Genesis 019 – Light Overcomes the Darkness

Genesis 019 – Light Overcomes the Darkness
Genesis 4:23-26 • Dr. Andy Woods • December 20, 2020 • Genesis


Genesis 019 –
Light Overcomes the Darkness –
Dr. Andrew M Woods
Genesis 4:23-26

Well, let’s take our Bibles and open them to the book of Genesis 4,–trying to look at  4:23-26.  The title of our message this morning is “Light Overcomes the Darkness.“ In fact, if I were to pick a message for Christmas, that’s the title I would give Christmas.  The world is in a very dark place except for two words: “But God; But God.” We’re going to see that played out—the Christmas message in microcosm form in the verses that we’re looking at this morning, 4:23-26, which will take us to the end of Genesis 4.

You know, Christmas is a peculiar time.  I like to analogize it to having a birthday party for somebody and celebrating, but then you forget to invite the person whose birthday it is.  And it’s so easy to lose focus on Jesus, who is the reason for the season.  Amen.  And it’s so easy to get pulled into festivities: family, presents, gifts, all of those things which are wonderful.  But it’s easy to lose focus on who Jesus is.  Christmas Eve is like that…

We are in the book of Genesis 4.  The first half of the book, as you know, is about the beginning of the human race featuring four major events:

  1. Creation, which we’ve covered in Genesis 1,2.
  2. The fall in Genesis 3-5.

Unless we understand the fall of man, we can’t understand why a Savior is needed.  The fall is described in Genesis 3 in great detail, and we’ve gone through that chapter meticulously.

Genesis 4,5 are essentially the aftermath of the fall.  It’s the introduction of a great conflict that was predicted in Genesis 3 between God and Satan, which is played out for us before our very eyes here in Genesis 4.  If you understand this conflict, you’ll understand the conflict going right on through the Bible and the conflict that was involved in Christmas itself, and how God moved heaven and earth to get His Son to be born into our world on Christmas Day for you as an individual, and for me as an individual.

Genesis 4:  there are basically three parts to it:

Number one is the first murder—Genesis 4:1-15, and what happens there is that it looks like the messianic line is being snuffed out.  Fratricide has occurred—Cain murders his brother Abel. You’ll remember that Cain’s sacrifice was rejected. Abel’s sacrifice was accepted.  It looks as if the messianic line that is predicted in Genesis 3:15, is going to come through Abel’s line.  Satan says, ‘I’ll fix this problem.  I’ll have Cain murder his brother, Abel.’  He’s doing that to stop the genealogy, or the lineage leading to Christ.

You might wonder why your Bible, as you read through it, if you’re on one of those one year Bible programs, and you kind of get discouraged because there’s so many genealogies here. Well, the genealogies are there to show us that this conflict was escalating.  Satan was trying to stop that line leading to Jesus.  And God, someway, somehow in the midst of the darkness, gets around Satan’s effort and preserves that line.  “But God.”

That’s what the Christmas message is all about.  After the first murder occurs, then what you see developing in 4:16-24 is a group of people called the Canite line descending from Cain.  That is the world system that Satan now sought to create and develop; he asserted himself as the ruler of this world.  He tried to organize things where the Savior could never come to the earth. And now he builds what many would call the New World Order—a Canite civilization of complete and total wickedness; a society that was excluding God.

The last time we were together, we began studying that ungodly Canite line, [see Slide on Ungodly Line of Cain] and we’re going to wrap up our thoughts there and move to God’s solution, which is at the very end of the chapter, the birth of Seth.

We have seen a continuation of Cain’s line, the murderer in 4:16-18.  We saw how immoral they became in 4:19–more on that in just a moment.  And we saw that this was a group of people that were technologically sophisticated.  The ideas of primitive man are basically a myth when we read God’s Word.  These people were very sophisticated technologically.  We made the point that they were even working with bronze and iron simultaneously . Now, no secular anthropologist will tell you that such a thing was possible because we have the Bronze Age for several centuries, followed by the Iron Age.  And before the flood, after the fall of man, they were working with both at the same time.  They were far more sophisticated and technologically savvy than we give them credit for.

But the problem is the name “God” is not mentioned in their line.  Eve mentions God at the beginning of the chapter, a new line that God will develop through Seth mentions God.  In fact, we read it earlier.  “It was in those days that men began to call upon the name of the LORD.”

But you have no such godliness at all in this Canite line from verses 4:16-24.  They were so technologically sophisticated that they had no room for God.  They were technological giants, but they were spiritual and ethical midgets—not too different from our culture today when you think about it.

