Ruthless Arrogance

One day Lamech said to his wives,

“Adah and Zillah, hear my voice;
    listen to me, you wives of Lamech.
I have killed a man who attacked me,
    a young man who wounded me.
24 If someone who kills Cain is punished seven times,
    then the one who kills me will be punished seventy-seven times!” – Genesis 4:23-24

He was a bully. Intimidating. Threatening. Large and in charge. At least it appeared so in my Boy Scout troop. He was a patrol leader and I was barely a tenderfoot. He seemed so self-assured. He was also stronger than I, and much more mature. I think he got a kick out of ordering me and some of the others around. 

Then there is the man who sat in my office admitting that he was going to leave his wife for no good reason, looked me straight in the eye and said, “I know it’s wrong, but that’s what I’m, doing.” I’m not even sure why he felt the need to tell me, but I am sure that kind of arrogant ruthlessness has no place in the heart of a believer.

But he’s nothing compared with the big-swath cutting folks who make their way through life by threat and intimidation with no holds barred. I think of dictators, corrupt politicians, pushy lawyers, and even some church leaders. And while I’m sure there are times when I pull rank, I cannot get through my mind the idea of pushing as hard as Lamech does when he brags about killing a man and threatens his two wives in the process. 

I wonder whether whether it was one of these women’s husband, brother, or father that he murdered. The implication of this bit of Hebrew poetry is that whoever it was simply got in his way and he got him out of the way eternally. And he brags about it!

I don’t know why this is so difficult to comprehend. Evil people do evil things. And the makings of spy novels and thriller movies are not sourced solely from imaginary scenarios. Art imitates life. And the murders, brutal treatment of one human being by another is very real. Ask anyone who has been in a fight. Better yet ask anyone who has seen the consequences of his brutal treatment of others and now lives with a broken heart and contrite spirit. He’ll tell you, the wages of sin are high and far-reaching. 

Have we come to the point that we’ve simply numbed ourselves to the crass behavior of others? Are we simply willing to put up with crass behavior and evil? Or are we blind to our own duplicity in these things? Are we intimidated by the arrogant bullies and ruthless tyrants who have their way in the world around us?

I wish I were not as easily cowered as I am. I wish I had learned to stand up to the bullies and blusterers who not only got away with murder (figuratively-speaking!). I wish I was stronger and more resolute. Thankfully I can call on God, and seek his help in the face of these insults and threats. 

There are 7000 who have not bowed the knee to Baal, God tells Elisha. I think that’s a word for us today. As the world spins farther and farther away from God’s ways, we need to know that people continue to call on the name of the Lord. People do worship. People do pray. People do recognize God as the good source of every good gift and thing.

We may be a minority. We might be pushed aside. But God still reigns. And when we call on him, he hears. Lord, have mercy and hear our prayers! 

Click here or on the link below to listen to this blogpost.

Object Lesson Writ Large David Bahn – Reflections

How do you learn the hard lessons of life? Your own school of hard knocks? Or through the mistakes of others? Noah has something to teach us about God's ways – far beyond the flood. 
  1. Object Lesson Writ Large
  2. Why are you sorry you made man, O God?
  3. Angels, Warriors, and Heroes
  4. How do you spell relief? "N-O-A-H"?
  5. How long do you want to live?

Cain had sexual relations with his wife, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Enoch. Then Cain founded a city, which he named Enoch, after his son.18 Enoch had a son named Irad. Irad became the father of Mehujael. Mehujael became the father of Methushael. Methushael became the father of Lamech.

19 Lamech married two women. The first was named Adah, and the second was Zillah.20 Adah gave birth to Jabal, who was the first of those who raise livestock and live in tents. 21 His brother’s name was Jubal, the first of all who play the harp and flute.22 Lamech’s other wife, Zillah, gave birth to a son named Tubal-cain. He became an expert in forging tools of bronze and iron. Tubal-cain had a sister named Naamah.23 One day Lamech said to his wives,

“Adah and Zillah, hear my voice;
    listen to me, you wives of Lamech.
I have killed a man who attacked me,
    a young man who wounded me.
24 If someone who kills Cain is punished seven times,
    then the one who kills me will be punished seventy-seven times!”

25 Adam had sexual relations with his wife again, and she gave birth to another son. She named him Seth,[g] for she said, “God has granted me another son in place of Abel, whom Cain killed.” 26 When Seth grew up, he had a son and named him Enosh. At that time people first began to worship the Lord by name. – Genesis 4:17-26

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