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Jun.25 Genesis Study

Categories: Genesis Study,News


Genesis 4:1-24

The Causality of Community”

I. Intro.

II. Vs. 1-8 It’s not too late!

III. Vs. 9-24 Where’s your brother?

I. Intro.

gen-studyIn chapter three the focus was upon the effects of sin upon the individual life and God’s grace that makes provision for it. In chapter four the focus is the effects of sin upon the social life or community and God’s provision of grace.

  • This is obviously a condensed account as the years between Cain and Abel’s birth to Abel’s murder are not recorded.

  • Next, just like chapter three a person’s perspective on this chapter will determine their worldview. The Biblical position based upon this chapter is that all of mankind’s sin can be traced not to: ******

  • Environmental reasons

  • Educational reasons

But instead to the improper worship of their creator!

II. Vs. 1-8 It’s not too late!

Vs. 1a This is the first act of intimacy recorded in the Bible, the word “knew” is used 940 times in the OT and here refers to a deep knowledge and understanding for God’s purpose of sexual relations. Furthermore this verse describes God’s design for sexual relations:

  1. His wife”: It does not say girl friend or acquaintance but wife! Adam was not to know anyone sexually but his wife, thus God’s plan for sexual relations was monogamy, “one man one woman in a protective agreement between God and them called marriage.”

  2. And bore Cain”: Clearly heterosexuality is what God had in mind, it was not Adam and Steve nor was it Eve and a Madam! Simple biology dictates this for there would be no birth of Cain.

  3. The outcome of this sexual relationship was that Eve conceived and bore Cain. The word “conceived” is a Hebrew word that means to “be with child”. Cain was inside her womb not “fetal tissue” as the abortionist would have you believe.

So in this ½ of verse one, in only 12 words, we have gone against the modern tide of:

  • Promiscuity

  • Homosexuality

  • Abortion

Vs. 1b As the baby lay in her arms she names him “acquisition, acquired or gotten”. Cain is where we get our English word “begotten” from. We are told the reason for the name as, “I have acquired a man from the LORD.” This translation is a little week as it means more than just receiving a child with help from the Lord, which is true with every birth. The word “from” is better translated “even” or as one translation puts it, I have gotten the man that the LORD promised.” It seems that Adam and Eve believed the promise of 3:15 where God proclaimed he would “put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.” So perhaps they thought that Cain was that promised “seed” who would deliver them out from under the curse of sin.

Vs. 2 We are not told how long it was before she conceived and bore another child. But judging on their choice of a name it was long enough for them to realize the effects of sin on human life and that Cain was not the “seed of promise” as they had hoped. Able, you will recall, is the root of the word used so often in Ecclesiastes “vanity” or nothingness. Life they had determined was a “vapor” of what it was meant to be prior to the fall.

In the second ½ of this verse we are catapulted ahead into the lives of these two boys as they become men with occupations. Again we see that God’s design for man is not to be idol but to work. Notice the reverse order as Abele’s occupation is mentioned first, “keeper of the sheep” or if you will he was a shepherd or pastor. It is interesting that Abel chose a job that dealt with the animals God had sacrificed for clothing as a symbol of His righteousness. Whereas Cain follows in his father’s career as tiller of the ground or farmer.

Vs. 3-4 In these two verses there are three important aspects of how this first family, as well as us, approached God to worship Him. It seems obvious that this religious training had come from God and that it had been passed down from Adam and Eve to their descendants.

  1. SPECIFIC TIME: “In the process of time”: Literally the words are “at the end of days”. Now we cannot be sure of what the amount of days were a week, month, season or year but there was a set designation of time that they were to regularly gather together to worship the Lord. This “specific time” was set aside so that the whole of that time would be for the worship and fellowship with God. Furthermore we are told that one of the key ingredients of that time was to, “bring an offering” or if you will a sacrifice. So what do we see in this about the way in which God would have us approach Him?

  1. Habitual: Worship of God must be something that we do regularly, not just Christmas and Easter. One third of all evangelical believers’ say that they believe in God yet attend no Church.

  2. Sacrificial: They were not only to offer their time but part of their lives as well. Worship of God at its core is “giving out of what has been given to us”. One author put it this way, “Man is never more truly man than when he is worshiping God; for it is only then that he finds, realizes and expresses his true relationship of dependence.” King David said this when he was offered the threshing floor of Araunah for free on Mount Moriah to build an altar, which was where the temple was later built, “No, I insist on paying you for it. I will not sacrifice to the LORD my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.”

