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Genesis 4:16-24


Proverbs 14:34 KJV 1900
34 Righteousness exalteth a nation: But sin is a reproach to any people.
1. When a community, city, nation, or country leaves God out…it is bound to come to ruin.
And we see that in our nation today.
But it didn’t start in the United States of America…or in any other part of the modern day world.
It started with the line of Cain.
2. Cain murdered his brother Abel…left the presence of God & started his own society…but it was a society w/o God.
And what took place in Cain’s society & culture is no different than our society today.
Ecclesiastes 1:9 KJV 1900
9 The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.
Ecclesiastes 1:9 NLT
9 History merely repeats itself. It has all been done before. Nothing under the sun is truly new.
NOTE: What we are seeing take place today is nothing more than what has already taken place in the beginning.
As the writer of Ecclesiastes said - “there is nothing new under the sun...”
3. So, tonight I want to share with you the characteristics of society without God.

1) A Rebellious Society

Genesis 4:16 KJV 1900
16 And Cain went out from the presence of the Lord, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden.
1. Cain had no regard for the Lord & he quickly “went out from the presence of the Lord.
2. Cain’s attitude reveals three rebellious characteristics about the society that followed him.
A. First, the society was seen to be running from God: “Cain went out from the presence of the Lord…”
The very context of this passage shows that Cain was rejecting God Himself and all who stood for God.
Cain was leaving, forsaking, and getting as far away as he could...
from the presence of God
from the community and neighborhood of the godly
from the place and altar where God was worshipped
Notice that Cain chose to turn and walk away from both God and his godly family.
He left and went into another country in order to live like he wanted, in order to be away from God and to do his own thing.
He deliberately chose—to live a secular and ungodly life, and to develop a secular and ungodly society.
Cain deliberately separated himself from God.
But think about this - God never told him to leave His presence: but that’s what Cain decided to do.
Cain made the conscious decision to run from God and to never return to the place of worship.
But before we’re too hard on Cain let us look at ourselves.
Isaiah 53:6 KJV 1900
6 All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned every one to his own way; And the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
NOTE: We must beware of the myth that people seek God.
Romans 3:11 KJV 1900
11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
When a man begins to ‘seek’ God it’s only b/c God has begun to seek him first!
But until God seeks a person…that person is on the run from God.
And we see that in our society today…people are running from God.
Our culture is on the run from God.
B. Second, the society was seen to be restless as Cain “dwelt in the land of Nod…”
The name “Nod” means ‘restless’ or ‘wandering’.
James Montgomery Boice wrote, “Cain remained a wanderer at heart even when he attempted to settle down. Having rejected God, he had severed his roots and was condemned to restlessness.”
When Cain ran from God he found himself in a restless place...He believed that running away from God would ease the curse on him but he soon learned that he was restless no matter where he was.
NOTE: Nothing has changed.
There are still those who run from God…and they try frantically to ‘fill the void’ with many of the things that they do...but at the end of the day, they are as restless as ever b/c they have wandered from God.
NOTE: No person or society will have true peace until it turns to God.
The person who lives only for this world & what this world offers will never experience peace & fulfillment.
This world may be able to offer some comfort, pleasure, & security…but at the end of the day, none of this is permanent.
When tragedy comes, the help of the world is limited…and it ends up leaving us w/o hope.
NOTE: The things of this world can never satisfy the soul of man.
The soul was made for God...therefore, the soul can never rest nor be rooted until it rests and is rooted in God.
C. Third, the society in Genesis 4 was seen to be rootless.
The land of Nod was “east of Eden.”
This statement is significant b/c it shows how Cain (and the society he established) moved consistently further from God.
In Genesis 11:1-2 we see society moving further east—further away from God.
In Genesis 13 Lot and Abraham separate...Abraham gives Lot first choice of where he would like to go and we read...
Genesis 13:11 KJV 1900
11 Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other.
Once more, you see man moving even further from God...And as he journeys east he establishes himself in the region of Sodom and Gomorrah.
NOTE: It seems in Scripture that the further east man travelled, the further he got away from God.
The point I want to make is this - Cain no longer had roots in Eden and in his relationship with God.
He simply journeyed further and further from God and his descendants followed suit.
NOTE: When a person departs from God they depart from the root of a purposeful and fulfilling life.
When you move away from God…you move away from your purpose for living.
And as a result, you become rebellious & you end up doing your own thing.
You live for yourself instead of living for God.
Genesis 4:17 KJV 1900
17 And Cain knew his wife; and she conceived, and bare Enoch: and he builded a city, and called the name of the city, after the name of his son, Enoch.
1. Cain had a wife.
Who was she? Most likely this is his sister or half-sister or distant relative.
2. Cain and his wife had a son and named him Enoch.
The name means beginner, dedicated, or initiated.
Apparently, Cain was hoping that his son would give him a new beginning—a new start—in life…but a new beginning w/o God.
3. Cain became a contractor and began to build a city.
This wasn’t a city like the modern cities of today.
It was probably just a few houses enclosed within a wall.
Apparently, as months and years passed, other families had forsaken God and they joined Cain and his family in the land of Nod.
4. But notice this - Cain built a city…and the fact that Cain named the city after his son reveals his attitude: it’s still all about Cain!
He’s still proud & arrogant…and still wants to do things his way.
He was out to glorify the name & works of his family.
He was now living only for the honor of this world & not for the honor of God.
NOTE: Doesn’t that sound like the world we live in today?
They want it their way…and it’s all about them & not God.
We live in a world where everyone wants to make a name for themselves…and leave their mark on society.
But just like Cain’s city & the world would be destroyed in the coming flood of Genesis 6…anything that isn’t done for God will not last.
NOTE: Only what has God’s name on it & God’s approval is going to last.

