Genesis 017 – Raising Cain

Genesis 017 – Raising Cain
Genesis 4:9-15 • Dr. Andy Woods • December 6, 2020 • Genesis


Genesis 017 –

Raising Cain

Dr. Andrew Woods

Well, good morning, everybody.  Happy December [2020] to you.  Let’s take our Bibles, if we could, and open them to the book of Genesis 4:9.   Genesis 4:9.  The title of our message this morning, and I worked all week on this is Raising Cain.  How about that for a message?  And I spent a lot of thought on that one.  Genesis 4:9.

Genesis 4 is about the first murder in the history of man.  And yet how God got around this terrible event by continuing the Messiah’s line.  And really, as we start thinking about Christmas, that’s what Christmas is about.  The fact of the matter is, Jesus should have never been born because there were multiple attempts by Satan to stop the line leading to Christ. We’re reading about his first attempt here in Genesis 4.  And no matter how dark it gets, no matter how precarious it gets, and that messianic line as you go through the Old Testament in many instances, is within a millimeter away of elimination.  God preserved that line so the Savior could be born. And we celebrate that birth on Christmas Day.  It’s really a story of spiritual warfare and the sovereignty and the superintendence of God to get the Messiah to us because He loves us so much and wants us to be saved and wants us to experience heaven with Him throughout all eternity.

The first part of the book is the beginning of the human race.  We’ve already dealt with the first major event within that section, Creation.  And by the time you finish what is described here concerning what happened at creation, you see that God has a pattern or a blueprint.  The world is functioning perfectly the way He intended.  Sin has not entered the picture.  And if sin never entered the picture, we wouldn’t need a Savior.  And yet the Savior is the One whose blood was spilled from the foundations of the earth.  So there has to be a Savior.  And why do we need a Savior?

Because something went wrong in Genesis 3, which is the second major event, the Fall of Man—everything that’s wrong with our world— don’t blame it on God.  You blame it on Genesis 3 and a decision that our forbearers made.  And the truth of the matter is people say, ‘I can’t wait to get to heaven.  I’m going to take Adam and Eve and I’m going to give them a real tongue lashing and let them know what a mistake they made.’ But here’s the reality of the situation.  Every single human being would have made the exact same choice.  We are all within Adam’s lineage in the sense that when he chose, we chose.  So Adam and Eve are very real historical characters and figures, but at the same time, they represent what all of us would have done under the same circumstances, in fact, throughout the course of our lives have done.   The Bible is very clear:  Romans 3:23–“For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”

Genesis 4, which we began studying last time, is now the after effects of that fall.  As we have the first murder in human history—4:1-15.  And after that murder occurs, then begins the lineage of godliness from Cain, the first murderer.  And it’s there we learn that the Messiah who is predicted is going to come, all the way back in 3:15, is not going to come through Cain’s line. However, in 4:25-26, He will come through a substitute line that God started, with the line of Seth, and through that line, the messianic hope will be sustained, leading right up to the birth of Jesus Christ, and Christ accomplishing His mission on Earth so that the gospel could get to us today in 2020.

It’s an amazing thing that God has done as He has worked in history to get the gospel to us.  In fact, if you were the only person on planet Earth, I believe this, that God still would have done the exact same extreme measures.  Because He loves people, not just generically as a class, He loves people as individuals. The very hairs on our head, we’re told, are numbered.  That’s the love of God for you.  That’s the love of God for me.  It’s an astounding story of how God reached into our fallen world and gave us hope.  The first murder, 4:1-15, really what you might call fratricide, where one brother murders another is described there in 4:1-15.  We’ve seen the births of Cain and Abel, talked about that in 4:1-2 last time.  We’ve seen the actual murder itself where Cain murders Abel in 4:3-8.

And now comes the punishment against Cain for the action—4:9-15.  So we find probing 4:9; punishment 4:10-12; protest 4:13-14, and provision. Provision for who?  A murderer?  Yes.  Even a murderer himself is provided for—4:15.

Notice, first of all, the the probing.  Notice, if you will, Genesis 4:9, “Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is your brother [Abel]?”  Now, this would be an example of a rhetorical question.  God knows exactly what happened.  God is not lost or confused or had His back turned at the wrong time.  God is omniscient.  He knows everything.  Well, then, what’s the point of the question? The point of the question is not for God to elicit information.  He has all the information.  The point of the question is for Cain to confess.  Why?  Because it will go easier on you if you confess what you’ve done.

It’s a lot like a parent. Unless you’re a child abuser or something like that, no parent wants to discipline their children.  Rather, what you want is to ask certain questions or to make certain statements so that the child’s behavior will correct itself and spare us as parents from the unnecessary task of discipline.  That’s how God is.  God has to do something to fix this situation, but He doesn’t come in with a heavy hand right away.  He starts to probe.  He starts to ask questions for the purpose of getting Cain to confess so that things may go easier—even on Cain himself.

