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Genesis 4:1-5:32 ~ 1 Chronicles 1:1-4 ~ Genesis 6:1-22
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In Genesis chapter 4 we read about the first murder of humankind - Cain killing his own brother Abel in a premeditative way. This is a clear demonstration of The Fall and how sin lives in the hearts of men and women - and can only be redeemed and forgiven today through faith in Jesus and through God's grace. Many of you probably asked yourselves, why didn't God look with favor on Cain's offering? Commentaries I've read suggest that Cain's offering was a careless or thoughtless offering whereas Abel's offering was a choice or generous offering. And God saw the motivation and heart attitude of both men as they brought their offering. It seems that God is looking straight into Cain's heart as he says this in verses 6 and 7: "Why are you so angry?" the LORD asked him. "Why do you look so dejected? You will be accepted if you respond in the right way. But if you refuse to respond correctly, then watch out! Sin is waiting to attack and destroy you, and you must subdue it." That is a scary thought - sin waiting to attack and destroy. In the NIV it translates "sin is crouching at your door." Let us be watchful and prayerful to not be overtaken by sin, but to respond correctly to the grace and strength given us through Jesus. Below is a modern image by an unknown artist of Cain just after killing Abel. Do you see the contrast of light & dark and which way Cain is facing? This is a powerful image to consider...:
Genesis 4:17 - "Cain made love to his wife, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Enoch. Cain was then building a city, and he named it after his son Enoch." - brings up the big question of "Where did Cain's wife come from?" The short answer to this is that his wife was a sister, niece, great-niece, or family member of some sort, which brings up the next question about why was there inter-family marriage in the Bible. Let me refer you to 3 great website links to give you more in-depth answers on these questions. Please do read the short answer at this link, the long answer at this link, and another short answer at this link to these questions regarding Cain's wife.
In chapter 4 verse 19 polygamy enters history: "Lamech married two women--Adah and Zillah." Polygamy clearly went against God's divine intention of monogamy in Genesis chapter 2:24 - "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh." God's original plan early on in the Bible is monogamy in marriage. We will see many cases of polygamy this year as we read through the Bible - this is humankind thwarting God's will - which we will also see in many ways throughout our readings this year. I think sometimes we can get hung up on the "strange stuff" we read about in the Bible - but one important point to make is this - The Bible records both God's will and teachings, and people's sin. So if we happen to read about people's sin in the Bible, as we do here in verse 19 with Lamech's polygamy, please don't confuse this with this being God's will. It's people's sin. And we'll see this again in the Bible - fortunately we have a loving God who sent his son, Jesus, to save us from our sins. Heavy that they are...
In Genesis chapter 5 we read about the genealogy from Adam to Noah. You will note that there are some long life spans here in this genealogy! These life spans are often interpreted to be either literal or symbolic - and many evangelical commentaries will say either is possible. (Similar to the 6 days of creation which I mentioned in the January 1 post below. Evangelical commentaries say that God certainly has the power to create the earth in 6 literal days - or the 6 days of creation in Genesis may be symbolic of thousands or millions of years - as "a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years like a day" to God.) Those who believe these ages in this genealogy are literal believe this is the case because of a few reasons: 1. the human race was more genetically pure in this early time period, so diseases did not shorten life spans; 2. no rain had yet fallen on the earth - until the next chapter - so the expanse of water above the earth protected people from environmental factors; and/or 3. God gave people longer life spans so they would have time to fill the earth - per Genesis 1:28. Below is a portrait of Noah and his wife by Guy Rowe:
In Genesis 6 we read about the Flood. Most evangelical commentaries say that this was a literal flood that covered the entire earth, while some do say that it's possible that it was a flood that covered the Mesopotamian region of the earth. More seem to go with a literal flood covering the entire earth. I think with all of these questions - was the earth created in 6 days? did people live to be 900 years old? did the flood cover the entire earth? - we can get caught up in arguments on either side and miss the theological point. Points being... God created everything, God dictates how long we live, and God cares enough about continuing the human race to save a righteous family and the future human race from an increasingly evil world at the time. Basically - God's in charge and we are not... :) Which is a very good thing! Because God is a loving and compassionate God who wants us to live lives of freedom from sin and to love God and our neighbors. God's ways are not our ways... they are so much higher! I do absolutely believe the Bible to be the inerrant, inspired, very Word of God - so please don't hear my thoughts above as questioning this point at all. I just thing that the Bible does at times use amazing truthful stories and parables and symbolism and poetry to bring us theological truths - or, I should say, the Truth. And I certainly believe in the humankind & animalkind preserving Truth of Noah's ark! Below is "Noah's Ark" by American folk painter Edward Hicks from 1846:
Chapter 6 verses 5 & 6 stood out to me in today's readings: "Now the LORD observed the extent of the people's wickedness, and he saw that all their thoughts were consistently and totally evil. So the LORD was sorry he had ever made them. It broke his heart." I think it was this last sentence that really stood out to me - It broke his heart. God's heart was broken over our behavior. I love realizing that God has this type of compassion and care for what we do. What we do matters to God! When we are obedient and faithful and loving, God rejoices! When we are not, it breaks his heart. I hope it encourages you to know that God did not just create you and doesn't really care whether you do well in this life - he is rooting for you! He wants you to run the race well and receive the prize!
Bible.org's commentary on today's readings in Genesis titled "Coming to Grips with Genealogies" is at this link, "The Flood" is at this link, and "The Sons of God and the Daughters of Men" is at this link. Please click on this last link to learn more about the Nephilim from today's readings in Genesis 6:4. A quote from this link is: "According to this view, the ‘sons of God' of verses 2 and 4 are fallen angels, which have taken the form of masculine human-like creatures. These angels married women of the human race (either Cainites or Sethites) and the resulting offspring were the Nephilim. The Nephilim were giants with physical superiority and therefore established themselves as men of renown for their physical prowess and military might. This race of half human creatures was wiped out by the flood, along with mankind in general, who were sinners in their own right (verse 6:11,12)."
YouTube - Today's readings in Genesis about Noah and the flood reminded me of the older Jars of Clay song called "Flood." Here's a live version of this song:
Is your world a flood? Click here for your ark!
Please join us in memorizing and meditating on two verses of Scripture today: "Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it." Genesis 4:6-7 NIV
Prayer Point: Pray that you won't ever be overtaken by anger. Pray that you do what is right. Pray that you won't ever let the sin crouching at your door have you. Pray that you will rule over it, through a saving relationship with Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.
Comments from You and Question of the Day: Per Genesis 4:7, how do you combat the "sin crouching at your door" in your life? Also, what verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!