The Advance of Sin – 2

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Scripture Text – Genesis 4

Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the Lord. Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the Lord respected Abel and his offering, but He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell. – Genesis 4:2-5.

After murdering his brother Cain rejected responsibility for his deed and claimed that God’s punishment (cropless soil and wandering) was too severe. God graciously protected him by some mark or sign that would be a deterrent to an avenger (interesting to note that nowhere is the nature of this “mark” clarified), but God condemned him to a life of ceaseless wandering. This was his curse, to be banished from God’s presence. However, true to his rebellious nature Cain defied that curse by living in a city in the land of Nod, just east of Eden.

Several Mosaic motifs were founded here:

  1. Sacrifices should be offered to God from a heart of faith, and should be the best of the livestock, the firstborn.
  2. Israelites had responsibilities to their brothers—they were each others’ keepers and must not kill one another.
  3. Homicidal blood polluted the land, crying out for vengeance—spilled blood raised its voice of accusation.
  4. Blood revenge was averted by God through protective care, just as later removal to a city of refuge would avert an avenger.
  5. Punishment for guilt was at the foundation of Israel’s theocracy.
  6. Life without God is a dangerous life without protection.
  7. Sometimes the elder was rejected in favor of the younger, turning the normative societal custom around.

Then the author’s narrative continues by tracing the line of Cain to its full development. What becomes of a society that rebels against God and leaves the land of blessing in angry defiance of His laws and His sacrifices? In this case it prospered. But the righteous should neither envy the wicked nor follow their way of life (Psalms 49; 73). God allows them to prosper in their earthbound way. They produce music, weapons, agricultural devices, and cities—in other words, culture. It is their only recourse in a bitter, cursed world.

pd advance of sin 2

However, not so are the righteous. Some who traced their lineage to Seth, the replacement of Abel, began to make proclamation in the name of the Lord. These—and Noah, and Abram, among others—declared the truth to their generations. Some people—though only a remnant—do not go overboard in living an affluent “good life” but are concerned with things spiritual. Israel should trace her ancestry to Enosh (Genesis 4:26), in spirit, truth, and in fact.

Cain’s family began in Nod. The name “Nod” is related to the words for “restless wanderer.” It was the land of fugitives from God. Here Cain fathered a child, Enoch, (not to be confused with Enoch, who walked with God) and named a city after him.

The seventh from Adam through Cain was Lamech (probably a contemporary of the righteous Enoch, also seventh from Adam, Genesis 5:3–21). Lamech altered the plan of God and married two women. His family produced musical instruments (the harp and flute) and implements (tools out of bronze and iron) to make life more enjoyable.

But in spite of this prosperous good life, evil was advancing ominously. Lamech slew a youthful warrior who wounded him and demanded greater leniency in any vengeance that might come his way than that afforded to Cain. Lamech boasted about the murder (the word “killed” in the original means “to slay, to slaughter,” the same word used of Cain’s murder of Abel). So here is a picture of an affluent society defying God and His laws, seeking pleasure and self-indulgence. Into this world Israel (and later the church) would come as a kingdom of priests to proclaim God’s righteousness.

In strong contrast with this godless society were the righteous. In the line from Seth there was faith. Seth himself was a provision from God, according to Eve’s statement of faith. In the days of Enosh, Seth’s son, men began to call on (a better translations is: “proclaim”) the name of the Lord (Yahweh).

Sin grew like branches on a tree once it took root in the hearts of men desirous of pleasure and self-indulgence. Today, those branches spread over all the world, but just like from the line of Seth’s son, Enosh, there are still men of faith, proclaiming the name and the glory of the Lord.

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Unless otherwise noted, Scripture taken from the New King James Version®, NKJV © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.
Used by permission. All rights reserved.

About Roland Ledoux

Pastor of Oasis Bible Ministry, an outreach ministry of teaching, encouragement and intercessory prayer from the Holy Bible, the written Word of God and author of the ministry website, For The Love of God. He lives in Delta, Colorado with his beautiful wife of 50+ years and a beautiful yellow lab whom they affectionately call Bella.
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