That’s how much God loves people.  By the way, God did the same thing with Adam and Eve in the prior chapter, Genesis 3:11-13.  You remember there, Adam and Eve had sinned.  And what does God say?  “Who told you that you were naked?  Have you eaten from the tree from which I commanded you not to eat?” Genesis 3:13, Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”  Why would God ask questions like this?  Same reason.  They’re rhetorical questions for the benefit of the person that the question is directed to. It’s like I walk in my house, and I forgot to shut the door.  And my wife says, ‘Did you leave the door open?’  It’s not as if she’s asking for her benefit.  She could see the door is open.  She’s asking for my benefit. It’s a polite way of saying, ‘Get up and close the door.’  Or, I’ll dress myself in the morning and come out, and she’ll say, ‘Are you really going to wear that shirt with those pants?  I mean, are you really, today, going to wear that?’  I mean, obviously, it’s a question, thus designed for my benefit.  It’s it’s a nice way of saying, ‘Didn’t your mother teach you how to dress right?’

And so that’s the kind of thing that’s happening here.  So it’s a rhetorical question.  It’s probing. And both chapters, Genesis 3 and 4 are that way. Because God is a God of love.  I hope you understand that about God.  We talk a lot about sin and judgment and things of that nature, but God is also loving:  1 John 4:8 says, “The one who does not love does not know God, because God is love.”  It’s not simply saying God exhibits love when He wants to.  It’s saying His core character is that of love.  And you even see the love of God extended out to the first murderer in human history.

The second part of Genesis 4:9 says this—Cain is now responding to the rhetorical question “Where is Abel, your brother?”  And he said, “I do not know.  Am I my brother’s keeper?” So you see how the love of God is extended to a person, and yet he just doesn’t receive it.

You see the sin nature in effect.  He says something ridiculous in front of an omniscient being.  ‘I don’t know what happened to him.’  ‘Well, Cain, you do know what happened to him.  And I am God, who knows everything.  And I know what happened to him.  I know what you did to your brother.’

But Cain, sort of like Adam and Eve at the beginning, really didn’t confess.  They really didn’t come clean.  And they just sort of ignore the problem.  I guess the psychologists call this denial. As it’s been said, the denial [the Nile] is not just a river in Egypt.  It’s something that we as fallen human beings do quite frequently, because part of our nature in Adam’s lineage is [that] we just don’t like to call attention to what we have done in terms of our responsibilities.  We like to change the subject.   We like to pretend like we don’t know what’s going on.  We like to pretend that God doesn’t know what’s going on, and yet God sees all.

So we move away from the probing into the punishment itself and notice what God says in 4:10.  He said, “What have you done?”  Now this is very significant.  Genesis 4:10, “The voice of your brother’s blood is crying out to Me from the ground.”  Now blood doesn’t have a voice in a literal sense.  So this is a figure of speech called a personification.  The blood itself is personified as crying out to God for justice.  And when you understand this, you start to understand Proverbs 6 where it talks about six things the Lord hates, yea, there are seven things He hates, and one of those things in Proverbs 6, around verse 16 [verse 17] and following is hands that shed innocent blood. When innocent blood is shed, the blood itself and the ground itself is personified as crying out to the Lord for justice.

It reminds me very much of something Thomas Jefferson said.  He said, “I tremble for my country when I reflect on the fact that God is just and His justice does not sleep forever.”  In fact, Thomas Jefferson made that statement about slavery in our nation.  When you look at that statement in context, you think, ‘God, with this horrible institution of slavery that we brought over from Europe, this dehumanizing slave trade— do you think that God is just going to ignore that forever?  And that’s sort of what God is saying here to Cain, ‘Do you think I can just ignore this?  I can’t ignore it because the blood and the ground itself are crying out to Me for justice.’

I don’t want to get off on cultural issues, but I cannot help but thinking of the fact that our country has murdered unborn children around the clock through abortion—1.5 million unborn children, innocent, slaughtered per year.  It’s a subject since Roe versus Wade, 1973; it’s a subject I really don’t like to bring up, because when you talk like this, you automatically have someone in your audience or someone listening to you that’s had an abortion or been involved in an abortion, and they feel very badly about it.  The truth of the matter is, the grace of God is so broad, and it’s so big that it even will cover the sin of murder itself—and even having an abortion, or multiple abortions.

