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What is it about nice people that attract total idiots?Nice people are martyrs. Idiots are evangelists.


Sunday, June 5, 2016

Sunday Message: a tale of two families

I am studying Genesis 4 and in what may be a bunny trail I found what may be a lesson.  I call it a tale of two families.

First we look at what is said about the family of Cain.  Cain's first son was Enoch (not the more famous one, who we'll get to in a bit).  Pride was always Cain's downfall, and that of his line, it would seem.  The name Enoch means "dedication", and Cain named his city he was building in the boy's honor.  My Bible directed me to Psalm 49 for more understanding of this...

Psa 49:10  For he sees wise men die; together the fool and the animal-like ones perish and leave their riches to others. 
Psa 49:11  Their inward thought is that their houses shall last forever, their dwelling-places to all generations; they call lands after their own names. 
Psa 49:12  But man shall not remain high in honor; he is like the animals; they shall be cut off. 

So the naming of the city is a monument to Cain's pride.  And what came of it?  Well, it took five generations for anything mentionable in the Bible to come of it.  Enoch, Irad, Mehujael, and Methushael come and go before we hit Lamech (also a #1 of 2).  Lamech is the height of pride; he names himself ten times more important as his forefather Cain, despite the same crime:

Gen 4:23  And Lamech said to his wives, Adah and Zillah, Hear my voice, you wives of Lamech; listen to my words; for I have killed a man because of my wound, and a young man because of my hurt. 
Gen 4:24  For Cain is avenged sevenfold, and Lamech seventy seven. 

Furthermore, as I studied this, I studied the name meanings with my concordance.  And while I will get to the other names later, I want to hit on the names he gave for his three sons.  Jabal, the inventor of herding; Jubal, inventor of music; and Tubal-Cain, the first smith.  All three names come from the same root meaning- "stream", or "flowing".  Thus even though his progeny produced things we use even now, he wanted it known that it all "flowed" from himself.

Now, let's look at the line of Cain's younger brother Seth, who followed in the footsteps of slain Abel.  His first son was named Enosh, and it is said there was immediate results in this line- that men began to call upon the name of God.  Then came Cainan, Mahalaleel, Jared, and the fifth generation Enoch- a man so holy, the result of five generations of obedience, that he became one of only two mortal men (Elijah being the other much later) to be taken into heaven without the necessity of dying.

So we see that obedience and patience brought the line of Seth a nearly unique reward- while the pride of the line of Cain brought more pride, claiming victories not its own, and ducking responsibility that was.

But what about the name Lamech?  The concordance says it was from an ancient root, meaning unknown.  But I am thinking that it might have to do with the concept of "results."  You saw swiftly the results of pride with the ungodly Lamech.  But two generations down from the good Enoch we find the good Lamech, father of Noah, who said this:

Gen 5:28  And Lamech lived one hundred and eighty-two years and fathered a son. 
Gen 5:29  And he called his name Noah, saying, This one shall comfort us concerning our work and the toil of our hands, because of the ground which Jehovah has cursed. 

So one Lamech gave a speech displaying his pride and rejecting his judgment.  The other, the result of obedience, gave a speech seeking comfort for mankind and accepting the validity of God's judgment.

I mentioned I looked up the name meanings earlier.  The ungodly line went like this:

Cain:  The main meaning is "to erect", which would be a good name for the first child ever born.  But it also has the connotations of "a spear", meaning violence, and "provoked to jealousy."

Enoch:  Dedication, as I mentioned earlier.  Considering that the father names the son, one wonders if Cain was dedicating the city to the child, or both to himself.

Irad:  Fugitive.  God had said Cain would be a vagabond; it maybe that his family were pariahs even in their own city.

Mehujael: "Smitten by God."  One commentator mentioned at this point Deuteronomy 5:9-

Deu 5:9  You shall not bow yourself down to them, nor serve them. For I Jehovah your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the sons to the third and fourth generation of those who hate Me...

-and the fourth Generation would be:

Methushael:  Which translates to "Man of God."  Could it be that in the fourth generation, God relented?  But I also looked up the very similar Methuselah, which translates basically to "man of the spear"- but some commentators, including Wesley, linked to another ancient word for death. and a case could be stretched to make the name mean "God is mortal" (God is dead?) Purely my speculation.  But we will also find something curious on the other side's fourth generation, so let's go with the thought that Mehujael got tired of being smitten, and hoped his child would follow God and escape the curse.

Lamech and his sons we've already covered.

The Godly side starts with:

Seth: not surprisingly, "substitution" meaning a new son to replace the murdered Abel.

Enosh: His name means "mortal"- and the concordance makes note that it isn't noble as in the sense of Adam being indicative of all mankind.  More of a "Remember, man that thou art dust" way.

Cainan:  Not surprisingly, not far off from Cain.  It also means "to erect" but in the sense of a "fixed" point, as in a home or a nest.

Mahalaleel: "Praise of God."  So far, we've had the recognition of mortality (rather than pride), a fixed point rather than a vagabond against the Lord, and now praise.  But then we hit generation four...

Jared:  Means "descent".  As if the generation of Methushael and Jared is when the bottom started to drop out of the world's morality and faith.

Enoch:  already discussed, although this time the dedication is to God rather than self.


I did want to mention a couple more names.  Methuselah, as I touched on, meant Man of the spear/dart/missile, and several commentators (by evidence, incorrectly) took the fact of Methuselah's death the same year as the flood and used it to stretch the meaning into "when he dies, the judgment."  Another expert fairly well linguistically debunked that line, though.  So was Methuselah, son of Enoch, some sort of warrior?  Doesn't seem to me likely.  Another interpretation on the name by the concordance could make it read Man of the Branch ( or shoot of growth).  So if you look at names created to be a hopeful prophecy, you would think that Enoch was hopeful that Methuselah would bring a new growth of faith in a world on the sharp decline.

The other, of course, is Noah.  His name means "rest".  And I can't help thinking that Jesus was thinking just like Lamech #2 when He said:

Mat 11:28  Come to Me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 
Mat 11:29  Take My yoke on you and learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and you shall find rest to your souls. 

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