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A New Religion — Genesis Chapter 4

Updated: May 17, 2022

This blog post will cover the devotionals #31-37 for Genesis Chapter 4.

Please note that this devotional book is for sale as a physical (paperback) &/or digital (PDF) book on my website.

[31] Genesis 4:1,2

The Bible uses the word ‘know’ (or ‘knew’) in the context of sexual intercourse, and for good reason. There's a deep connection—a profound knowledge—that you gain by uniting with someone in that way. Believe it or not, God used this terminology to represent the type of connection He desires with us. Now obviously, He’s not looking to sleep with us—but He specifically designed marriage to be a symbol of the relationship He has (or is supposed to have) with us—His church. That’s why you see so many references in Scriptures about us being His bride. He’s our Maker—our Husband, etc. We talked in several devotionals about God wanting us to have an extensive knowledge of Him and His government. We were designed to know almost as much about Him as He knows about us! It makes sense that intercourse is a whole experience—not just an action, but something to enjoy. ‘Knowledge’ is defined, not just as ‘facts, information, or skills gained through education’, but also ‘through experience’. But just as God wouldn’t force them to know Him and Him alone (thus, they were allowed to access the tree of the knowledge of good and evil)—He won’t ‘rape’ us. In other words, God doesn’t force Himself on people that don’t want Him. He’s a gentle Lover who seeks to woo us into a marriage relation with Him. 2 Peter 1:8 says, “If these things be in you abundantly, they will prevent you from being barren and unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” If we have God’s fruit (His character traits) in us, it’s impossible for us to lack anything when it comes to knowing Him. We can’t be barren—but if we know our Husband, we'll bear fruit. Likewise, Eve ‘knew’ her husband, and she bore fruit. In Genesis 3:15, God promised that her ‘seed’ would fulfill the gospel promise. It’s pretty safe to say that she probably hoped her firstborn son would fit the bill. Thus, when she had Cain and said, “I have gotten a man from the Lord,” it probably felt like such a huge thing to her. Little did she know, he definitely wouldn't be the one to follow the gospel through but would actually start his own. We’ll see more about that in devotional #32.

[32] Genesis 4:3-8 (Part 1)

We’re told that the Lord had respect to Abel, but not Cain. Why didn't God accept Cain’s offering, but He did Abel’s? If God would’ve left Cain in the dark about what an appropriate offering would be, while enlightening Abel—He would’ve been acting arbitrarily, which He doesn’t do. Also, if the type of offering didn’t matter, then God’s choice (to accept one type and not another) would’ve also been arbitrary. This means that the offering did matter, and that, what Abel gave (a lamb) was exactly what God required. Why? Recall what God had to do when Adam sinned? He had to slay an animal to clothe them—both physically and figuratively. The sacrifices that God’s people were called to make from then on out weren't meant to ‘appease the wrath of God for their sins’, but to be a constant reminder of what sin causes. We saw this in devotional #23. Thus, Cain choosing not to offer the symbol of Christ’s death for his sins was a rejection of what Christ offered to him. Instead of ‘offering’ what God called him to (in other words, righteousness by faith), he offered what he wanted to—of himself (aka, righteousness by works). Hebrews 11:4 says, “By faith, Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he, being dead, yet speaks.” Matthew 23:35 also says that Abel (as well as his blood) was righteous. A friend once equated the difference between Cain’s and Abel’s actions to Cain starting his own religion and Abel continuing in the one true religion. Acts 10:34-36 says, “Of a truth, I perceive that God is not a respecter of persons: but in every nation, he that fears Him, and works righteousness, is accepted with Him. The word which God sent to the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (He is Lord of all)…” God isn’t a respecter of persons. He didn’t respect Abel—He respected Christ in Abel. He respected Christ's sacrifice on behalf of Abel. Whoever respects / obeys God and is righteous is accepted by Him. This is why God told Cain in Genesis 4:6, 7, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted, and if you do not do well, sin lies at the door.” God preached peace through Jesus Christ. Cain wasn’t accepted and he wasn’t at peace because he didn’t fear God. We’ll see the results of this in devotional #33.

[33] Genesis 4:3-8 (Part 2)

