Read Genesis 5:28-32, and Genesis 4:19-24
Last week, we studied the history of Cain and Abel in Genesis 4. In the latter part of the chapter, we see the descendants of Cain, which also concluded with a man named Lamech. The Lamech from Genesis chapter 5 is a descendant of Seth, and the differences between the two Lamech’s are quite startling.
The descendant of Cain is focused on himself: he took two wives when others only took one (and is the first recorded polygamist); he murdered a man who simply wounded him; he even put himself in the place of God, declaring that his vengeance would be seventy-sevenfold in the same manner that God declared vengeance on anyone who attacked Cain would be sevenfold.
But the descendant of Seth is quite different—his focus is on God: God’s curse on the ground (“out of the ground that the Lord has cursed”), and God’s promise of a deliverer (“this one shall bring us relief”). Like those who came before him, Lamech believed that his son would deliver the people, fulfilling the promise of God in Genesis 3:15. Probably unbeknownst to him, Lamech’s words were actually prophetic—his son, Noah, would end up saving people from God’s judgment, but not in the way that Lamech believed.
Interestingly, Cain rebelled against God, and so did his descendants—all the way down to the ungodly Lamech. Meanwhile, Seth was used by God and remained faithful to God’s promise, and so did his descendants—all the way down to the godly Lamech. We don’t know much more about this Lamech, but we do know about his son, Noah. During a time when “The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thought of his heart was only evil continually” (6:5), “Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord” (6:8). God declared that “Noah was a righteous man” (6:9).
Do you think that Noah just became righteous in his old age? Or do you think that Noah was likely raised by a father who had some faith in God? Based on the words of Lamech in Genesis 5, we can conclude that he had some faith in the promise of God, even if it wasn’t a saving faith. This likely led to him instructing Noah in the ways to properly honor God. And Noah became even more righteous, and an even stronger believer than his father.
Perhaps no greater compliment can be paid to a man of God than this: “your son is a righteous man.” I know my greatest hope is that my children one day join me in the faith, and they will forever worship the Lord with me in heaven. I pray for this with all my might, each night as I lay them down to sleep.
I’m sure that you too are faithfully praying for the salvation of your children, but what else can we be doing? Are we using this time of social distancing wisely? Maybe we could take some time to have family worship with our children: play a song on the guitar or look up a video on Youtube and sing along with our family. Maybe we could set up family devotions: if you haven’t been doing them already, simply read through a small portion of Scripture each night (maybe start in one of the Gospels), and ask your children questions to make sure that they understand the passage. Maybe we could ask our kids to help us as we volunteer to clean out our neighbors’ shrubs, rake their leaves, or do some other practical act of service in the name of Jesus. Or we can come up with a million other ways to help teach our kids about the Lord. It doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to have the right heart.
The Lamech who descended from Cain was focused on himself, and his children ended up focusing on themselves. They went on to accomplish some pretty great things… but they didn’t know the Lord, and they likely perished in the Great Flood if not earlier.
The Lamech who descended from Seth was focused on God’s Word—not perfectly, but he at least gave some effort—and his son ended up being the only righteous man to survive the Great Flood, and the savior of all kinds of animals as well. Even better, Noah had a relationship with the Lord—a relationship whose seeds had been planted in his childhood.
Which Lamech are you? Whether your children are infants or elderly, as their parents, you still have a strong influence in their lives. Are you leading them towards or away from their heavenly Father? If you haven’t been leading them towards God, then start doing so today.
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