We pick up more information about this ungodly line of Cain as more of their immorality is described.  Notice Genesis 4:23, “Lamech, [we’ve run into him earlier], said to his wives, [plural], Adah and Zillahh, Listen to my voice, You wives [plural] of Lamech, Give heed to my speech,…”

Now, it’s interesting that this verse is the beginning of what we would call Hebrew poetry.  When in the Old Testament, the Jews; Hebrews created poetry, it was different than the type of poetry that we have today, which rhymes sounds together.  The Hebrews didn’t do that. They rhymed ideas.  And what you have to begin to analyze is the two lines simultaneously. They’re always in relationship to each other, sometimes the second line complements or explains the first line, or offers a detail that is not found in the first line, or says something opposite of the first line.  But that’s what you call Hebrew poetry.  This is the beginning of it—Genesis 4:23. In fact, this might even be the second use of Hebrew poetry in the book of Genesis in world history.  Probably the first poetic statement that you find in the Bible is found in Genesis 2:23.  It says, ‘The man said, “This is now bone of my bones And flesh of my flesh;… [Hebrew poetry] …She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.’”

Adam was so enthralled with the first woman that he couldn’t help but break out into poetry. And maybe that’s why ladies love it when their man cites them a little bit of poetry.  The first marriage.  And here is now Lamech speaking poetically, ‘Lamech said to his wives, Adah and Zillah, “Listen to my voice. You wives of Lamech, give heed to my speech,...[But notice what he also says]… For I have killed a man for wounding me; And a boy for striking me;…’”

So notice the first part of that. You’ll notice that the immorality which was described in 4:19 continues on in this Canite line.  The wives of Lamech are mentioned in 4:19.  Now he mentions his wives again—plural in 4:23.  Obviously what is happening here in this Canite line is the sexual standards and the sexual blueprint of God are being erased. Lamech is becoming polygamous.  And this, of course, as we mentioned last time, is a far cry from God’s sexual standard of heterosexual monogamy: one man for one woman, for one life—that’s the standard.  Now there are individuals and people in all kinds of walks of life that have violated that standard.   But the problem with that is the standard still exists.

We’re at a time now in Western civilization where we’re trying to erase and change the standard.  But the fact of the matter is the standard is not ours to change because it was given to us from God Himself. This is why you have this problem today of the sociologists, anthropologists, the academicians and the politicians trying to change the definition of marriage, as if the definition of marriage is something we can change at will.  How do you assume that right, when it’s God Himself that created the definition of marriage?   We’re not in any position to change the definition of marriage because it’s from God Himself.  It’s from the Owner’s Manual.  Genesis 2:24 describes that definition.  It says, “For this reason, a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.”

And now you see Lamech moving away from that.  This is what ultimately triggered the wrath of God in the Great Flood.  The same kind of thing will envelop the earth one day in the events, not of water, but in the events of the Tribulation period.  Revelation 9:20-21 describes the great sins of that time period, and it mentions that they would not repent of their immorality.

What is immorality?  It’s man’s attempt to change a definition given by God Himself.  And so the immorality in this line continues, and it actually gets worse because it moves into violence. Notice the second part of 4:23, Lamech here is speaking concerning his wives.  He says, “For I have killed a man for wounding me; And a boy for striking me;…”  Now you’ll notice here, ‘kill and wound’— that’s violence.  And you’ll notice also how disproportionate the violence is.  ‘If you wound me, I will kill you.’  That’s disproportionate: ‘If you strike me, I will kill you, and I will even do it if I am a man, Lamech, and I happen to do it to a boy.’  You’ll see the word, ‘boy’ there in 4:23.  So it’s a level of violence that’s out of control.  It’s a level of violence that is disproportionate.

And this is quite different than God’s standard of justice, which you see when God brought the children of Israel to Mount Sinai, later on in biblical history, and gave to them the Mosaic Law. And when God gave the Mosaic Law to the children of Israel, you see a standard of justice that is not disproportionate.  It says in Exodus 21:23-25, “But if there is any further injury, then you shall appoint as a penalty life for life,…” [You see that]? “…eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.“  In other words, life demands life.  Eye demands an eye—not two or three eyes.  A tooth demands a tooth.  A hand demands a hand.  A foot demands a foot.  A burn demands a burn.  A wound demands a wound.  A bruise demands a bruise.  This is completely different than what Lamech is espousing here:  ‘You wound me, I kill you.’  Disproportionate.  Completely different than the Mosaic Law. ‘You strike me, I kill you.’  Disproportionate.  Completely different than the Mosaic Law.  ‘If I’m a man and you’re a boy, I can kill you.’  Disproportionate to the Mosaic Law.

I bring this up because there’s a lot of people that will tell you that the Mosaic Law is one of the most inhumane things because it says things like “wound for wound, eye for eye, tooth for a tooth, hand for hand.”  And what I’m trying to explain is the Mosaic Law advocates a system of justice which is proportionate—not disproportionate.  It allows the punishment to fit the crime, and it doesn’t involve a level of punishment which is completely blown out of proportion and disproportionate to the crime, something that Lamech’s descendants were implementing here in the Canite line.

Everybody likes to find things in the Bible that seem unfair and they like to compare it to our current system of justice. I would just encourage you to do this.  When you hear arguments along those lines, don’t compare the Mosaic Law to our understanding of how justice should operate.  Compare it to the standard of justice that was running rampant in the ancient Near East.  When you understand that Lamech was punishing people in a disproportionate sense, suddenly you understand that God’seye for eye wound for wound, hand for hand, burn, for burn” is proportionate justice, and it’s actually merciful in comparison to what Lamech and his Canite descendants were advocating.  God simply says the punishment should fit the crime. Lamech is saying, ‘No, if the crime occurs, punishment will be many, many times over.’

