A Sad Story About Someone Who Missed the Point

After Genesis 4 records the sad account of Cain murdering his brother Abel (Genesis 4:1-8) and Cain’s subsequent punishment by God (Genesis 4:9-15), it begins to trace Cain’s family tree. Cain seemingly manages to overcome the ignominy of his punishment, starting a family and even becoming founder of a city (Genesis 4:17). After only a handful of generations, his descendants go on to make notable strides in agriculture, music, and metallurgy (Genesis 4:20-22). However, the inspired pen determines that Cain’s family’s story is no longer a story worth telling in detail when one of Cain’s descendants chooses to murder again.

It’s sad but not surprising that Lamech, the great-great-great-grandson of Cain, becomes a murderer. The entire world was heading towards a state of sinfulness so great that God would bring judgment and destruction upon it (Genesis 6:1-7). On top of that, Lamech’s crime had a clear motive (vengeance - Genesis 4:23), and he had already shown a disregard for God’s ways by becoming the first recorded polygamist (compare Genesis 4:19 with Genesis 2:24). What is surprising is what Lamech assumed would be the outcome of his crime as evidenced by his words to his wives:

“Then Lamech said to his wives: ‘Adah and Zillah, hear my voice; Wives of Lamech, listen to my speech! For I have killed a man for wounding me, Even a young man for hurting me. If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, Then Lamech seventy-sevenfold’” (Genesis 4:23-24).

Cain had indeed been told by the Lord that his death would be avenged sevenfold (Genesis 4:15), but this was meant as a concession for a punishment that Cain said was greater than he could bear (Genesis 4:13-14). How exactly Lamech saw this concession as applying to himself is unclear. Given that his statements about vengeance follow a description of his vengeful crime, was he claiming that he would exact his own revenge, boasting about himself both as someone who was harsher than God and as someone who didn’t need God’s protection? Did he assume that his crime demanded more leniency from his fellow man than Cain received, even though he himself had granted none to the young man he had murdered? Or was he all at once both assuming God’s gracious protection and demanding it to an even greater degree than had been shown before? Whatever the case, it’s clear that though Lamech was aware of what had transpired between God and Cain, he had totally missed the point of their exchange.

Lamech’s sad story is a part of the inspired record given to us for our learning and warning (Romans 15:4; 1 Corinthians 10:11). What can we learn? Besides learning from Lamech’s clear disregard for both God’s ways and the sanctity of human life, I’d suggest that we learn from the way Lamech engaged history. Instead of looking to learn from the past and to avoid its mistakes, Lamech looked for justification for his behavior and possibly for an even greater grace from God than what God had previously shown.

Did you know that people do the same thing with the Bible today?

Friend, Jesus did not come to protect you in your sinfulness, but, as was prophesied, to “turn away ungodliness” from you (Romans 11:26). Jesus did not intend for his gracious salvation to taken as a license to sin but to be received as an opportunity to live a new life (Romans 6:1-4).

So, the question is, have you missed the point like Lamech did? Do you pridefully assume you are the exception to God’s rules? Do you demand for yourself greater leniency than others have received, greater grace than God has ever offered? Don’t let your story become another sad story of someone who missed the point.
-Patrick Swayne  
patrick@tftw.org