2) A Religious Society

1. An amazing thing can be seen in the naming of the children in Cain’s line:
Genesis 4:18 KJV 1900
18 And unto Enoch was born Irad: and Irad begat Mehujael: and Mehujael begat Methusael: and Methusael begat Lamech.
2. Notice that two of the names in this verse end with ‘el’.
‘El’ is the Hebrew word for God.
“Mehujael” means ‘smitten of God’ and “Methusael” means ‘the man who is of God’.
What we have here is a godless society naming their children after God!
This is a society “having a form of godliness, but denying its power” (2 Timothy 3:5).
NOTE: A society that has rejected the one true God doesn’t necessarily stop talking about God.
I would imagine that Cain may have set up his own ‘church’—an altar where he and his descendants could worship their god.
I can imagine that they would have had a form of set doctrine but it was simply tradition apart from godly reality.
And not much has changed.
NOTE: We are living in a day where people are more religious than ever.
In our day, people have all kinds of beliefs…and serve all kinds of gods.
In fact, in our society…there are those that believe you can be a homosexual & be a Christian...
There are also those that believe in universalism, which, means that everyone is going to heaven.
NOTE: In the USA, we may no longer be considered “one nation under God” by many…but we are a religious nation.
Everyone may not serve & worship the one true God…but people are worshiping their false gods.
A society w/o God is still a religious society.

3) A Reprobate Society

1. Despite their desire to ‘Christianize’ their line, the family of Cain continued down the path of rebellion.
Genesis 4:19 KJV 1900
19 And Lamech took unto him two wives: the name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other Zillah.
This is the first recorded instance of polygamy in human history: “Lamech took unto him two wives...”
In Romans 1, we read how God gave ungodly society over to a reprobate mind (1:18-28).
Romans 1:18–28 KJV 1900
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; 19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. 20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: 21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, 23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. 24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: 25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. 26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: 27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. 28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
Three times in these verses we read of God doing this: “God gave them up to uncleanness” (1:24), “gave them up to vile affections” (1:26), “gave them over to a reprobate mind” (1:28).
It’s clear from the context that a reprobate mind is one that can’t form right judgements…It is a mind void of judgement.
And the result of a reprobate mind, according to Paul, is this:
Romans 1:29–32 KJV 1900
29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, 30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: 32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
You will notice that all the sins in these verses above result from men not forming righteous judgements.
Their “unrighteousness” leads them into fornication, wickedness, covetousness, etc.
2. This is the case with Lamech in Genesis 4.
In taking two wives, Lamech made an unrighteous decision.
It’s clear from Genesis 2:15-25 (and elsewhere in Scripture) that God’s intention for mankind from the beginning was to have one spouse: one wife for one husband.
Monogamy was God’s will from the beginning and Lamech most likely knew that...But he made the sinful choice of taking two wives contrary to God’s will.
3. Notice the names of his two wives & what they mean.
Adah means adorned, attractive, beauty, or pleasure.
Zillah means shade or shadow, probably referring to the beautiful color and shadow of her hair or skin.
Apparently, Lamech and his wives were consumed with the flesh...they gave themselves completely over to the cult of beauty and immorality.
They neither controlled their passion nor denied their immoral urges.
NOTE: The cult that worships beauty and sex has been in the world since the dawn of human history, but today, it’s everywhere.
It’s on the tv…in the magazines…in the newspapers…on the billboards.
Everywhere you look, beauty & sex are being thrown at you.
In fact, beauty and sex are so worshipped & idolized that they have become the dominant theme of advertisements throughout the industrialized world.
Beauty and sex are used to sell everything from soap to cars today.