I heard recently of a judge who was trying to argue that in his legal decisions and in the American jurisprudence system, we shouldn’t be consulting the law of Moses.  We should be consulting other, more enlightened Hebrew texts, not Hebrew texts, but ancient near Eastern texts of the time, like the Code of Hammurabi.  In seminary, I had to read the Code of Hammurabi.  It’s obvious that this judge who said that has never read the Code of Hammurabi.

The Code of Hammurabi is a Babylonian legal code that precedes the time of Moses by about four centuries. And if you want to understand the wild, wild West vigilantism and disproportionate justice that was taking place prior to God giving the Mosaic Law, read the Code of Hammurabi.

The Law of Moses says you cannot be punished for a murder unless your murder of somebody else was observed by 2 to 3 witnesses.  That’s a very enlightened legal standard.  Do you know what the Code of Hammurabi says?  It says that if you suspect somebody of murder, then just throw them into the nearby river.  And if they survive from drowning, they were innocent.  If they were guilty, they sunk.

Now compare that standard of justice to what God says in the Code of Hammurabi concerning innocent until proven guilty by a standard of not just one eyewitness, but 2 to 3.  And you begin to look at the Mosaic Law as not as something uncompassionate, but as something very compassionate that brings in a real compassionate standard of justice, letting the punishment fit the crime—completely different than what Cain and his wicked descendants were advocating, espousing, and doing here.

And so this earth, consequently, prior to the flood, without God’s standard of righteousness, became filled with violence.  I mean, these were violent people. They were not just sexually immoral people.  They were violent people.  And that, of course, shouldn’t surprise us because the man that was the progenitor of that line is the world’s first murderer, right?   As the saying goes, ‘the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.’  So why would his descendants be any different than he was?  He’s the one that killed his own brother in cold blood.  And he is also the one where God said in Genesis 4:10, ‘He said,“…The voice of your brother’s blood is crying out to Me from the ground.”

So since it began with violence, it stands to reason that his descendants would be very, very violent themselves and this was the Canite line.  This was the condition of the world prior to the flood.  And this level of violence continues to grow and grow and grow until God finally can’t look the other way, and He has to wipe this people group out through the flood.  Genesis 6:11 describes the escalating violence on planet earth during this time period.   And it says, “Now the earth was corrupt in the sight of God, and the earth was filled with violence.

You might be interested to know that the Hebrew word for violence there is hamas.  You may have heard that name in the news.  I think it’s largely derived from the same word, and the name itself means violence.  Just keep that in mind when these various Middle Eastern groups claim that they want peace in the Middle East, yet the derivative of their own name is violence.

So the earth became filled with violence, and this is one of the reasons God brought the global deluge.  It all started with the first murder and Cain’s wicked descendants.

When we look at the sins that will envelop the earth in the events of the Tribulation period, we not only see sexual immorality, but we see once again that the earth will be filled with violence. Revelation 9:21 says, ”…and they did not repent of their murders nor of their sorceries, nor of their immorality, nor of their thefts.”  You’ll notice that immorality and murder continues right on into the Tribulation period itself, which will be a manifestation of the wrath of God.

One of the things that’s very troubling to watch is how violent our society has become.  Last time we were together, we spoke a little bit about abortion, which is really an act of violence when you think about it.  But I also think of the types of video games where people will sit for hours and hours playing video games.  Have you noticed that video games have gotten a lot more sophisticated than than when we were growing up?  I remember pinball machines and Pac-Man.  I’m dating myself a little bit.  I don’t remember blood being splattered every which way and killing people for hours and hours.  Yet that is what modern day video games have become.  It’s like you can see so many murders not only through video games, but through movies; cinema—that when an actual murder occurs, it’s just, ‘Oh, well. As that song goes, another one bites the dust.’ [I won’t be singing that for you today in church].  But there’s just a desensitizing that we’ve gone through to the fact that all life is sacred because it bears God’s image.

And so the Canite line was not only sexually immoral, but they were exceedingly violent.  And something else about this Canite line that’s very interesting is they became humanistic.  Notice Genesis 4:24 (NKJV): “If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, ”Then Lamech seventy-sevenfold.” So ‘If Cain is avenged times seven, Then Lamech says, ‘I will avenge anybody who comes against me not just seven times, but 70 times seven.’

Now, this is a reference to God’s provision for Cain back in Genesis 4:15.  Cain, when he complained to God, did not complain to God about his own guilt.  He complained to God about the punishment.   And we saw a few Sundays ago how God and His grace provided provision and protection even for the world’s first murderer.  One of the things God said, in addition to putting upon Cain the mark of Cain, in Genesis 4:15, “Therefore whoever kills Cain, vengeance will be taken on him sevenfold.”  What then is Lamech saying here?  He’s saying that ‘If God will avenge Cain sevenfold for wounding him, then I will do it seventy times that for wounding me.’

