At our most recent Root Beer Bar Bible Study, we read and studied Genesis chapter four. Challenging questions come up in chapter four, but there are also some firsts that come up in chapter four. The most challenging question is, “who does Cain marry?”
The back story is that Cain kills his brother Abel in chapter four and God puts a curse on him that he will be a wanderer and a fugitive and that the ground (he was a farmer) would no longer “yield its strength.” Cain said that would be too harsh and that people would try and kill him. God told him that would not be so and put a protective order around Cain that anyone who killed him would be avenged sevenfold. That, by the way, brings up a second challenging question as to who would be in the world at that time to try and kill Cain.
This is what I believe. Adam lived 930 years (Genesis 5:5). He had a bunch of kids. We don’t know when in his 930 years that he birthed Cain and Abel. In Genesis 5 it tells us that he and Eve had Seth when Adam had lived 130 years. Cain and Abel were adults when they were tending flocks and growing crops I believe. It doesn’t take much begatting to do some multiplying. I believe Cain married one of his sisters that would have been born by that time. And I believe that Cain was concerned about his own relatives wanting to kill him. After all, he killed his own brother. Joseph’s brothers wanted to kill him in Genesis 38-50. Absalom killed his half brother Amnon to avenge the rape of his sister Tamar. I don’t think Cain was speaking of a different race of people that God created in a different part of the world. Cain was afraid of his own family avenging the death of his brother Abel.
Chapter four is a story of firsts. We see the first offering to God made by Cain and Abel. We see anger from man for the first time when God asks Cain why he is so angry. And, in chapter four of Genesis, we see the first part of Cain’s family tree and his great-great-great grandson was a guy named Lamech. Lamech appears to be the first one in the Bible to take more than one wife. He also puts himself in the place of God by putting his own hedge of protection around himself in verses 23 and 24.
The long and short of chapter four is that sin didn’t take long to take root at the beginning of the world. We get caught up in questions about Cain’s wife and Cain’s adversaries, when we should really focus on the fact that man’s heart was and is sinful. At the end of chapter four it reads, “At that time people began to call upon the name of the Lord.” Does that mean they had not been calling on his name until then? Or does it mean that when Noah came along in chapter six and it tells us that, “all of man’s heart was evil all the time,” that all of this sin we just read about was when people called on God? Imagine how bad it was when they stopped calling on the name of the Lord and God destroyed the world and started over with Noah and his family.
Sin is rampant in our world. And it has been since the beginning of creation. Nothing should surprise us. But, everything should remind us that we need a Savior and that our world needs to meet Him too. In chapter four God said to Cain, “If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it.” James chapter one in the New Testament tells us that we sin when we give in to our own evil desire.
Let’s be on the lookout for how Satan is trying to tempt us to sin and not take for granted that he is “prowling around looking for someone to devour.” Let’s rule over sin in our hearts by surrendering our whole selves to Jesus. Just like chapter four can get us off track with questions, let’s not get off track about who we are living for.