Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Sin leads to death (Gen 4:17-24)

Cain's line started and ended in murder, but that same line developed culture (Gen 4:17-22). This malignant paradox marks all of sinful man's efforts. Civilization without God rots even as it thrives. We meet with that two-sided picture in our own age. Drugs can cure or addict. Technology can enhance or dominate our lives. Music and art can convey the most noble human sentiments and aspirations or its most degraded dispositions and appetites. Government can alleviate suffering and promote security, or it can terrorize minorities and orchestrate genoidice.

Lamech as the seventh descendant in the line of Adam through Cain (see Gen 5:3-21). This seven-generation (i.e., full) genealogy implies that this is how "the way of Cain (Jude 11) panned out.
Lamech's song must be a woman's worst dream. The reference to his wives in this violent context points to the outworking of the judgment oracle of Genesis 3:16: "Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you." Adah and Zilah suffered the humiliation of polygamy in their marriage to a brutal and remorseless male.[1]

Lamech the Murderer
The barbarian bragged, "I have killed a man for wounding me, a boy just for hitting me" (Gen 4:23). He boasted, if God pledged Cain sevenfold vengeance, I'll invoke seventy-fold retaliation (Gen 4:23). This signals alienation from God's redemptive grace. God told Israel, Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your prople, but love your neighbor as yourself, I am the LORD" (Lev 19:18). And the New Testametn reversed Lamech seventy-fold formula, which could only collapse into genocidal blood vendettas. Rather than retaliate, we forgive. 

And rather that forgive seven times, we forgive seventy-seven times (Matt 6:14-15; cf. 18:21-35). But then, who's counting by then?

1. R. Kent Hughes, Genesis: Beginning and Blessing, Preaching the Word (Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway, 2004), 114.

No comments:

Post a Comment