Cain knew his wife, and she conceived and bore Enoch. When he built a city, he called the name of the city after the name of his son, Enoch. 18 To Enoch was born Irad, and Irad fathered Mehujael, and Mehujael fathered Methushael, and Methushael fathered Lamech. 19 And Lamech took two wives. The name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other Zillah. 20 Adah bore Jabal; he was the father of those who dwell in tents and have livestock. 21 His brother’s name was Jubal; he was the father of all those who play the lyre and pipe. 22 Zillah also bore Tubal-cain; he was the forger of all instruments of bronze and iron. The sister of Tubal-cain was Naamah.
23 Lamech said to his wives:
“Adah and Zillah, hear my voice;
you wives of Lamech, listen to what I say:
I have killed a man for wounding me,
a young man for striking me.
24 If Cain’s revenge is sevenfold,
then Lamech’s is seventy-sevenfold.”
25 And Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and called his name Seth, for she said, “God has appointed for me another offspring instead of Abel, for Cain killed him.” 26 To Seth also a son was born, and he called his name Enosh. At that time people began to call upon the name of the Lord. – Genesis 4:17-26
Maybe you’ve seen it yourself. Maybe you’ve lived it. A little nibble here of the forbidden fruit (take your pick). A small taste of the delights of this world. A larger drink from the cup of a more dangerous adventure. And soon you’ve got a real problem on your hands. Whether it’s addiction to alcohol, porn, or spending, little nibbles all too often become giant gulps. And we choke ourselves on the things we think we need to make us happy.
Adam and Eve sinned. Cain kills Abel. Now sin’s net widens its mouth and begins to swallow all of life. Cain, now banished from God’s presence, builds a city. Lamech has apparently murdered someone who looked at him the wrong way. He has two wives, a departure from God’s design for marriage: One man. One woman. The two become one…for life.
We are seeing the results of sin being played out before our eyes. The depravity of sin and its impact are becoming more and more obvious in these verses. Bigamy, murder, and Cain’s apparent arrogant despising of God’s promise of protection unfold. Cain builds a city in defiance of God’s judgment that he would be a vagabond, and by seeking the shelter of a city, shows his rejection of God’s promise of protection by means of the mark God had given him.
This is not the reign and rule of God. This is the cravings of sinful man. This is not faith. This is rebellion. This is not trust in God. This is reliance on self. There will be even more as life unfolds “east of Eden.”
Yet there is a glimmer of faith and hope: people begin worshiping God. Calling on the name of the Lord. Praying to God. Seeking his help and perhaps thanking him for his favor and blessing. Most likely seeking protection and help in the face of sin’s creeping encroachment. There is talk of killing and retribution. There is warning. Most likely they are seeking God’s help. These are difficult times. And people – we do not know how many – begin calling on the name of the Lord.
I’m wondering if things need to get worse yet for God’s people to call on him in prayer, praise, and worship. Seems to me that things are bad enough now for us to rededicate ourselves to that holy practice.