  1. SPECIFIC PLACE: “broughtto the LORD”: God had a specific place in which they were to meet Him. I find it most likely that this was the place where Jesus had killed the lamb and made clothes for them, which according to 3:24 was most likely at the entrance to the Garden of Eden. This speaks to me that God wanted the focus of their devotion not to be what they were doing but what He had done! This deals with the attitude in worship or going to Church doesn’t it?

  2. SPECIFIC WAY: Now before you look at the last of these three aspects on how God would have us approach Him you need to realize something; this was not the first time this family had done this. In fact this was a part of their regular lives, something that had done perhaps weekly all their lives. Cain had come and worshiped God the right way hundreds of times. His failure was not out of ignorance but rather defiance or at best indifference! He was if you will the first one to sing the song, “I did it my way” for worship! The proper worship of God has not “evolved” instead we are told in Rom. 1:18-23 that mankind, like Cain, rejected the true knowledge and worship of God and instead turned to idolatry. We can see four things wrong with Cain’s worship of God and conversely four things about the right way to worship God:

  1. NOT BY FAITH: Heb. 11:4 “By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain.” It is clear that the first thing wrong with Cain’s worship of God was that it was not offered in faith. What Cain offered was influenced by the way he offered it.” He did not just chose the wrong offering but his heart being wrong led him to do so. In Mark 7:6 Jesus commented on the most religious Jews, the Pharisees and scribes, by quoting Isaiah when He said, “This people honors Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me.” The value of the offering depends upon the heart in which it was offered! Listen to Paul’s words in 1 Cor 13:1-3 “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

  2. NOT ACCORDING TO TRUTH: “Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground”. The fact that both Cain and Able brought an offering and that God “respected Abel and his offering” but did not “did not respect Cain and his offering” implies that they both knew to bring a lamb of the flock. Furthermore Cain had done so previously without ever hearing that God was not receiving him or what he brought. This shows us that, “No matter how sincere a person is in approaching God if they do so not upon God’s Word then it is not acceptable before Him!” Remember Jesus’ words to the women at the well? “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

  3. NOT ACCORDING TO GRACE:an offering of the fruit of the ground”: The Second thing we see, is that Cain chose to bring the fruit of his own work as being a tiller of the ground. Cain’s worship of God, (even though previously he had come by way of grace), became about self-effort and his works to obtain righteousness. The fruit that he produced was beautiful but it was not as beautiful as God’s sacrifice of an innocent lamb for their sin! Paul put it this way to the Ephesians “by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.

  4. NOT A TOTAL SURRENDER: “Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat”: The word “firstlings” and the words “of their fat” tells us two important things about Abel’s offering.

  1. He offered the best of what he had, that is the idea behind the word “firstling”. It is the same idea that Jesus used to Nicodemus when He said, “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.”

  2. He offered all that he had, that is what is behind the words “of their fat”. The fat of the animal was a sweet smelling aroma it was the luxury, so Able offered even the fat of the animal. So often we offer almost all of what we have but keep back a portion for ourselves.

You do not read that Cain offered the best or all that he had to the Lord. Cain’s offering was not a total surrender it was only a partial surrender.

In contrast to the way Cain worship God we ought to worship Him:

  • BY FAITH

  • ACCORDING TO TRUTH

  • ACCORDING TO GRACE

  • TOTAL SURRENDER

Vs. 5, 8 The word “respect” reveals that this was tied to the heart in which the offering was given. Here in these verse we will see four manifestations of the flesh when Cain tried to worship God based upon his works. You will see a fallen progression in these as well:

  1. Vs. 5 “Cain was very angry”: ANGER The moment God did not meet Cain’s expectations he became very angry. God’s way of approaching Him in worship went against Cain’s way which shows who it was at the center of Cain’s worship, Cain. The fact is no one has ever lost their temper when they got what they wanted, so Cain had a self-centered worship.

  2. Vs. 5 “his countenance fell”: SELF-PITY Perhaps Cain was prideful of his offering and thought it to be superior to that of Abele’s but when his was not received self-pity filed the void that pride occupied.

  3. 1 John 3:12 “Cain who was of the wicked one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his works were evil and his brother’s righteous”: JEALOUSY Self-pity will quickly move to jealousy as in this case as Cain became jealous of Abel’s acceptance.

  4. Vs. 8 “Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him”: MURDER Anger led to self-pity, which led to jealousy, which left unchecked, led to murder.

Vs. 6-7 Notice God’s amazing grace as He tries to get Cain to realize what going on in his own heart.

