does God hate Cain’s hands? How does he handle his hate for Cain’s hands that have shed innocent blood?
First, notice that God seeks Cain out and offers Cain an opportunity to confess his guilt and show remorse and repent. But Cain rejects God’s grace and therefore receives God’s judgment.
Second, notice that God extends the mercy of protection on him even as Cain belly aches about his punishment being too great!
How does God handle his own hate for hands that shed innocent blood? With mercy and justice.
As hundreds and hundreds of years pass, humanity becomes a cesspool of sin, wickedness and violence. Some of the saddest words in the Bible are Genesis 6:5-6, 11. (read) In this dark time, God found one man, Noah, who walked with God. God told Noah in Genesis 6:13 (read).
After the flood God gives this law: Genesis 9:6 (read). God’s law for shedding innocent blood demonstrates God’s own judgment toward it and hatred of it. Much later in the 10 commandments, God says, “You shall not kill.” This refers not to the sword of justice, but the shedding of innocent blood.