Just like God told Eve that her desire would be to Adam, and he’d rule over her, he told Cain that someone else’s desire would be to Cain and Cain would rule over him. Is this talking about Abel? If so, it’d make sense. Why? Right off the bat, you might have expected it to have been the exact opposite, if it was talking about Cain and Abel—“Your desire will be to Abel, and he will rule over you”—just like Eve’s ‘curse’ was the same“Your desire will be to your husband, and he will rule over you.” We saw this in devotional #24. I’d tend to think that Cain would desire to control or lead Abel, but because of his choices, he’d end up being the tail of his younger brother instead of the head. However, it doesn’t seem likely that God switched His commentary from Cain straight to Abel without making that known to us. Thus, it appears to indeed be saying that ‘he’ (Abel?) would desire to be your leader, but ‘you’ (Cain?) would end up ruling over him. Now, Abel doesn’t strike me as one who’d gloat his blessing from God over Cain—considering how much we learned about his character in devotional #32. He was likely trying to reason with Cain and help him understand why God didn’t accept his offering. Galatians 6:1 says, "Brothers, if a man is suddenly seized in a fault, you which are spiritual must restore this sort of man in the spirit of humility; watching yourself, to avoid yourself from being tempted also." Abel would’ve been acting as a type of leader (like a spiritual counselor). This is why it comes as no surprise to me that the definition of ‘rise up against’ means to ‘disobey’, ‘defy’, ‘rebel’, ‘revolt’, ‘resist’, or ‘be insubordinate’. Cain resisted Abel and his reasoning—to the point of murder. Abel tried to reach Cain’s mind, but Cain ruled over him with an iron fist. Strong’s Concordance defines the name, Cain, as ‘striking fast (a lance / spear)’ and ‘provoke to jealousy’. Cain’s name was very appropriate for his character. He was quick to envy, quick to anger, and quick to strike. I find it interesting that Cain and Abel were contemporaries (they lived during the same time period) and that they seemed to be a representation of the great controversy between God and Satan. Satan got jealous of Christ and tried to start a new government. Christ tried to convince Satan to do the right thing and come back to righteousness. Satan got angry and plotted to kill Christ. The rest is, well, history.

[34] Genesis 4:9-12

There are so many parallels between the account of Adam and Eve’s first sin and that of Cain. After Cain sinned, God approached him with a ‘Where are you?’ type of question, just like He did with Adam after his sin. Only this time, Cain’s shame was for his sin against another person, not for what he did to himself. But just like Adam hid his sin from God (he tried to hide his own new-found nakedness), Cain hid his sin from God (he hid his brother’s new-found death). Isn’t it interesting that, just like Adam tried to remove the responsibility of his own sin from himself (to someone else), Cain also did that? Adam said he wasn’t to blame for his sin and its consequences, and Cain said that he wasn’t responsible for his brother or his condition (which were the consequences of Cain’s sin). Remember how, after giving Adam and Eve a chance to fess up, God said to Eve (in Genesis 3:13), “What have you done?” He did the same thing with Cain and from there, He also pronounced his ‘curse’ (which wasn't a punishment, but what the natural consequences of his actions would be), just like He did with Adam, Eve, and Satan (the serpent). “You are now cursed from the earth.” Looking at the word, ‘cursed’, in Strong’s Concordance, it shows ‘execrated’. Do you know what ‘execrated’ means? It means ‘loathed’, ‘hated’, or ‘condemned’. In other words, Cain wasn’t cursed from the earth, he was condemned by it. Not only would there be enmity between him and his beloved ground—remember that his passion was gardening / farming (which we’ll address in a moment)—but also the evidence of his crime / sin was on the ground (Abel’s blood). By that, he was condemned (convicted, sentenced, found guilty). Recall, from devotional #28, how Adam cursed the ground, and it became hard to till and produced thorns and thistles? Now the ground was cursing Adam’s seed back and not producing at all. This was the most appropriate and understandable consequence for Cain, considering how much pride he took in tilling the ground. He used the ground to sin, twice. First with the fruit offering, then with the blood stain of Abel. The ground was again (as with Adam’s sin), cursed because of the sinner. So, why was he named a wanderer and nomad? It again reminds me of the fact that Cain’s father, Adam, lost his garden home, and how Cain would now likewise be homeless and unsettled. Why? Well, all I can think of is the fact that Cain wouldn’t be able to use his vocation (farming) to sustain himself, or provide himself stability, and thus, he’d wander from place to place.

[35] Genesis 4:13-16

Cain said, “My punishment is greater than I can bear.” First off, we already saw that Cain’s ‘curse’ wasn't a punishment, but instead, a consequence. Just as Adam was supposedly ‘driven out’ of his garden home by God, Cain believed that God ‘drove him out’ of his precious soil environment. “You have driven me out from the face of the earth.” This was a seemingly unbearable consequence for the man who took such pride in his tilling. He went further to state, “I will be hidden from Your face,” and as a result, “I will be a wanderer and nomad, and anyone that finds me will kill me.” Why did he say that death would be the result of being hidden from God’s face? Isaiah 59:1-3 says, “Look, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor is His ear dull, that it cannot hear: but your iniquities have separated you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you, that He will not hear, because your hands are stained with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue has muttered unrighteousness.” So, was God hiding His face from Cain or was Cain hiding from God’s face? Cain knew that God was fully capable of saving / protecting him from danger. He knew that God doesn't withdraw Himself from us unless we tell Him to. In other words, we withdraw ourselves from Him—which is exactly what Genesis 4:16 says he did. “And Cain went out from the presence of the Lord.” Strong's Concordance defines ‘presence’ as ‘the face’. Cain left the face of the Lord. He knew that his sin separated him from God and hid God’s face from him—and he knew exactly what that meant. Isaiah 54:8 says, “‘In a little wrath I hid My face from you for a moment; but with everlasting kindness, I will have mercy on you,’ says the Lord your Redeemer.” Romans 1 tells us that God’s wrath is Him giving us up to the consequences of our actions / decisions. Cain understood what those consequences would be, so he said what he did. He was speaking out of fear for a consequence he brought on himself. He wasn't forced to kill Abel any more than Eve was forced to eat the fruit. Were they both tempted? Yes. Would these types of temptations become common? Yes. Can we overcome these temptations? Yes. 1 Corinthians 10:13 says so. “No temptation has come upon you except for what is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able; but will also make a way to escape the temptation, so you may be able to bear it.” Strong’s Concordance defines ‘temptation’ in several ways, but two definitions caught my attention here: ‘discipline’ and ‘adversity’. First, we have the traditional ‘tempt’: ‘test / lure’. Cain could’ve overcome the temptation to kill his brother. God wouldn’t have let Satan force him to sin. He could’ve walked away, but he chose not to. Second, we have the other ‘tempt’: ‘discipline / adversity’. Cain’s consequence was what he considered a punishment (aka, discipline), which he said was beyond what he could bear. He also feared the possible results as an extension—that he’d face adversity (people would find and want to kill him). God promised him that anyone who killed him would receive seven times the vengeance—and to let them know this, God put a mark on Cain. God didn’t have to provide this way of escape, but He did—because that’s His promise to us. Of all the things for Cain to be afraid of, why did he fear he’d be killed? It’s a principle that a man always places his own motive on someone else. A cheating man always fears that his wife will cheat on him. Thus, Cain was a murderer, and he couldn’t help but believe that everyone else would be that too.