You see no reference to God here other than an indirect reference, perhaps.  But he says that if God is going to avenge Cain sevenfold, anybody that comes against him, he is going to do it seventy times that amount.   And what is Lamech doing here?  He is doing sort of a one up on God.  He’s building a society and civilization that will replace God.  God does things His way.  ‘I’m going to do things my way.  I’m not going to rely upon God for justice.  When injustices are committed against me, I’m going to go out, and I’m going to take matters into my own hands, and I’m going to actually do to my attackers something even worse than God Himself would do.’  And what you see here with this one up attitude on God; this desire to replace God, is the beginning of a religious system which is the dominant religious system in the United States of America today:  the religion of humanism.

What exactly is humanism?  You should probably know something about humanism, because this is what your children and your grandchildren are being taught around the clock in the public school system.  Humanists, it’s interesting—they have doctrinal statements.  There was one written in 1933; another one written in 1973, signed by Walter Mondale, former vice-president of the United States of America under Jimmy Carter, signed by Isaac Asimov, a famous science fiction writer.  And then, another one written in the year 2000, called Humanism 2000.  I have all the copies in booklet form in my library, and it’s very interesting, they’re very short reads.  You could read it in one sitting.  It’s sort of like reading the doctrinal statement of a church.  You’re trying to figure out where a church is at theologically.  They typically will have a brief doctrinal statement.  Well, the humanists have doctrinal statements.

What do the humanists believe?  They believe in the non-existence or the irrelevancy of God. What they say is, ‘God, if He exists, is really not relevant because man is the center of all things,’ hence the name humanism.  Well, if that’s true, then where did everything come from if God did not create everything?  Well, they are, big as you might imagine, on what they call the reality of evolution.  And they see man as nothing more than an evolved animal; a naked ape, so to speak.  You go to the Houston Zoo and you look in there and you see the orangutans and you say ‘hi’ to your distant relatives.  Man is an evolved animal.  They don’t know anything about man being a special creature of God made in the image of God.

This is why they’re so big on abortion and things like that, because human life really isn’t all that valuable.  In fact, the value of human life is determined by the quality of life.  If you can enjoy a high quality of life, your life has value.  But what if you’re in a wheelchair?  What if you’re blind?  What if you’re poor?  Your life is not that valuable.  It’s totally different than God’s value system, which is based not on the quality of life, but the sanctity of life.   All human life has value because all human beings bear God’s image.

They don’t believe in absolute morals or values.  They advocate what is called situational ethics. Ethics are not standard or uniform.  They fluctuate from situation to situation.  And they place a huge amount of weight in the so-called scientific method to solve the world’s problems.  That’s why they’re always talking about peer-reviewed material.  And they’re always talking about ‘Does the science say.. And what is the collective mindset of the scientists,’ because they see themselves as scientific; they don’t fully understand, or they’re blinded to the fact that they’re actually advocating a philosophy and a religion masquerading as science.

You know something is religious or a real worldview because it answers life’s most fundamental questions.  Christianity does that, by the way.

Who am I?  Well, according to the Bible, you’re a special creation of God.

Where did you come from?  You came from God’s design.

Why are you here?  Well, your purpose is to know and to glorify God.

Where are you going?  Well, if you’re in Christ, you’re going to heaven.

Well, how can I get there?   Only through faith alone in Christ alone.

The Bible is a worldview because when you open and read it, it answers all of those questions.

Well, humanism 1933, humanism 1973, humanism 2000:  they answer all the questions as well. Who am I?  Well, you’re a biological accident.  So it’s sort of interesting.  We’re uptight at kids acting like animals.  And why shouldn’t they act like animals when they’re taught that they are animals.  And we’re so upset about the suicide rate amongst the youth.  Well, what do you expect?  Ideas have consequences, don’t they?  If you teach people that their life has no meaning, it has no value; they’re not a special image bearer of God, and that they’re nothing more than a biological accident and a naked ape, of course, they would be depressed and suicidal.

Where did I come from?  Humanism says from the primordial soup over billions of years.

Okay, well, then why am I here?  It’s all about you.  The saying goes like this:  ‘If it feels good, do it.’  Because life is really not about service.  It’s not about giving yourself away for the benefit of somebody else the way Christianity teaches the purpose of life. [In humanism], your whole purpose is to fulfill yourself.  Their Holy Trinity consists of me, myself, and I.

Where am I going?  Humanism says you’re moving to a planetary new world order.  And that’s the part of their documents that always is interesting to me because they lay out one world government as nakedly as it can be laid out.  They use the phrases ‘transnational government, transnational judicial system.’ They’re very down on Make America Great Again mentality. They’re down on nationalism.  They’re against patriotism.  But what they’re really in favor of is one world-ism.

I realize that Donald Trump is sort of a controversial figure, but my take on it is I think Donald Trump could have gotten along fine with the media if he had simply said, ‘My campaign slogan is to make the world great again.’ But he didn’t say that, did he?  He wants to make America great again.  And that puts him out of sorts with the humanist mindset.

