Genesis (11) (A Two Part History)
Text: Genesis 4:16 – 26
By: Ken McKinley
Now if you remember last time, we talked about how most likely Eve thought that her first born son Cain was going to be the one through whom God would accomplish redemption. And we also saw how; if that was the case, she was mistaken when Cain murdered his brother Abel. We also saw God pronounce judgment against Cain, and Cain’s selfish response and refusal to repent.
So Cain is banished from the presence of God (sin always brings a separation from God), and he heads out on his own. Now we understand, at least I hope everyone does, that Adam and Eve had other children, and so Cain was probably actually married to one of his sisters even before he was banished, and it is possible that some of his other brothers and sisters traveled along with him, and it was also probably some of his other brothers that he feared would be the ones who would try and kill him for murdering Abel. And as we read on, we learn that Cain names one of his children Enoch. Now that’s interesting, because Cain’s brother Seth also names one of his sons Enoch. And the name Enoch means “To Forge”, so most likely both Cain and Seth were thinking that their sons were the beginning of their new lives. But there’s a difference in these two Enoch’s. Cain’s Enoch has a city named for him, whereas Seth’s Enoch is taken up to the “city whose foundations and whose builder is God.”
And if we follow these two lines of history, we see that Cain’s descendants go all the way down to Lamech, here in chapter 4, and Seth’s descendants go to another Lamech, who is the father of Noah – and it’s interesting to study the contrast between the seed of the serpent and the seed of the woman. Because in Cain’s line, it’s a study of rebellion and sin – But in the line of Seth, it’s a study in grace, and like I said, it’s quite a contrast.
And so; Cain’s sin against God, has resulted in a broken fellowship with God, but also a broken fellowship with his own family. And that’s what sin does, it destroys families and separates us from God, but it also eventually, dehumanizes us.
If we look at verses 19-24 we begin to read about Cain’s line. And I think that this passage is one of the proofs that “All Scripture is given by inspiration from God.” Because what we read here is both the good and the bad. IF it had been uninspired human authors retelling this history, instead of Moses who was inspired by the Holy Spirit, I would imagine that all we would read about Cain and his line are the bad things. But here we are actually told some of the positives found within his line. Cain’s people are excellent herders and musicians; they are the first metal workers, and very adept at the nomadic lifestyle. And what this is telling us is that God gives what we call “common grace” to all. In-other-words, God gifts all of mankind with certain abilities, some have special talents, others have great knowledge, others are strong or athletic. The Bible tells us that God causes it to rain on the just and the unjust. And again, theologians call this “common grace.” Meaning that it is not the special grace that is given during salvation, but that it is blessings that are bestowed on all of mankind alike, even though they might use it for evil or wrong purposes.
Also in those verses (19-24) we learn what kind of man Lamech, Cain’s son, was. We learn that he was a polygamist, that he was a murderer, and that he was just like Cain in the fact that he didn’t repent, but he was actually worse than Cain in the fact that he boasted about his murder. So what we see here is the progression of sin. Cain didn’t repent, but he feared God’s judgment. Lamech has no fear of God. He’s also an unforgiving person. What the text literally says here is that a child wounds him and Lamech strikes the child down with furry and anger. Now it’s interesting, that in the NT, Peter asks Jesus how many times we should forgive someone who sins against us, and he says “Seven times?” And Jesus responds by saying, “No, not seven times, but seventy times seven…” Jesus very well may have had Lamech’s own words in mind when He told Peter this. So what we’re seeing here in the line of Cain, is actually a mini-picture of so many great nations throughout history. They are technologically advanced but morally bankrupt. We ourselves live in an age that is characterized by technological advancement, our knowledge increases daily. We can put men on the moon, and robots on Mars, we can communicate with people on the other side of the world through the internet, and fly over to see them in just a matter of hours, but none of our science or technology, or know-how has brought about moral improvement. The fact is, and the Bible teaches this over and over and over again, we are not evolving… if anything we are devolving. We are becoming less and less of whatever it is to be human. When we sin, we become less of what God intended of us. And sometimes; when people sin, you’ll hear them say something like, “well I’m only human.” But let me tell you something; humanity is not the root of sin. Moral rebellion in the heart is the root of sin. We don’t sin because we’re human, we sin because we are sinners, and because sin has taken root in our hearts.