[36] Genesis 4:17-24

Cain ‘knew’ his wife and she birthed Enoch. Did her name ever get mentioned anywhere? Where did she come from? Genesis 4 mentions three sons, but Seth wasn’t mentioned chronologically in Genesis 4 until after Cain married and reproduced (not that things are always listed chronologically). Yet, Genesis 5:4, 5 tells us that Adam fathered sons and daughters in his 930 years—but doesn’t say their order. No other names were given so we don’t know much about it at all. It could’ve been that girls were born before Abel and/or Seth, and it just wasn’t mentioned. Why? Well, as we mentioned in devotional #31, Adam and Eve were looking forward to the male offspring (‘seed’) that would fulfill the gospel promise of Genesis 3:15—so it could very well have been that the names of the females weren’t even mentioned or recorded for the Genesis record because they weren't of comparative importance in their minds. So, if Cain married a woman, where did she come from? She couldn’t have been Abel’s daughter (unless there was a strange reason not to make mention of that in the Bible). We know that there were no separate creations of humans, as the Bible makes it clear that all come from the line of Adam and Eve. We don’t know exactly when Seth was born, or when he started having children—but he would’ve been in the same situation as Cain as far as in-laws. Thus, Cain had to have married one of his own sisters (or at a very small chance, one of his nieces). We don’t know how old either of them were when they got married, or how she ended up being near him in Nod, but together they built what was probably the first city, Enoch (named after their son). Go down Cain’s line five generations and you get to Lamech, his great, great, great grandson. As far as we know (though we don’t have evidence to prove it), polygamy (multiple wives) started with Lamech. He also followed in his great, great, great grandfather’s shoes and killed a man (or men) and felt the fear of consequences. “I have killed, and it will cost me.” For some reason though, he thought that if Cain’s potential murder would’ve been avenged by seven times, that he was somehow good enough to be avenged by seventy-seven times. I wonder where he got his pride and self-righteousness?

[37] Genesis 4:25,26

Adam and Eve’s third son was named Seth—which means, ‘to place / put’ or ‘substituted’. They literally named Seth as a replacement for Abel. Their hopes that their first son (and then their second) would be the promised Savior both died with Abel. Now, perhaps Seth might finally be the one. Much to their disappointment, Seth was also not the promised Messiah, but we do know that the Savior came through his lineage. Luke 3:23-38 lays out the entire family line from the creation of Adam, through Seth and then Enos (who Luke called a patriarch), all the way down to Jesus. The first portion from Adam to Abraham (through Enos) was also shown in 1 Chronicles 1:1-27. Enos wasn’t Seth’s only child, so it’s also special that Jesus came specifically through Enos. We aren’t told much about Seth or Enos, but we do know that after Enos (Enosh) was born, men returned to God—so it makes sense that this return to God would be the start of a long line of men leading straight to God Himself. Genesis 4:26 says, “Then men began to call on the name of the Lord.” This is cool for two reasons. First, Psalm 116:17 says, “I will offer You the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call on the name of the Lord.” Enos brought back sacrifice, restarting what his uncle, Abel, had tried to carry forward until his death. Second, when we call upon the Lord’s name, you could say that we’re taking His name as our own. When a woman marries, she takes the man’s name. When we take God’s name, we’re claiming to have His character. Why do we call ourselves Christians? We’re declaring that we're like Christ. That’s why ‘taking the Lord’s name in vain’ doesn’t just mean using His name in cussing, etc. It means that if we claim His name as our own, and we don’t have His character (in thought or action), we’re doing something that isn't only pointless—but is also misrepresenting what His character is. 2 Chronicles 7:14 says, “If My people, which are called by My name, will humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then I will hear from Heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” Enos claimed the promise that everyone before and after him had the chance to do—have their land (which Adam and Cain cursed) healed by God.

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