How can I get there?  The Humanists place a great emphasis on the scientific method.  By the way, 1961, the Supreme Court said in a case called Torcaso v. Watkins that humanism is a religion.  Did you know that?  The Supreme Court said back then, “Among the religions in this country which do not teach what would generally be considered a belief in the existence of God are Buddhism, Taoism, Ethical Culture, Secular Humanism and others.” (Italics added).   And this is interesting that we can’t teach our religion in the public schools, but the humanists can teach theirs.

In fact, did you know this?  The humanists have a 501 C3 tax-exempt status.  It’s on the books. You can look it up. The Humanist Society has that just like a church would.  And yet there’s all kinds of restrictions on Christianity.  But humanism can go into the public schools and teach whatever it wants to teach.  And this is the diet that is fed to people through government-run systems around the clock.  That’s why humanism is the established religion of the United States of America.

And what’s interesting is the humanists told us exactly what they were going to do.  This is a quote from a man named Charles Francis Potter written in 1930.  Notice the title of the book [you probably can’t see it, but the title of the book down there at the bottom is called Humanism: A New Religion.  He is admitting that his system that he wants to bring to the United States is a religious one.  And this is what he writes.

He says, “Education is thus a most powerful ally of Humanism, and every public school is a school of Humanism.  What can the theistic Sunday schools, meeting for an hour or once a week and teaching only a fraction of the children, do to stem the tide of a five-day program of humanistic teaching?”

The humanists a long time ago says, ‘Look, we’re going to come into the public schools, we’re going to take them over and we’re going to use it to propagate our religion around the clock.  And that’s how we’re going to win the next generation.’   I’m careful here because I know there are good Christian people laboring in the public school system, and I don’t want to take anything away from them.  I thank God that they’re there, but the fact of the matter is, the system as a whole is broken because those teachers that are Christian and are trying to fight the good fight are put under an amazing set of constraints and restrictions concerning what they can and can’t do or say what because we ceded a long time ago; this goes back decades, the public school system to the humanists.

This presentation up here was amazing.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen a presentation like this at Sugar Land Bible Church with so many kids involved.  And yet, if Charles Francis Potter was looking at that presentation, and by the way, he was a very religious man.  He was what they call a Unitarian, and he went to church.  And if he was sitting in the chairs that you sat in and watched that presentation, what would he say?  He would say, ‘It doesn’t matter.  That’s just one time a week they’re doing that.  VBS, that’s just once in the summer; Sunday school, that is just one hour of the week.  I’ve got them through government compulsion the whole rest of the time.’

So we need to understand the battlefield; what it is we’re up against.  We need to start understanding why so many of our churches are dwindling and why you have so many scenarios where youth leave the church never to return again.  They get force fed or they get put on a diet of humanism, and they’re led to believe that it’s the humanists that have the real science.   Those Christians, those fundamentalists, they’re just holding on to myths of the past.

We’re in a spiritual war.  And when Lamech says, ‘I’m going to do seventy times what God did,’ that’s the beginning of humanism.  God is erased.  Lamech says, ’I’m taking control of this situation.’  The names of his wives, [plural], are interesting.  One is named Adah.  I think I’ve mentioned this before.  One is named Zillah.  Adah means ‘ornament’ in Hebrew.  Zillah  means ‘shade.’  In other words, he was taking wives and looking at women by what he could see, sort of like Samson.

What did Sampson say to his parents?  ‘I have seen a woman in Timna.’ He said, ‘Get her for me.’  Not exactly the most subtle guy on planet earth, but everything was visual with the opposite sex.  It’s what would would stimulate a man physically.  That was what was important, and I think that’s probably borne out by the names of these two wives of his.

And that is an outworking of humanism, which is completely focused on the scientific method, which is what you can observe.  The things of the spirit that you can’t necessarily see but are spoken of in the Bible, you dismiss.  God’s blueprint for marriage, dismiss that; the reality of the sacredness of human life, dismiss that; the reality of the soul, dismiss that; the great conflict between angels and demons, Satan himself, dismiss that—because you can’t see that.

The Bible is so interesting. It takes the exact opposite approach than what you find in humanism:  2 Corinthians 4:18 says this, “…while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen;…”  Is that you as you walk through this life?  Is your whole thought process, what you can see?  Then you’ve fallen for the siren song of humanism.  But if you’re a Christian who is informed by the pages of God’s Word, you’re not always just looking at what you can see.  You’re looking at what you can’t see.  And are the unseen things just as important as the seen things?   In fact, [they] are more important, God says: 2 Corinthians 4:18 says, “While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are unseen, [watch this now] for the things which are seen are temporal… [They’re temporary], but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

Humanism, with its emphasis on what’s observable, testable and repeatable right down to violating God’s blueprint for marriage; right down to selecting marital partners that have nothing to do with the things of God, and yet they’re beautiful, will get you thinking about and focused on all the wrong things.  You start to think that what you see is important.  And what God says is that that’s not important at all.  It’s what’s unseen that’s important.  And how important it is that we need to walk in the things of God, focusing on the things that He says is important rather than on the things that we can see.