That is the power of the Cross and the forgiveness that we just celebrated a few moments earlier at the Lord’s table.  It’s interesting that some of the choice servants of God that you read about in the Bible had blood on their hands.  David was that way having murdered Uriah the Hittite.  Moses was that way having slain the Egyptian.  Paul the apostle was that way, presiding over the execution of the first martyr in the Christian age or the church age, a man named Stephen.  And yet even those sins itself, as diabolical as they are and as horrific as they are, were covered under the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and God—He didn’t just forgive those sins.  But He actually took those people and used them in strategic places throughout the Bible, not the least of which is the recording of divine revelation.  Think of the Psalms that David wrote.  Think of the first five books of the Bible that Moses wrote.  Think of the 13 letters Paul wrote.  And it’s interesting that when you read the Bible, you’re actually reading the words of people that have committed murder.  And if that’s not a testimony to the grace of God, I don’t know what is.  Sometimes we can camp so severely on the severity of the death of the innocent that we also forget to extend to people the message of grace whereby the worst of sins, the vilest of sins—Paul, does he not refer to himself as the chief most amongst the sinners?

The worst of sins, even those sins can be covered under God’s grace.  Even the blood that we might shed on another human being—that can be covered by the blood of Christ, in fact, it is paid for. It’s just a matter of a human being accessing that pardon by way of faith.  It’s interesting that when the Lord brings judgment in the end times, which He will, there’s a list of sins that cause Him to bring the wrath of God on planet earth in the tribulation period.  And it says there in Revelation 9:21 that they—that’s the unbelieving earth dwellers at the time “…did not repent of their murders.  Nor of their sorceries, nor of their immorality, nor of their thefts.”  The prior verse (Revelation 9:20) talks about how they wouldn’t repent of their idolatry and their worship of things “…which can neither see or hear nor walk….”

And right in that mix is murders.  The fact of the matter is, judgment will come to the United States. It will come to the entire world because of this sin of murder. As far as God is concerned, it is very, very serious.  Yes, there’s grace.  But don’t confuse grace with somehow the fact that God is not going to correct this at some point.  And He will.

We continue on and we come to Genesis 4:11,12 as the punishment continues to be unfolded. And God says to Cain, “Now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood…” 12 “When you cultivate the ground, it will no longer yield its strength to you; you will be a vagrant and a wanderer on the earth.”

I’ve said this many times because I think it’s biblically true.  You can pick your sin.  You can make a choice to pick that sin.  Cain, in this fratricide, made a choice to pick his sin.  But I’ll tell you something, you can’t pick the consequence.  The consequence is up to God.  That’s the general rule in which things work, and consequences follow sin.  Consequences follow sin like night follows the day.

Satan with Adam and Eve, with Cain, and even with us, is so good at getting our eyes onto whatever short-term benefit we think we’re going to experience as a result of committing certain sin.  And as we’re committing it, our minds are not on, and I don’t know how Satan does this, but he’s very good at it.  Our minds are not on the consequence.  Cain’s mind was not on this consequence. Neither was Adam’s and Eve’s minds on this consequence. Yet the consequence comes.  Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages,…” think about that for a minute.  A wage?  What is a wage?  It’s a cost.  It’s a price.  The wages of sin is death.  But the gracious gift of God is eternal life, even in Christ Jesus, our Lord.  I find interesting that selection of words, ‘wages’ is dealing with the toll, the price tag.  And how many of us in our lives, even as the years unfold, are experiencing problems because of really bad decisions that we made a long time ago?  And we shouldn’t even call those bad decisions, should we?  That’s the modern world of psychology that will call those bad decisions.  God calls it sin.  Deliberate choices that we have made to go against the holy law and character of God.

It’s interesting how sarcastic God can be. God tells Adam and Eve and He tells Cain, here, ‘Fine, rebel against Me. You go right ahead. The ground itself, the ground itself will now be in rebellion against you.  You like rebellion?  You’re going to experience it all the days of your life.’

Back in Genesis 3:17-19, God was very clear that when He said to Adam, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and eaten from the tree, which I have commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat from it,’ Cursed is the ground because of you; In toil you will eat of it All the days of your life.  18 Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; And you will eat the plants of the field; 19 By the sweat of your face, you will eat your bread…” The earth itself is now in rebellion against you.  Just as you rebelled against Me.  And this is why eking out a living and working by the sweat of one’s brow is now a reality in the fallen world—because of the consequences of sin.  I don’t know if I fully understand how the ground was again cursed here, other than to say whatever curse was already in existence as given in Genesis 3 just got worse. And the curse itself is [that] now Cain is going to be literally a vagabond, a vagrant, a wanderer on the earth.

Now, when a child is put into discipline, the first thing the child does is complain, right?  And that’s what Cain does.  He starts a protest movement.  Look at 4:13-14.  Cain said to the LORD, “My punishment is too great to bear!  Behold, You have driven me this day, from the face of the ground; and from Your face I will be hidden, and I will be a vagrant and a wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.”

Now, you’ll notice that Cain doesn’t seem to shed a lot of tears here for his brother Abel that he just slew; he doesn’t really seem to have a lot of remorse about that.  But he seems to really be upset over the consequence and the punishment that he has to bear. That is another outworking of the sin nature.  We have a very difficult time loving our neighbors as we already love ourselves.  You know, you talk to a lot of people; they say they’ve got to get into these, you know, multiple counseling sessions with whoever to learn to love themselves. ‘I’ve got to just get in touch with myself.  I’ve got to learn to respect myself.  I’ve got to learn to love myself.’  I don’t know about you.