  1. Vs. 6 “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen?” God asks Cain what is behind his actions. The problem is not Abel, the problem is not God, its Cain. Folks that’s grace, before Cain went out and blew it God is getting him to see that it is his own fallen sinful nature that is causing these actions.

  2. Vs. 7a “If you do well, will you not be accepted?” Literally these words are, “If you do well, will there not be acceptance for you?” In these words God is saying, “It’s not too late, get your heart right and worship Me by faith, truth grace and total surrender and I will accept just as I always have!”

  3. Vs. 7b God also warns Cain telling Him that he is on a dangerous path as sin is crouching like a lion ready to pounce upon him if he does not get his heart right.

  4. Vs. 8 Jesus calls Abel a prophet who like other prophets after him were murdered. The point being that when Cain came to seek out Abel he most likely spoke the truth of what God had just told Cain Himself and urged him to repent and worship God with a right heart.

You can see Satan striking at the heels of mankind and the seed of God. Corrupting the heart of Cain, which led to the killing of the righteous Abel.

III. Vs. 9-24 Where’s your brother?

Vs. 9-10 First notice the similarity between God’s questions to Adam and the His questions to Cain.

  1. Adam: “Where are you?” Cain: “Where is your brother?” God obviously knows the answer, to get the sinner, (Adam and Cain) to recognize that they are not WHERE they ought to be.

  2. Adam: “Who told you that you were naked?” Cain: “What have you done?” The key word in these two question is the words YOU! God is getting them both to except total responsibility for their condition.

Unfortunately Cain does not admit to being either a sinner or at fault. Instead his reaction to his sin is found in his four reactions which are the same we use today to hide from the reality that we are sinners and responsible for our actions. What’s interesting to me is that of the four three are things we hide from and the last is something that we use to hide in. Verses 9, 13, 14

  1. Vs. 9 HIDE FROM GUILTI do not know.” Cain lied as he is trying to hide from his guilt. That’s always the first way of trying to not accept responsibility. Cain is talking too God who knows all things! Cain is so full of himself that he assumes that his lie can conceal the truth from God who knows all things. Psychotherapists have insisted on telling us that what lies behind crime and violence in our society is “low self-esteem”. But consider this article originally published in the “Psychological Review” and republished in the “San Jose Mercury”. The researchers analyzed more than 150 studies in psychology and criminology and determined that; “The societal pursuit of high self-esteem for everyone may end up in doing considerable harm.” They found that aggressive people have unusual high self-esteem, which they defined as a “favorable global evaluation of oneself.” To these new findings the then State Assemblyman John Vasconcellos, who in 1987 sponsored legislation to promote self-esteem in our public school, had this to say. “We didn’t claim to have proven it all, the science was not very far advanced.” The co-author of the article (Laura Smart) concluded that; “Trying to build self-esteem could be counterproductive. These people are often violent precisely because they already believe themselves to be superior beings, perhaps it would be better to try to instill modesty and humility.” That is exactly what we see in Cain as he saw himself superior to Abel.

  2. Vs. 9b HIDE FROM PERSONAL RESSIBILITY: “Am I my brother’s keeper?” “My brother, what do I have to do with my brother?” Cain was only concerned with himself and his rights; he had no concern for his responsibilities.

  3. Vs. 14 HIDE FROM THE NATURE OF GOD: “I shall be hidden from Your face.” Cain was blinded by his own sin and rebellion and thought that he was hidden from the nature of God.

  4. Vs. 13 HIDE IN SELF-PITY: Cain shows that he is in grief over the consequences of his actions but has no repentance over the action its self. His self-pity shows its self four ways:

  1. Vs. 14a VOCATIONALLYYou have driven me out this day from the face of the ground”: Cain has self-pity because he feel that he can no longer make a living.

  2. Vs.14b SPIRITUALLYI shall be hidden from Your face”: Cain had not wanted to worship God the right way but he did want all the benefits that this worship would provide him with.

  3. Vs. 14c NO RESTI shall be a fugitive and a vagabond on the earth”: I’ll have no place to call home, no place to rest.

  4. Vs. 14d NO PEACEit will happen that anyone who finds me will kill me”: Cain had removed himself from all of these things when he chose to worship himself instead of God.

Vs. 10-12, 15 In God’s reply we again marvel at his fourfold grace.

  1. Vs. 10 “What have you done?” To Cain’s lie God responds with an opportunity for him to repent. Cain had believed himself superior to Able which eventually led him to act superior to God. But God shows Himself to Cain by revealing that He knew what Cain had done in secret. Heb. 12:24 tells us Jesus’ blood, “speaks better things than that of Abel”, Abel’s blood cried out for justice but Jesus’ blood cries out grace and mercy to all who will come to it even Cain.