4) A Resourceful Society

1. The verses that follow record the cultivation of society.
This, in itself, is neutral but it seems that, in the case of Cain’s family, resourcefulness was accompanied by moral degradation:
Genesis 4:20–22 KJV 1900
20 And Adah bare Jabal: he was the father of such as dwell in tents, and of such as have cattle. 21 And his brother’s name was Jubal: he was the father of all such as handle the harp and organ. 22 And Zillah, she also bare Tubal-cain, an instructer of every artificer in brass and iron: and the sister of Tubal-cain was Naamah.
Adah’s son “Jabal” was the founder of nomadic herding.
His brother “Jubal” oversaw the founding of musical instruments.
And their half-brother “Tubalcain” was a forger of tools & weaponry.
Now, there is nothing inherently wrong with any of these trades and each can be used for the glory of God.
But there seems to be something of a hint in the last clause of the section: “and the sister of Tubal-cain was Naamah.”
The name “Naamah” means ‘lovely one’ and it seems that the narrative won’t allow us to forget external beauty.
It seems that as the culture advanced in agriculture, industry and entertainment that everything was sensual, concentrating more on pleasing man than glorifying God.

See here, (1.) That worldly things are the only things that carnal wicked people set their hearts upon and are most ingenious and industrious about. So it was with this impious race of cursed Cain. Here were a father of shepherds and a father of musicians, but not a father of the faithful. Here was one to teach in brass and iron, but none to teach the good knowledge of the Lord. Here were devices how to be rich, and how to be mighty, and how to be merry, but nothing of God, nor of his fear and service, among them.

NOTE: History shows us that even non-Christians have come up with great developments in society.
Many pagans have offered great inventions which are useful to modern man.
By God’s common grace even natural man is resourceful.
This resourcefulness is God-given but, when turned to selfish use, it becomes wrong.

5) A Revengeful Society

Genesis 4:23–24 KJV 1900
23 And Lamech said unto his wives, Adah and Zillah, Hear my voice; Ye wives of Lamech, hearken unto my speech: For I have slain a man to my wounding, And a young man to my hurt. 24 If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, Truly Lamech seventy and sevenfold.
1. Lamech killed this “young man” b/c the young man wounded/hurt him.
We don’t know how this “young man” wounded/hurt Lamech but somehow he did.
The phrase “young man” is significant, b/c it refers literally to a boy, a child.
In other words, “I have killed a man for wounding me; in fact, a boy b/c he hurt me!”
And the implication is, “Aren’t I something?!”
2. Lamech was proud of his wicked deed, and he obviously felt that he was justified in doing what he did.
3. Notice how boastful and self-reliant Lamech had become.
He remembered that God had promised to avenge Cain sevenfold against anyone who harmed Cain.
So, Lamech cried out, if God could do that, then he, Lamech, with such a powerful weapon, could avenge himself seventy-seven fold.
Lamech had reached the highest crescendo of self-glory and self-sufficiency.
He was declaring himself to be stronger and more powerful than God.

he is saying that he is better able to take care of himself by murdering others than God was able to take care of Cain.

He believed that he didn’t need God: he himself was judge, jury and executioner.
Lamech is boasting, “If you touch me I will kill you myself!”
NOTE: A society w/o God is revengeful.
A society that lives apart from God seeks to get even with those that have wronged them.
A society without God is a malicious, malevolent, murderous mess b/c it is completely man-centered.
But as believers, we understand that vengeance belongs to the Lord.
Romans 12:17–21 KJV 1900
17 Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. 18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. 20 Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. 21 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.


1. Having read through and contemplated 4:16-24 one is left almost sick to the stomach.
The society of man is a terrible thing...But praise God…He’s not finished yet.
Genesis 4:25–26 KJV 1900
25 And Adam knew his wife again; and she bare a son, and called his name Seth: For God, said she, hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew. 26 And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos: then began men to call upon the name of the Lord.
2. During the terrible mess, God sends another seed—a miracle of grace.
And alongside the city of Cain & the ungodly line of Cain comes the godly line of Seth.
NOTE: Our world is in a mess.
Just a cursory glance at a newspaper shows this to be true...But when things appear to be most hopeless, just remember that God still performs miracles of grace through His Son JC.
2. So, instead of focusing on the mess in which we find ourselves, let us focus on God’s miraculous grace in our world.
Let’s pray!
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