Then Cain went away from the presence of the Lord and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden. Cain knew his wife, and she conceived…. Genesis 4:16-17 ESV
Cain was ambitious. After the murder of his brother, and with the protection of God’s seal, he went on to accomplish some noteworthy things. He settled in Nod and built a city. That earned him fame among the people of his time but he couldn’t see that history would not remember him for his city, but for his sin. Cain never turned back to God.
Depravity isn’t always obvious, even when it’s in front of our faces. Cain’s descendants were civilized. They were craftsmen, even musicians, but despite their skills, they were like their father. Restless, driven, with no amount of achievement bringing them peace.
One of his descendants was named Lamech. He was the first bigamist. He dominated his wives, even with poetry. He told them, in verse form, that they should live in fear of him because he had committed murder. He used his notorious reputation to subjugate.
He also mocked his Creator. God had said that anyone who shed the blood of Cain would be avenged seven times. How merciful! Lamech should have worshipped God out of gratitude. Instead, he boasted that ‘he did not need God’s protection, that if anyone came after him for murder, He would take revenge on them, not just seven times, but seventy-seven times.’
We live in a world that celebrates great achievers like inventors, entrepreneurs, intellectuals, and artists. We wrongly believe that education runs counter to the rise of evil. But was any civilization more educated than WWII Germany? And isn’t it Putin, the educated tyrant, who could (and should) be tried for war crimes? Evil is found in the hearts of those who live in a palace as well as those who cry out from a paupers tent.
Andrew DelBanco, a Columbia University professor, wrote a book called The Death of Satan. He responds to our modern culture that seeks to find an explanation for atrocities like the Columbine Massacre. “A gulf has opened in our culture between the visibility of evil and the intellectual resources to cope with it.” A people without God try to make sense of it but Jesus gave us answers long ago. Educated or uneducated, rich or poor, black or white, the heart is desperately wicked. No amount of achievement can mask the hidden sin of mankind. The only thing that matters is what each of us does with Jesus. What will it profit a man if he changes the world with his invention but ends up in Hell! Cain speaks to us from beyond the grave.
Oh Lord, let my faith resound beyond the days my life – in the lives of my descendants! In Jesus’ name, Amen