Isn’t that what caused all of the trouble at the beginning?  Isn’t that what Genesis 3:6 says, “When the woman saw that the tree was good for food and it was a delight to the eyes…” The verse goes on.  It says, … “she took from the fruit and ate, and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.”  What was her focus?  It was humanism.  It was the scientific method, the eternal things of God were inconsequential.

As we continue on in the book of Genesis, we’re eventually going to run into a man named Lot, who I would call, in the Old Testament sense of the word, a carnal Christian.  My sermon title, when I get there, will be this. “Are You a Lot like Lot?“

And Lot, unlike Abram, who later became Abraham, was looking at what he could see.  Abraham, by contrast, was walking by faith.  That’s why, when there starts to be a rivalry between Abraham and Lot, and Abraham says, ‘Look, let’s let’s not have dissent.  You pick one area that you want to go to, and whatever you don’t want, I’ll take the opposite.’  Why would Abraham say something like that?  What a foolish real estate endeavor that is.  Well, he was walking by faith.  Lot, by contrast, was walking by sight.  Genesis 13:10-12 (NKJV), says, ”Lot lifted up his eyes and saw all the valley of the Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere—this was before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah—like the Garden of the LORD,… Then Lot chose for himself all the plain of Jordan, and Lot journeyed east.  And they separated from each other.  Abram dwelt in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelt in the cities of the plain and pitched his tent even as far as Sodom.

What different choices between those two men!  One was following the teachings of a transcendent God who reveals things that we can’t see.  The other was a humanist.  And his whole focus was on what was there visibly for him.  I think that’s why there’s an emphasis on these wives of Lamech, whose names mean ’ornament’ and ‘shade.’

Do you see what Satan has done here?  This is amazing work that Satan does.  He’s cut off the Messiah.  The Messiah can’t be born, in his mind, because Abel is dead, and he [Satan] has prevented this prophecy [in his mind] from happening.  Where it’s predicted that there’s coming One from the seed of the woman who will crush the serpent’s head, Satan thought that that Messiah is coming through Abel—‘And I’ve had Cain kill Abel so that the Messiah can’t come.  And if that weren’t enough, I’ve created my own New World Order. The Canite line is continuing.  They are immoral as far as God’s standard is concerned.  They are technologically giants, but spiritual midgets, they’re involved in violence.  And I have enthroned the doctrine of humanism.’

It looks kind of bleak, doesn’t it?   Except for two words. ‘But God.‘  God does a work here to get around this promise.  You know, it’s so tempting to close your Bible there at 4:24 and say that Satan won.  The problem is the chapter doesn’t end with 4:24.  There’s 4:25. And there’s 4:26, and if you understand 4:25 and 4:26, then you understand Christmas.  Because what God does at Christmas is represented here in microcosm form in 4:25,26.  It captures the Christmas story.  I think it’s so interesting as we’re moving through the Bible verse by verse, that the Lord would have us read these two verses, and I don’t plan this.  I don’t have enough creativity or ingenuity to do it—it’s God that put us in this text this week as we’re getting ready to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.  So interesting how God works that way when you simply teach His Word.

The problem is we think we have to defend the Bible.  We don’t have to defend the Bible.  I think it was, Spurgeon who said, ‘You just have to let it out of the cage.  It’s like a lion in a cage, and if you let it out, it will do its work.’  Yet in so many churches you go to today, the lion is in the cage.  It’s not out of the cage because the Bible is a closed book.  You’re too busy hearing three points in a poem from the evangelical church.  You’re hearing things about the Bible, but you’re not hearing the Bible.  You’re not hearing the Bible being taught the way God designed it.  And if you teach it the way God designed it in the order He gave it, you know what God does?  He blesses your life.  And He blesses a congregation.  God has never promised to bless a man or a movement or a method.  But He promised to bless His Word.  “Because the grass withers. But the word of God abides forever.“ It reveals principles that you will not find in humanism and the scientific method because they can’t be seen.  And what is unseen is what’s important.  What is seen is temporary.

So what does God do here to get around this darkness?  That’s why I’ve entitled this, “Light Overcomes the Darkness.“  I mean, it looks dark.  You know, the United States of America, right now, December 20th, 2020–don’t things look bleak?  It looks dark except for two words, ‘But God.’  God is at work in this country.  God is at work in this covid insanity.  Do you realize that?  Do you realize that there are people that email us constantly, saying, “We would have never found your ministry online if it weren’t for covid?‘  Covid is this weird thing that’s messed up the whole planet, but God uses it.  This is a very dark situation here, but God is going to work.  And so what God does behind the scenes is in Genesis 4:25,26.  Now we have the birth of Seth.  Look at what he says there in 4:25, “Adam had relations with his wife again; and she gave birth to a son, and named him Seth, for, she said, “God has appointed me another offspring in the place of Abel, for Cain killed him.”

What is happening here is the birth now of another individual, Seth, outside the Canite line, that wicked line that we have been talking about that is going to be heavily developed in Genesis 5.  What in the world has God done here?  He’s gotten around the problem, as God always does. It looks like the messianic line has been cut off. Abel is dead. The Canite generation is dominating the earth with their doctrine of humanism.  And God says, ‘You know what?   I’m going to do another work—through another line, the line of Seth.’