Recent

Archive

 2023

Categories

Tags

1 Corinthians 12 1 Corinthians 14:15 1 Corinthians 14 1 Corinthians 16:1-4 1 Corinthians 7 1 Peter 1:6-12 1 Peter 2:9 1 Peter 3 1 Peter 5:6-7 1 Peter 1 Samuel 4 1 Thessalonians 5:18 1 Timothy 4:1-3 2 Corinthians 6 2 John 1:9 2 John 9 2 Kings 2 Peter 2 2 Peter 3 2 Peter 2 Samuel Abel Abraham Absalom Acts 17 Acts 19 Acts 2 Acts 8 Acts Alcohol Alleged Contradictions Apostles Ark of the Covenant Attitude Authority Autonomy Autumn Balance Baptismal Regeneration Baptism Barnabas Benevolence Bible Contradictions Bible Questions and Answers Bible Study Bible Biblical Interpretation Bishop Body of Christ Borrowing Broad Way Cain and Abel Cain Calvinism Catholicism Catholic Celibacy Challenges Children Christian Living Christmas Church Funds Church Leadership Church Membership Church of Christ Church Circumspection Citations Citizenship Colossians 3:16 Communication Communion Community Confidence Congregations Contend for the Faith Contentment Covetousness Creation Credit Current Events Dating David Debt Forgivness Deconstruction Degrees of Punishment Deity Deliverance Denominationalism Devil Difference Different Discipleship Divine Nature Doctrine Dragon Drinking Easter Ecclesiastes 7:10 Ecclesia Eldership Elders Elder Elijah Elisha Encouragement Enoch Ephesians 2:8-9 Ephesians 5:15 Ephesians 5:16 Ephesians 5:18 Ephesians 5:19 Ephesians 5:5 Ephesians 5 Esther 4:14 Evangelism Ezekiel 36 Ezekiel 6 Faith Alone Faith Only Faithfulness Faith Fall False Teachers False Teaching Fathers Fear Feeding of the 5000 Fornication Free Will Fundamentals Galatians 4:9-10 Gender Roles Generosity Genesis 22 Genesis 4 Genesis Gift of Tongues Gifts Giving Godhead Godhood God Gospel Meeting Gospel Grace Gratitude Greater Sin Greed Grief Grieving Hallelujah Praise Jehovah Hallelujah Hebrews 13:4 Help Hermeneutics Holidays Holy Spirit's Deity Husbands Hymns Hypotheticals Idolatry Imperatives Influence Insomnia Instrumental Music Instruments in Worship Intertextuality Isaac Isaiah 2 Isaiah 6 James 1:19 James 1:27 James 1 James Jehovah Witnesses Jehovah Jerome Jesus Temptation Jesus' Deity Jesus\' Deity Jesus Job John 11 John 19:11 John 4:24 John Calvin John the Baptist Jude 1:11 Jude 3 Jude Judgement Judging Judgment Kindness Lamb of God Lamech Lazarus Leadership Leaven Lemuel Lending Levites Limited Atonement Living Sacrifice Local Church Lord's Supper Luke 1:28 Luke 5:1-11 Mariolatry Mark 1:12-13 Mark Marriage Martin Luther Mary Matthew 5:13-16 Matthew 5:3-12 Matthew 5 Matthew 7:13-14 Matthew 7:1 Melchizedek Men's Business Meeting Men\'s Business Meeting Men\\\'s Business Meeting Men Metaphors Minor Prophets Miracles Miraculous Gifts Money Mormonism Mothers Mount of Olives Mountain of the Lord's House Mountains of Israel Mountains Murder Music Mutual Submission Narrow Gate Narrow Way No Elders Non-Denominational Olive Trees Olives Olivet Olive Once Saved Always Saved Parenting Pastor Patience Patriarchs Pattern Paul Peace Pentecostalism Persecution Perseverence Perspective Philippians 3:20 Philippians 4:6 Plagiarism Poetic Language Politics Prayer Praying to Saints Praying Pray Preacher Preaching Priesthood Priests Proverbs 31:6 Proverbs Providence Psalm 148 Quotations Reader Response Redeeming the Time Relationships Relationship Religion Religious Pluralism Religious Syncretism Remission of Sins Restoration Movement Restoration Revelation 12:9 Riches Roman Catholic Church Romans 12:1-8 Romans 12:10 Romans 12:15 Romans 12:1 Romans 12 Sacrifice Saints Only Salvation Satan Scarecrows Sermon on the Mount Serving Others Sexual Sin Silence of the Scriptures Singing Sin Sleep Sobriety Song Studies Sons Sovereignty of God Spending Spirit and Truth Spiritual Death Spiritual Gifts Spiritual Leadership Stephen Straight Gate Stress Student Debt Submission Suffering Temptations Thankfulness The Beatitudes The Problem of Pain and Suffering The Problem of Suffering The Way of Cain The Way Tongue Speaking Total Hereditary Depravity Tradition Trials Trinity Types and Antitypes Uncleanness Unconditional Election Understanding Unity Unknown Tongue Vulgate Wealth Wide Gate William Kirkpatrick Wives Women in the Church Women's Roles Word Study Work Worship Zechariah clergy death sickness