I’ve never had any problem loving myself.  I know how to eat enough food much, much of the time.  More than I need.  I know how to take myself on vacation.  I know how to get enough rest when I am tired.  I know how to, just like you, come out of the womb screaming and yelling at your parents without even the ability to speak as if the whole world revolves around you because your needs are not being met.

And that’s how we’re like.  We’re like that in our natural selves.  Christianity never teaches that you need to love yourself because the assumption is [that] you already do love yourself.  You listen to people and they say, ‘Well, I hate myself.’  Well, why do you hate yourself?  ‘Well, I hate myself because I’m a failure.’  Are you sure about that?  Because if you really hated yourself, you’d probably be happier [as] a failure.  ‘I hate myself.’  Why do you hate yourself?  ‘I hate myself because I’m ugly.’ Are you sure you hate yourself?  Because if you really hated yourself, you’d be happy [that] you’re ugly, right?

Now this this idea of self love is a myth.  We already have love for self.  My problem is taking the love I already have for self and extending it to other people.  That’s my problem.  And yet that’s what Christianity teaches.  Cain has no problems here loving himself.  His problem is [that] he has no love for Abel, whose name, by the way, means vanity that he just killed, or murdered, I should say.  And you’ll notice that he’s worried about vigilantism.  He’s worried about people learning that he is the world’s first murderer and basically coming against him. Now the institution of human government doesn’t exist yet.  That is not going to be brought to the earth until after the flood.  And the government will have a responsibility to protect the innocent.  That institution, the Noahic Covenant post-flood doesn’t exist.  Man, as we have talked about at this point, is governed by conscience.  That’s the significance of Genesis 3:22 where God says, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us knowing good and evil.”  Conscience is that barometer that God puts into all human beings.  Romans 2:14-15 are the key verses on conscience that it alternatively excuses and accuses.  When I obey the law of God, whether I read the Bible or not, the law of God is on my heart—conscience.  When I obey the Law of God, my conscience excuses.  When I disobey the law of God, my conscience accuses. That’s how every single human being knows that there is a God.  And they know that they’re guilty before God without ever having read the word of God.

It’s an easy thing to test when you have two kids.  Kid A, ‘If you mow the lawn, I’ll take you to Denny’s.’  Kid B, ‘If you mow the lawn, [nothing against Denny’s, by the way]—kid B, if you mow the lawn, I’ll take you to Disney World.’  Kid A will say, ‘That’s not fair.’  Oh.  Things are supposed to be fair?  I mean, how do you intuitively know that things are supposed to be fair?  How do you instinctively know that things are supposed to be equitable?  That’s the nature of conscience.  And the frightening thing about conscience is the Apostle Paul says in 1 Timothy 4:2 that conscience can be seared as with a hot iron.

You can watch so many movies of people being killed and play so many video games.  And there are, I’m no expert on it, thankfully, but there are video games that people are on—you understand this, literally all day long?  When you look at when they time in and when they time out, you see they’ve been on there for 12 hours, and the video game is you going through a war and just killing people constantly.  And they have the blood being spilled everywhere.  And you can watch so many violent acts that when an actual violent act takes place, you just lose sight of why that’s a big deal, because the video games itself and the media and the movies we watch have desensitized conscience, and people stop functioning according to conscience.  And you have situations like what we had last summer. I remember it taking place very clearly following the Rodney King incident where there were riots in Los Angeles, and people understood that the government could not get in to to stop them.  And they just went into stores and took whatever they wanted.  ‘I can get away with it.’  What is that a symptom of?  It’s a symptom of a deadening conscience.  Sort of where our society is at right now.  I mean, God forbid if the government should ever fail.  And you look at the current election situation and you wonder, ‘How is this going to get resolved?’  But if the government should ever fail, and the force of government is removed, what would people do once they understood that?  Well, if they were functioning according to conscience, they would respect the edicts of conscience which is written in their hearts, regardless of whether they read the Bible or not.  But if the conscience has become seared, Katie bar the door.

I remember in California there was an execution, capital punishment, and it was a big deal at the time because that was that was the first California execution via capital punishment in many, many decades.  And it was a man named Robert Alton Harris, if I remember his name correctly.  Where he came up to two innocent school age children eating lunch in a park, and he strangled them to death.  And then he sat down and noticed that their McDonald’s lunch hadn’t been finished yet.  So he finished eating their hamburgers.  He finished eating their French fries. And what do you call that?  That’s a human being that’s become a monster.  Because conscience has been deadened.  And you see people, psychologists complain, you know, the problem with people is they feel guilty.  You know why they feel guilty?  Because they are guilty!  All of us feel guilty because God has put this barometer in us called conscience.  It’s not a bad thing always to feel guilty if it drives you to the Cross where there’s a provision for forgiveness.