What you see is the outworking of the seed of the woman—seed of the serpent conflict, where Satan is allowed to attack the heel.  But God, in the midst of the darkness, is going to still be at work and crush Satan’s head one day.  If your heel is damaged, it’s temporary.  If your head is crushed, it’s permanent.  Satan thinks it’s checkmate, but it’s not because of two words:  “But God.”

God gets around this problem through the birth of Seth and a new line exists.  And when we get to Genesis 6, the exact same thing is going to happen.  Satan, in the angelic Genesis 6:1-4 event, will have so contaminated the genetics of the human race, that in his mind, a Messiah who must be fully God and fully man, can never be born.

Checkmate! I’ve won.’  No, you haven’t won because of two words: “But God.“  God will get around it through His work, via a man named Noah, who was perfect in his generations, meaning he was genetically uncontaminated.  And through that lineage, the messianic line will continue.

What does Satan do in Exodus 1?  He starts to kill all of the Hebrew youths in the Nile through Pharaoh.  ‘Checkmate.’  No, it’s not checkmate.  God gets around it through Moses being set adrift on the Nile.  And God begins to work through Moses.

If you want to know a time in history when Satan probably almost pulled it off, it’s in

2 Chronicles 22–the story of Athalia, the wicked usurping queen who began to exterminate the royal offspring of the house of Judah.  The Messiah has to come from the line of Judah.  Genesis 49:10:  Satan says, ‘Checkmate.’ No.  There was a priest named Jehoiada who took a little child named Joash, the last Davidic descendant on planet earth due to Athaliah’s satanically energized rampage.  And he took that little child, and put him in the temple—until Athaliah was gone.  The whole messianic conflict came down to one kid.  Satan probably thought, ‘Checkmate.‘  No, it’s not checkmate because of two words:  “But God.”

Go into the Persian period, and we run into this man named Haman, who was going to basically wipe out the whole Jewish race.  That’s what was happening.  Satan says, ‘Checkmate.’  No, it’s not checkmate because of two words: “But God,” and God began to do a work through Esther and Mordecai, and the Jews were saved.  And the messianic line continued.

And we go right up to Christmas Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas morning.  And you have Herod killing all of the youths, male infants, innocents in Bethlehem.  Why Bethlehem?  Because he knew that’s where the Messiah would come from. Satan says, “Checkmate.” No, it’s not checkmate because of two words:  “But God.”  God has the royal family flee into Egypt until Herod is gone.  Then they come back.  Jesus grows into full stature, and dies on a cross for us, and rises from the dead.

Do you see what’s happening here in the Bible?   It’s the same story.  The players may change a little bit, the era changes a little bit, but it’s an outworking of the seed of the woman—seed of the serpent conflict.  And this is the first real time that I can think of in the whole Bible where this has happened.  Satan says, ‘Checkmate.  No Messiah, Abel’s dead.  I’ve got my humanistic New World Order all set up.’  But it’s not checkmate because of two words:  “But God,” and Seth is born.  From Seth comes somebody else named Enosh.  Look at Genesis 4:26, “To Seth, to him also a son was born; and he called his named Enosh…”  Now, Seth to Enosh is the development of a brand new line that’s going to go directly to Noah, Genesis 5, and then Noah, of his three sons, is going to have a really special son whose name is Shem, Genesis 9:26.

And from Shem‘s line in Genesis 11, it goes right to Terah.  Well, who’s Terah?  Terah was the father of a man named Abraham, who at that time was named Abram.  And God continues the lineage through Abram.  And through that special nation, a Messiah is going to be born who’s going to be Jewish.   His name is Yeshua; Jesus Christ.

I would just encourage you as you approach Christmas this time of the year to not focus on the darkness.  There’s a lot of darkness in the Bible, there are also a lot of “But Gods” in the Bible. I’m fully aware that 2020, many of you are thankful it’s in your rearview mirror.  We don’t even know who our next president is going to be.  The country is in such confusion.  People are upset.  If they’re a small business owner, they’ve been shut down.  There are financial problems.  It’s so easy to sit there day after day after day and ruminate on the negative.  I would encourage you this week, particularly this week, to ruminate on two words:  “But God.”  God is doing things in our lives; even in our country that you can’t see.  But He’s doing it because that’s who He is.  That’s His character.  This is how He operates.

