Whose Line Is It Anyway?
Pastor Adam Mallett, Jr.
Adapted from sermon by
Pastor Gary DarDar, Jr.
As we continue reading Genesis, we see how humanity continues to develop, and continues to sin. Adam and Eve sinned first, and Cain continues that line as an outcast, living apart from the presence of God. It is amazing to see how quickly the stranglehold of sin advances! Eve was enticed to sinfulness, and Cain embraced it! Cain chose to live apart from God! His lineage followed suit, as we see in Genesis. Despite the fact that the lineage of Cain ceased after the Flood, we are all a part of that bloodline, spiritually. We are all sinful, and our natural tendency is to live apart from God. Our instincts are to live in a way that gratifies ourselves and ignores God.
This process lines up directly with what we call entropy. Entropy is the guaranteed decay of everything in this physical world around us! What we see physically applies spiritually! On our own, we decay. Yet, God made a way for us to escape entropy! We see at the end of Genesis chapter 4 the effect that Seth had. Because of Seth, men began to call upon the name of the Lord again! Because of Seth, people began to return to God’s presence! His lineage looks much different than Cain’s lineage, and it is a direct result of his lifestyle and his attitude towards God.
These two men give us a picture of what our lives might look like. Based on our behavior and attitude towards God, our lives may look more like one than the other. I would like for us to come to a greater understanding of ourselves, in the context of the lives of Cain and Seth. What parts of my life look more like Cain than Seth? How can I live in a way that points people towards God? How can I interact with people in a way that leads to God’s glorification?
When we read about the life of Cain, as well as his descendants, we see their accomplishments or their abilities listed. It really is an impressive list! We can read the names of the people who I guess you could consider pioneers of their craft. Music, metallurgy, farming, etc. All these were skills developed by the godless lineage of Cain! These skills really were beneficial to the development of humanity. Each trade a stepping stone or building block in the advancement of civilization! What Cain’s people accomplished was made use of by everyone! I would like to point out two things that I think are worth noting about the impressive accomplishments of Cain’s bloodline.
Firstly, God used sinful, wicked people for good. Many people might doubt what Romans 8:28 says, but even in the dawn of civilization, we can see God’s sovereignty over everything, even those who would choose to live a “godless” life! Really, there is no such thing as a godless life! A person may choose to ignore God, but they cannot chose to live outside of the umbrella of God’s sovereignty! Imagine what Cain’s people could have accomplished had they chosen to live in accordance with God’s standards! Despite ignoring God’s existence and guidance, they were still used for the good of all humanity. There are times when we encounter such wicked and arrogant people in our lives. A boss or coworker who thinks that we are stupid or ignorant because of our belief system, a friend or family member who thinks that we have chosen a misguided way of life, or a stranger who is offended by the standards that we choose to uphold as part of the Word and Will of God; these are examples of what kind of people we might encounter on a regular basis. It always seems to me very frustrating to see those people succeed. And it makes me feel like I need not associate with them! I shouldn’t allow that kind of negativity in my life, right? That’s what the memes on Facebook say! However, through the story of Cain, we can see that God uses absolutely everyone, whether they like it or not! God utilizes every soul He creates for the purpose of His Kingdom! God places people in our lives, allows people to succeed, etc. all for the purpose of His glory and the good of His people. Think of the advancements that would never have been made without ungodly people! Think of the societies that invented and pioneered, and it will seem obvious that God’s sovereignty is not limited to only the people within the Body of Christ. I am grateful for Cain’s bloodline, though it is regrettable that they lived the way they did. In the same way, we ought to be grateful for the friends, family, and coworkers who did not live the way we do, but we ought to go out of our way to live in a manner that represents God appropriately!
Secondly, as good as the accomplishments of Cain’s bloodline were for humanity in general, they did no good for the individual. Jubal did not influence his eternal destination, despite his accomplishments. Methujael did not change anyone’s eternal destination, despite his accomplishments. With the family of Cain, what you see is what you get! The accomplishments that we read about in Genesis chapter 4 are the only good things those individuals had going for them! They most likely worked very hard their whole lives, and had nothing for it! At the end of the day, they still went to Hell. Even beyond the end of time, Cain’s lineage will all be eternally separated from God! You and I may accomplish much in this life. You may even cure cancer! Yet, God’s record of you will still be that of Cain’s bloodline unless you have entered into fellowship with Him, submitting yourself to His guiding Spirit. I’ve never met Cain, and I sure don’t want to! I would rather the history books say nothing about me, so long as the Book of Life mentions my name only once!
After reading about Cain, we get to the mention of Seth. Seth’s name, in Hebrew, means seed. We can infer that Seth is the beginning of the fulfillment of God’s promise to crush the head of the serpent, redeeming humanity from the sin started by Adam and Eve. Seth was a good thing. Seth was a fresh start. And Seth made a difference! Seth isn’t recorded as contributing to society in the way that Cain’s family did, but that doesn’t mean that Seth had no accomplishments!
(While I count myself blessed to be a bivocational pastor, I think that this is something that many American Christians don’t understand. Many pastors who are blessed to be paid fully by the church they serve lack technical skills. Pastors are often not very handy as a result of their vocation being a completely intellectual one. Pastors study, teach, counsel, and fellowship. Church-goers who “work hard” during the week might find themselves frustrated with a pastor who is unable to help with work projects around the church or in the community. A “full-time” pastor can’t be expected to have accomplishments that look the same as a person who works in the plants, oil industry, construction industry, etc. His accomplishments are nearly invisible to most lay people!)
What Seth accomplished is mentioned, but it is very easy to pass over! Seth’s one recorded accomplishment is that, as a result of choosing to live in obedience to God, people were pointed to God! His life led others to God! Seth’s worship created more worship! This should be our goal! Our lives are, to put it simply, for the purpose of worshiping God. We are created to have fellowship with God, and proper fellowship with God always brings Him glory. As we live in submission to our Father, He guides in the right path for the building of His church and His Kingdom. His Spirit enables us to grow more into His image, which is our intended purpose! Seth’s accomplishments took less words than Cain’s, but the results are eternal, rather than limited to just the duration of this earth.
This notion should prompt us to take a closer look at ourselves. Everything I do says something about God. The way I treat my family, my friends, my coworkers, and strangers paints a picture of God. It may be a good picture, or it may be a bad picture. I think that in most cases, the picture painted is not very good, but, in comparison with the incomparable majesty of God, how can we accomplish good? Rather, our accomplishments ought to be our best effort to portray the glory of God. Are you unsure of a decision or a direction? Are you unsure of whether or not you should accept a job offer? Are you unsure about what to allow onto your to-do list each day? Let this be your rule of thumb! Give your best to accomplish bringing God glory every day! That might not take up a lot of space on a sticky note, but it is the most important sticky note you could ever leave for yourself!
What lineage are you striving to be a part of? Cain’s, or Seth’s? None of us are perfect, so we must unfortunately sometimes find ourselves in Cain’s land, but if we are striving to honor God, we are not striving in vain! This week, let your actions inspire godliness in others. Let your interactions with people compel them to worship our great God!