It’s a lot like walking on the beach and there’s broken glass beneath the surface of the sand that you can’t see.  And as you walk on the beach, suddenly your feet start to feel sharp tinges or twinges of pain.  And you look at that and you say, ‘Well, the pain is the enemy.’  No, it’s not the enemy.  The pain is your friend.  Because the pain is telling you something is off, something is wrong.  And if you just continue walking on the beach, you’re going to destroy your feet.  So pay attention to the pain.  That’s the divine intent behind conscience.  Pay attention to the guilt, and use it in a positive way to drive you into the forgiveness of the Cross.

But conscience itself is not the enemy, yet conscience can be seared.  And that’s what Cain is worried about here. ‘The people are going to stop obeying conscience, and they’re going to look at me as the world’s first murderer, and they’re going to hunt me down and they’re going to kill me.’  And so he’s saying to the LORD, ‘My punishment is too great to bear.’

Now, it is interesting to me how fast people give up on the Bible.  I know of a couple of cases specifically where a skeptic has taken up the challenge to read the Bible.  And they’ll stop right here in Genesis 4 on the basis of ‘the Bible is scientifically inaccurate because where did all these other people come from that are supposedly going to hunt down Cain?  I mean, I thought it was Adam and Eve and Cain and Abel and then Seth.  And now all of a sudden you’re saying things that aren’t scientifically true, and suddenly there’s a great big mob.’ Well, you’re going to give up on the Word of God because of that?  I mean, if you want to give up on the Bible, go ahead.  But don’t let it be because of something like that.  I mean, there’s a very easy answer for that.  It’s in the book of Genesis 5:4-5, which says, “Then the days of Adam, [then the days of Adam] after he became the father of Seth were eight hundred years, and he fathered other sons and daughters.”  5So all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years,…”  Adam and Eve had other children besides Cain and Abel, and they were having children perhaps into their nine hundreds.  Adam and Eve.  Adam died at the age of 930.  Think how many children you could have in that time.  And God did say, did he not, ”Be fruitful and multiply.”  You take that literally all the way to the ripe old age of 930–that’s a lot of kids, and their kids are having kids, and their kids are having kids.

That’s why I like to consult the work of Dr. Henry Morris, who wrote a scientific devotional commentary on the book of Genesis.  And he says, “Although we have no exact figures, it is possible to make a reasonable guess as to how rapidly the total human population developed. Since, according to the record in Genesis 5, each named patriarch lived many hundreds of years and ‘begat sons and daughters,’it is reasonable and very conservative to assume that each family had, on the average, at least six children, three sons and three daughters.  If it is further assumed that, on the average, these children grew to maturity, married, and began to have children of their own by the time their parents were eighty years old, and that the parents lived through an average of five such ‘generations’ or four hundred years, then it can easily be calculated that the earth had acquired within its first eight hundred years (presumably approximately the lifetime of Cain, as a minimum) a population of at least one hundred and twenty thousand.  It is probable that the figure was much more than this, since people live to greater ages than assumed and probably had more children than assumed.”

I mean, quit on the Bible if you want, but don’t let it be something like this.  I mean, this this has an easy answer.  That’s where that crowd came from.  That’s where that mob came from.  It’s related to a question that will come up later. ‘Well, where did Cain get his wife?’  You know. Jodie Foster, in the movie Contact, if you watch that, dates me a little bit, I guess, but she’s the scientist in the movie.  And in that movie, she makes the statement, ‘I was always the smart kid in Sunday school.  I was always the one that gave my Sunday school teacher so much trouble. And that’s why I moved away from the anti-intellectualism of Christianity into the enlightenment of atheism not understanding that the fool has said in his heart, there is no God.’  But this is what Jodie Foster is saying in this movie.  And so what was the big question, Jodie, that stumped Christianity?  ‘Well, where did Cain get his wife?’  ‘They couldn’t give me an answer to that.’  And I’m thinking, ‘Well, you obviously never took Sunday school from my wife. She’ll take 10 seconds to answer that.  That’s easy.’

And yet that’s what’s floated out there in the culture as the Bible is filled with all of these problems and errors.  And yet, it’s just they’re easily answered.  You get the feeling that people, when they come to the Bible, really aren’t coming to the Bible with an intellectual honesty. They want to sit in judgment of the Bible rather than the Bible sitting in judgment on them.  Like W.C. Fields, at the end of his life, he wasn’t known for being the most godly man that ever lived, believe me.  And they found him at the end of his life reading the Bible.  And they said, ‘Why—you hate the Bible, you hate God.  Why are you reading the Bible?  What are you doing?’  He says, ‘Well, I’m looking for loopholes.’  Looking for loopholes.  That’s how a lot of people are.  They don’t want the Bible to have any authority.  And so they’re just looking for any mistake.  And they, because it’s a heart issue and not a head issue, they settle for the most intellectually lazy form of an alleged mistake in the Bible.  And yet, just with a little bit of information, it’s interesting how all of these so called mistakes get cured.