My daughter and I are reading through the Bible together.  We’ve gotten to Judges.  Have you read the book of Judges lately?  What a depressing book.  There’s a cycle in the book of Judges:  Israel serves the LORD, Israel falls into idolatry, Israel is enslaved, Israel cries out for a deliverer, God raises up a judge, Israel is delivered.  Israel serves the LORD.  Oh, there’s more.  She falls back into idolatry, and the whole cycle occurs not once, not twice, not three times, but seven times!  Now you look at that and say, ‘What is the point of this?‘  This pattern, by the way, in the book of Judges went on for 300 years.  And it’s easy to just focus on that and become despondent.  It’s so empty; it is just like vain repetition.  But I’ll tell you something else about the Judges Era.  There’s a companion book called the book of Ruth that was written during the exact same time frame.   Judges is depressing, but Ruth is the story of “But God“ because in the book of Ruth, there is a genealogy.  It’s in Ruth 4:17-22, where Ruth marries a man named Boaz.  Ruth, a Moabitess not even an Israeli, marries a man named Boaz, and from that union comes a little child named Obed.  And from Obed’s line eventually comes a man named Jesse. Does that ring a bell?  Jesse is the father of David.  It’s all in Ruth 4:17-22, and through David’s line is coming Jesus Christ.  That’s how to read the book of Judges.   Don’t just read the book of Judges by itself.  Read it with the little book attached to it, which happens in the same time period that majors on two words, “But God.“  In the total darkness of the Judges Era, God was doing something to continue the messianic line which was out of the immediate sight of people.  That’s how human history works with God.

This is why we as Christians are called to be people of hope.  Because God, no matter how difficult, is always doing something.  Even in the year 2020, and He’ll continue to work in 2021. The problem with God, though, is He doesn’t work the way I want Him to work.  ‘Well, you know why He doesn’t work the way I want Him to work?’  Because He is God, and I’m not.  I’m not in charge.  My job is just to figure out where He is working, and to make that my focus.

What begins to develop through this birth of Seth and then Enosh, is a godly line.  See it there at the end of Genesis 4:26, where these people do something that none of the Canites do early in the chapter.  It says, “Then men began to call upon the name of the LORD.” A different line that was spiritual, that loved the things of God.  And through that line, that godly line, a Messiah is going to be born.  This is not like the Canite line here on the left {see Slide on Lineage of Adam].  This is a new line; a godly line, not like the line that we’ve just studied that was immoral and technological, but spiritual midgets and violent and humanistic.  This is a special line.  And through that special line, you’re going to start to see the fulfillment one day of Genesis 3:15, to get Jesus to us on Christmas Day.

The light overcomes the darkness, doesn’t it?—even in circumstances that look impossible.  ‘You know, Andy, I think the way you preach is absolutely crazy.  You say things that I haven’t heard anywhere in any church.’  That’s why I like to quote people that are higher than myself to show you that I’m going down an interpretive line here that’s well worn by the greats.  Just because you’ve never heard anything like this doesn’t mean it’s not true.

Renald Showers puts it this way in his book, What on Earth is God Doing?  I love that title.   Ask that question:  what on earth is God doing?  Showers says, ”In His war against Satan, God counteracted the murder of Abel by giving Adam and Eve another godly son named Seth (Genesis 4:25).  Since this name means ‘substitute,’ it is apparent that God meant Seth to be a substitute for Abel.  The genealogies found in Genesis 5; 11:10-32 and Luke 3:23-38 reveal… [all those genealogies that we‘re bored with and that we rush right over because we don’t understand their significance are put there by the Holy Spirit to reveal two words, “But God.”  It is the hidden work of God in the midst of complete and utter darkness. That’s why those genealogies are there]… “The genealogies found in Genesis 5, Genesis 11:10-32; and Luke 3:23-38 reveal that God also intended the Redeemer to come through Seth’s line of descent.”  To which I can only say, ‘Praise the LORD.  God wins.

Jesus came.  Jesus died on a cross to pay a price that I could never pay, and He proved who He was through His bodily resurrection of the dead so that people at the sound of my voice on December 20th, 2020, could hear the gospel, and respond to it by faith, and be ushered into a relationship with God in a nanosecond.

You know, when we preach the gospel, we focus a lot on the sufferings of Christ, and that’s all part of it.  But what about all this other stuff that God did even before Christ became the incarnate Son of God?  Look at the moving of the chess pieces; the conflict between God and Satan.  Look at how God moves and works when it looks as if all is lost.  And my Bible says, “God is the same today, yesterday and forever.”

Meaning the same work of God that’s beneath the surface is going to be with your life in the year 2021.  So as Christians, of all people, we leave a place like this with a teaching like this with optimism.  Of course, our closing exhortation, as we’ve looked at the first murder, the ungodly line of Cain, and then the godly line of Seth leading to Jesus Christ, is:  to say no to Christ is to waste everything God has done to get the gospel to us.  It’s to waste the intricacy, the detail, the warfare where the light finally broke through the darkness.

How could any human being look at something like this and tell Jesus, ”No.”  Foolishness. Please respond, even as I’m speaking, to the work of God on your behalf.  Respond to Him in the best way you know how, by faith alone, in Christ alone and receive undoubtedly the best Christmas present you could ever receive, which is a relationship to the God who made you.

If it’s something that you need more explanation on, I’m available after the service to talk.  Shall we pray?

Father, we’re grateful for this passage and how it speaks to us in our time and what You did to get Jesus to us.  We praise You for that.  We thank You for that.  We leave here, this place today, as people of hope and optimism, basking in the things of God.  We’ll be careful to give You all the praise and the glory.  We ask these things in Jesus’ name, and God’s people said, AMEN!