And so we see Cain’s descendants becoming worse and worse, but as we get to verses 25 and 26 we come to one of those bright spots in human history, and that’s the birth of Seth. And again; Eve chooses an interesting name for her son. You see; the name “Seth” literally means, “One who has been appointed,” or, “One who is a replacement.” Both of those are applicable to him. Because he was appointed by God to replace Abel and carry on the godly seed of that would eventually bring about the Savior of mankind – Jesus Christ. We also see that it was at this time that men began to call upon the name of the Lord. So basically; up until then, worship had been pretty much spontaneous and confined to particular families, but here Moses is telling us, is the beginning of what we would call communal, corporate worship. So it was about this time in history that we see people gathering together to worship the Lord. And I think it’s interesting, that when we look at the line of Cain, we see the progress of technology, but when we look at the line of Seth we see the progress of worship. And I also think it’s interesting; that if we fast-forward to today, we see that it’s technology that keeps a lot of people from worshiping corporately. They watch some preacher on TV, or download a podcast from the internet, and then tell themselves that they don’t need to go to church and be with an actual gathering of believers.
Now one more point from our text that I want to point out.
We saw back in Genesis chapter three where this spiritual war began, that it started when God said He was going to put enmity between the seed of the serpent and the seed of the woman. We saw the first casualty of that war when Cain murdered Abel, and then we saw the side of the serpents seed grow in number and in worldly power.
But then Seth is born. And I’m not sure if you’re seeing this or not, but the birth of Seth, the birth of this godly line, is – for lack of a better word, God’s counter attack. This is God’s plan, and it was His plan from the beginning. Think about this for a second; if it had been left up to you or me, what would our plan be to combat the wickedness of Cain’s ungodly line? God’s plan isn’t to wage a physical war against them, no His plan was to raise up a line of God-fearing, God-worshiping, God-loving children, who in turn would rear godly children, who in turn would rear godly children, and this would be the case from generation to generation.
Last week I opened my sermon with a joke about some Scotsmen, but this week, I’m going to close – not with a joke but with the actual history of some Scotsmen. In the beginning of the 1800’s the Church in Scotland was all but dead. The so-called sermons that were being preached were all “Feel-Good” stories with moral endings, but the Word of God was rarely used or expounded on. The people weren’t being taught or discipled and they all had it in their heads that the worship service was all about them, their comfort and their preferences. And this lack of Biblical preaching and self-centered worship showed. People didn’t go out into the highways and byways and try to bring people in, but were instead content to let their churches dwindle down to nothing; while at the same time the world around them became more and more secular.
But then something happened.
First of all The Biography of John Knox came back into print. Now for those of you who don’t know, John Knox was one of the Reformers, and he basically brought Protestantism to Scotland. He was the founder of the Presbyterian Church as a matter of fact. And when people got a-hold of that and saw their Christian heritage, it kind of started a fire in their hearts. Secondly; there were 10 children born in the span of 10 years – from 1804 to 1814, and 30 to 40 years later, those ten children would grow into adults, and every one of them became pastors and evangelists who preached the Word, not just self-centered, feel good sermons that tickled itching ears. In-fact, one of those men was named William Begg, who was the great grandfather of Alistair Begg, maybe you’ve heard of him. He’s a Baptist minister in Cleveland Ohio, and he has a weekly radio broadcast. He’s one of my favorites.
Today the Body of Christ in Scotland is battling back against secular humanism and against religious liberalism. And believe it or not, they actually send almost as many missionaries out into the mission field as the United States does, even though their country is roughly the same size as the state of Oklahoma.
The point is that God brought forth a godly generation of men that served Him, and in turn, they brought forth a godly generation, and then that generation has brought forth a godly generation, and the battle rages on. But the problem is that no one has to try to bring forth an ungodly generation… it’s just going to happen. If the devil can get the parents to stop coming to church, if he can get them to focus on something other than trying to live for the Lord. Then he’s got us right where he wants us.
So as we close, let’s pray that God would raise up a generation of godly men and women in our time and in our community, but as we pray for that, let’s also pray that we ourselves would be found worthy to be used to bring about that work.