I like this here where he talks about parents living through five generations.  Wouldn’t that be something, before the flood? ‘Well, what was it like when great, great grandpa did this?’  ‘I don’t know.  Go down the street and talk to him.’  I mean, think of the knowledge capital that could be passed on through the lineage this way.

And so the protest now moves into the provision. And notice, if you will, Genesis 4:15. It says, So the Lord said to him, ”Therefore, whoever kills Cain, vengeance will be taken on him sevenfold.”  And the Lord appointed a sign for Cain, so that no one finding him would slay him.

Now notice that God is making provision for the guilty. God is making provision for the murderer.  That kind of sounds like the grace of God towards us, doesn’t it?  It kind of sounds like the grace of God towards Adam and Eve, where He made provision for the guilty at the end of Genesis 3, as we have studied.  And He is making provision here for Cain, a murderer.  And I’m very glad God is that way because He’s made provision for me.  And He’s made provision for you in the person of Jesus Christ.

Two pieces of provision that God gives Cain, number one, divine vengeance, first part of 4:15. Number two, a protective mark, second part of 4:15.  Notice again the first part of 4:15.  So the LORD said to him, “Therefore whoever kills Cain, vengeance will be taken on him sevenfold.” Fascinating to me that God cares about the rights of criminals.  You don’t have to get far in the Bible to see this, because by the time we get to the nation of Israel and their conquest of the land, God gives specific instructions for six cities.  Three [in the] east of the Jordan; three [in the] west of the Jordan.  Kedesh, Shechem, Hebron: west of the Jordan.  East of the Jordan would be Golan, Ramoth and Bezer.  Six cities.  It mentions this over and over again in these sections dealing with Israel’s conquest of the land.  Why six cities?  What are these cities doing here?  These are cities of refuge.  Where, if a homicide occurs, that’s unintentional, and yet there’s a vigilante mob that thinks you’re the bad guy, when you perhaps caused an accident accidentally, and this mob wants blood, those were six places that you could run to where you would have refuge from the mob you until your guilt could be proven beyond the reasonable doubt.  A-ha!  The presumption of innocence.

When you sit on jury duty, and it’s a criminal trial, that’s what they’ll say—the defense will say that this defendant is clothed in a presumption of innocence, one of the high points of American jurisprudence.  And who came up with that? God did.  The Six Cities of Refuge.

Joshua 2:3 says, “So that one who commits manslaughter by killing a person unintentionally without premeditation, may flee there and shall become refuge from the avenger of blood.” And by the way, you have refuge from the avenger of blood, too, in the person of Christ Jesus, who I think to a large extent, is typified in these six cities of refuge.

So you’ll notice that we have rights for criminals and criminal defendants. Watch this very carefully, because if you understand this, you’ll understand why America is falling apart as I speak.  We’ve lost sight of something.  You have rights for individuals, even criminals, before the institution of human government ever began.  Government doesn’t exist yet.  It will not exist until post-flood, Noahic Covenant.  And yet the rights are there before government ever breathed a breath of existence under the hand and the authority of God.

Genesis 1:27 says this: that we are made in God’s image. That’s why God is upset when innocent blood, as in the case of Abel, is spilled.  Now, eventually, if we get there before the Rapture, I’ll be happy.  Actually, I won’t be, because I’d rather go in the rapture.  But Genesis 9:6, which is the beginning of human government, which is a gift that the Creator gave to the whole world, post-flood, says this: “Whoever sheds man’s blood By man his blood shall be shed,…” [the beginning of capital punishment]… For in the image of God He made man.”  Why would He repeat that? I thought it already said that in Genesis 1, that we’re made in God’s image.  Why is it repeated in Genesis 9:6?  Very simple.  Because the function of government is not to create rights.  It’s to protect the rights.  The rights already exist as early as Genesis 1. What you don’t have is an institution to stand in the gap and protect those rights when they’re violated.  I hope you understand something about God and government.  Government does not give you a right.  It can’t. Those rights come from God.  Government exists not to say right today, gone tomorrow.  It exists to protect pre-existing rights.  You say, ‘Well, you’re sounding a lot like the Patriots that founded America.’  No, I’m not.  I’m sounding like the Bible.  The Patriots that founded America got this principle from the Bible.