  2. Vs. 11-12 “So now you are cursed from the earth … when you till the ground, it shall no longer yield its strength to you.” God’s curse was on the earth Cain’s curse was from the earth. Obviously this would further effect Cain’s efforts to till the ground. Since Cain had taken pride in his tilling the ground, the ground which had been the source of his identity would yield nothing but frustration. Those who trust in their own works of righteousness will find it impossible to produce any fruit! I see a blessing in this, as this would lead Cain back into the arms of God’s grace. Cain needed to fail as failure brings humility, which is the bed for God’s grace!

  3. Vs. 12 “A fugitive and a vagabond you shall be on the earth.” Cain would lose a set location as home and instead he would wonder the earth looking for a place of rest and security. His action had showed that he was not ready to live with his fellow man and the reason for it was that he was not ready to live in obedience with God. Cain had disregarded the sanctity of human life so perhaps absence would make the heart grow fonder. The blessing of this was that Cain would soon discover that “home or security” would only truly be found in obedience to the Lord.

  4. Vs. 15 The word “mark” is better rendered “sign” but the question is just what the sign was? Well look at God’s words here, “whoever kills Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold.” This was no mark or sign of shame but rather one of mercy and grace. This is a promise of protection based upon God’s love as God is saying, “Yes, your guilty Cain, you’re a convicted murder but you’re still my child and I love you!” Wow, God promises to return sevenfold (seven is the number of perfection) upon anyone who treated Cain as he had treated his brother, that’s God’s grace.

Vs. 16 Cain departs from the altar where he and Abel brought the offerings, his Calvary, but God never left Cain. God follows Cain East from the place of blessings to a land named after his new life “wandering”. How great is our Lord who pursues us even when we have left Calvary and are wondering?

Vs. 17a Here we have one of the most asked questions by those who doubt the Bible’s truths, “Where did Cain get his wife?” The answer is really quite simple, in Gen. 5:4 we read that, “the days of Adam were eight hundred years; and he had sons and daughters.” Look again at verse 14 and it says that Cain said that, “it will happen that anyone who finds me will kill me.Who was going to find Cain if there were only three people on the planet and he was one of them? Clearly there were already many other brothers & sisters. The population by the time of Cain’s death would have been several hundred thousand so this could have been very easily a latter descendant.

Is this not forbidden in the Bible? Yes, but not until Leviticus and Deuteronomy which by that time the gene pool would no longer be pure enough that marrying your sister or close relative would cause harm to the offspring. The further the spring is from the source the more polluted it becomes!

Vs. 17b-24 Here we are given the ungodly line of Cain and based upon their names you will see an ungodly progression away from God.

Enoch: “Dedication or beginner”, the idea is that this child and the city named after him was a “new beginning”. Archaeologists have found this word used as the earliest word in language for the word city!

Irad: “Witness or townsmen”, you will recall that God had said that Cain was to be vagabond, but his descendants are named “city of witness” the idea being self-glory. Irad’s name is like saying to God, “You can’t expel me!”

Mehujael: “Smitten of God”, which suggests a rather defiant attitude. “We may have been smitten by God but we made it anyway!

Methushael: “Man of God or death of God”, and it appears to me that he probably took the later.

Lamech: “Strong or powerful”, now this guy really rebels against God and it is thought by most that he get much worse after Adam dies.

  1. Vs. 19 “took for himself two wives:” Rebel’s against God’s command of monogamous marriage and instead establishes polygamy. His wives names are:

  1. Adah: “Beauty

  2. Zillah: “Adornment

What this shows is the emphasis of his heart and in all cases of polygamy is lust.

Furthermore we are told that Mr. “Powerful” has three boys and a girl by these two women that he lusted after:

Jabal: “Traveler”

Jubal: “Trumpeter”

Tubal-Cain: “Metal-worker”

Naamah: “Pleasant”

What I see is that they named their kids after what they did, so their identity was in what they did not in the Lord.

Vs. 23-24 Lamech “Mr. Powerful” or his stage name “Super Man” becomes the first Rap artist as he sings this little didy where he boasts of murder and self-sufficiency. Jewish tradition says that one of the men killed by him was none other than Cain himself, which makes his boast blasphemous.

Lamech’s vindictiveness contrasted against Jesus forgiveness as seen in Jesus’ words to Peter in Matt 18:21-22 serves to illustrate the difference between the seeds of Satan and the seeds of God. Peter asked, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times? Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.”