What happens if you don’t have a government to protect those rights?  Then you’ve got the wild, wild West.  You’ve got the flood world. Genesis 6, where we learned that: “Now the earth was corrupt and the sight of God and the earth was filled with violence.”  So the right exists, but it wasn’t being protected.  So now we need a system in place to protect a right that already exists.  The system of government won’t give the right.  It protects the right.  That’s just from a straight biblical chronology of the Bible. And America’s founding fathers, you can cast aspersions at them all you want, but I’ll tell you something, they understood this because that’s our Declaration of Independence. You say, ‘Well, what is the Declaration of Independence?’  The Declaration of Independence is America’s birth certificate.  The birth certificate clearly says that rights come from God.  The United States government never initially set itself up as the bequeather of rights.  Now, dictatorships around the world do that.  You have rights because the state gives them to you.  That’s not how America was set up.  America was set up as to be a protector, not a grantor, but a protector of preexisting rights.  That’s why Thomas Jefferson, in his writing of the Declaration of Independence, talks about the law of nature and nature’s God. And he says, “we hold these truths to be self-evident.”  Why are they self-evident?  Because they’re given by God..

That all men are evolved equally.  Whoops, they were creationists.  Look at this.  All men are created equal.  They are endowed by their Creator with certain….what kind of rights does it say? The third line down—unalienable? What does that even mean? You’ll notice in ‘unalienable’ the word ‘lien.’  If I own a lien against your property, your property doesn’t belong to you.  It belongs to me.  And when you sell it, I get the proceeds.  That’s a lien.

But the rights that we have in the United States are without a lien.  Meaning that they’re yours because they were given to you from Above.  John Adams, the second president of the United States, put it this way, “Rights [are] antecedent to all earthly government;…[that’s the chronology of Genesis 1-9]…. Rights… cannot be repealed or restrained by human laws; rights [are] derived [from where—our Congress, the President, no!]  …from that great Legislature of the universe.”

And this is the founding of the United States.  It’s there in our Declaration of Independence that we ‘are endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable Rights.’  Well, if we have those things, then why does government need to exist? To protect the rights which is in the declaration also.  Watch this. “That TO SECURE THESE RIGHTS, Governments are instituted among Men,…” The United States government doesn’t grant rights.  It secures rights.

How could the government grant rights—because God is the One that grants rights?  ‘Well, why are you getting so worked up about this?’  Here’s why I’m getting worked up about it.  You better start teaching this real fast to your children and your grandchildren, or they’re going to wake up one day under the delusion that the government gives rights, and what the government gives the government can take away.  ‘Gee, Andy, I wish you would preach on something more relevant.’  Is that not what the last 8 to 9 months have been about?  ‘Well, gee, Andy, are you going to close down Sugar Land Bible Church?’  Well, here’s the deal on that. Sugar Land Bible Church belongs to the Lord.  I don’t have any authority as a pastor to close down something that God himself built.  Nor do your elders have that power.  I mean, that’s a decision God makes.  And I understand that there’s concerns about health and things and we seek to operate within the guidelines the best we can.  You can see that on our website.  But there is no agenda here to close down the church because first of all, the church is God’s.  Man has no authority to close down a church.  ‘Yeah, but the governor of California said X.’  Well, first of all, we don’t live in California.  Praise God for that.  And secondly, and you need to pray for these pastors in California, because I know a couple of them, And they’re having to make a stand concerning whether they’re going to keep the church open because the governor says X. And the answer is [that] it doesn’t matter what the governor says.  Freedom of religion, freedom of speech come from God.  The governor of California or the Governor of New York or any other blue state would-be dictator, has no authority to take away something that God has given.  Why?  Because of this idea that government exists to secure rights; not to give them. And may God help us understand this, because almost nobody in leadership talks this way today.  In fact, I was watching a recent presentation or interview, I should say, by a governor of one of these very bluish type states.  And he says, ‘We’re going to shut down this, we’re going to shut down that, we’re going to take this away. We’re going to take that away.’ And the interviewer says, ‘Well, what does that mean, according to the United States Constitution? What does that mean according to the Declaration of Independence?’  And it’s almost as if the guy was caught as a deer in the headlights.  And he gave this very pathetic answer. ‘Well, what’s in the Constitution and what’s in the Declaration of Independence?’  He said, ‘That’s above my pay grade.’ Are you kidding me?  Why do you think you’re there?  You’re there to enforce rights that come from God.  And if you want to know, according to the United States, what rights come from God, they’re in the Bill of Rights the first ten amendments.

The fact of the matter is, when all of this COVID stuff hit, I mean, we were kind of confused like everybody else about it.  It’s a new situation.  What do we do?  We, I continue to preach to empty rooms. That doesn’t bother me. I’ve done that before.  But then the United States stepped up and said something.  This is the first time in my lifetime I personally have ever seen this, where the President [of the] United States, stood up and said, ‘Okay, go back to church.‘  Do you remember when that happened?  That was what, in April, May, something like that?  I have never seen in my whole life a President stand in the gap for the churches the way he did. Now, I don’t like his tweets.  You might say, ‘I don’t like this.  I don’t like that.  I wish he would speak normal or better or whatever.  And gosh, Andy, you’re trying to influence us to vote a certain way.’  No, the election is over.  My preference is just that we would count the legal votes.  So I’m not trying to pressure you any particular political way.  I’m just saying that what he said there was consistent with what you’re reading in Genesis 1-9, and it’s consistent with America’s founding and organic documents.

No governor has any right to shut down any church when it violates the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.  And if a governor thinks that or if a legislature thinks that, or if a pastor thinks that, they need to be removed from their position.  And if we can’t get enough votes to remove Governor so-and-so from their position, then you know what you can do?  You can pray them out of office.

I remember my ecclesiology professor, Robert Lightner, put it this way, and at the time he said it, I thought it was sort of unloving.  He said, ‘Men, there are some people that you just need to pray out of the church.’  He said, ‘I call that blessed subtraction.’  And so I’ve done some of that while I’ve been here for ten years.  Some people have gone and some people have been prayed into the church.  Amen.  The power of prayer is just unbelievable.

Finishing up here with Cain [in] 4:15, the second protective mark that’s given, or the second sign of God’s provision is there in the second part of 4:15: “…And the Lord appointed a sign for Cain, so that no one finding him would slay him.”  Now, what everybody asks me is, ‘Well, what was the sign?  What was the mark?’  As if I know.  Yeah, it was a two by two tattoo that went down.  I have no idea what it was.  It’s a question I can’t answer.  And not even somebody like Henry Morris can answer that question.  Henry Morris, in his study Bible, says [that] the mark is not described. That’s why we don’t know exactly what it was. The Hebrew word is better rendered ‘sign’—whether the sign was a physical marking on Cain’s body or a miraculous display of some sort. It was widely known for many generations. In fact, Lamech is going to make a reference to it in Genesis 4:24.  But it did serve to inhibit any who might be inclined to [inaudible]  Cain.

It’s interesting, the marking of God in Ezekiel 9:4-6, before he destroys the city of Jerusalem, He marks people.  And it says in Ezekiel 9:6, “Utterly slay old men, young men, maidens, little children and women, but do not touch any man on whom is the mark;…”  So God, in biblical history, provides protective marks.  This is what Cain received.  Why?  Because God is love.  And God is concerned with the rights of the guilty.

And as we progress in Genesis where we’ll learn in the Noahic Covenant, He’s created a special institution, not to create rights, but to preserve, or secure existing rights. God’s provision or God’s protection for the guilty.  And I’m here to tell you  based on what we celebrated today at the Lord’s table that there is a protective mark available for you.  It’s the person of Jesus Christ through which you can seek refuge, and be spared from the wrath of God that is quickly coming to planet earth.  That mark is the blood of Jesus Christ.   And it is created through the death, burial, resurrection and ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is a completed transaction. In fact, the Lord Jesus Christ, His final words on the Cross, you’ll remember what He said. “It is finished.”  If “It is finished,” it’s like stick a fork in it, it’s done.   If it’s finished, there’s nothing else for me to do by way of religiosity other than to receive it as a gift. And according to Romans 4:4-5, you only have one way to receive a gift from God.  It’s not by works.  It’s by faith. God has predicated this whole protection on the basis of whether we receive it as a gift by faith or not. It’s available for the world, but it doesn’t become effectual or effective until it’s received.  And there’s only one way to receive it as a gift which comes by faith.  Faith means trust.

That’s why becoming a Christian is not a 12-step process.  Becoming a Christian involves nothing to do with walking an aisle, joining a church, giving money, becoming a member—all of those things in of themselves are not bad things, but they don’t have any ability to bequeath to you the protective covering, or the protective mark that you need.

It’s only through faith, which means to trust.  It’s more than just intellectually understanding. It’s in a person’s heart [that] they stop understanding only and they start depending. Understanding moves to depending; understanding moves to reliance.  And once you rely on Christ for your eternity and the safekeeping of your soul, that protective mark which is available to the whole world, is now effectual to you.  That’s how easy God has made this.

And so our hope and prayer as I’m speaking is people, as the Spirit convicts them of their need to receive this protective covering in their quietness, of heart of hearts, simply to receive it by faith the best they know how—without filling out a card, raising a hand—all of that is irrelevant. It’s a matter of decision between the lost sinner and God, where they trust in His provision, and immediately the protective mark is applied to them that they don’t deserve.

As a lost guilty sinner, you can receive Christ even as I’m speaking.  If it’s something that people need more explanation on, I’m available after the service to talk.  Shall we pray?

Father, we’re very grateful for this exciting time of the year looking backwards at Thanksgiving, but forward to the birth of Your Son into our world.  Help us to leave this place not just having gone through the book of Genesis, but having the book of Genesis go through us.  We’ll be careful to give You all the praise in the glory.  We ask these things in Jesus’ name, and God’s people said, Amen!