“I will put enmity between …”
It has long been obvious to us that the enmity decreed in Genesis 3:15, between the serpent’s seed and the woman’s seed, immediately manifested itself in the relationship between Cain and Abel. Abel was a man of faith. Cain was not; Cain hated his brother to the point of murdering him. What was not as obvious to me was the almost certain way the enmity replicated itself and quickly spread in the antediluvian world.
God’s people vs. sin’s people
Why do I say this? The clue, it seems to me, is provided in Genesis 4:26.
And as for Seth, to him also a son was born; and he named him Enosh. Then men began to call on the name of the LORD.
Didn’t men begin to call on the name of the LORD at least a generation earlier than this, in the days of faithful Abel? Why are we told this about the third generation?
The practice of calling on the name of the LORD is well documented in the rest of the Bible. The details associated with the practice are wonderfully instructive. Here are several examples that all but speak for themselves.
Genesis 21:13:…there (Abraham) called on the name of the LORD, the Everlasting God. II Samuel 22:4,7; Psalms 18:3,6: I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised; So shall I be saved from my enemies…In my distress I called upon the LORD, And cried out to my God; He heard my voice from His temple, And my cry entered His ears.
I Kings 18:24: … you call on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the LORD; and the God who answers by fire, He is God.
Psalms 14:4: Have all the workers of iniquity no knowledge, Who eat up my people as they eat bread, And do not call on the LORD?
Psalms 118:4-6: Let those who fear the LORD now say, “His mercy endures forever.” I called on the LORD in distress; The LORD answered me and set me in a broad place. The LORD is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?
Joel 2:32: And it shall come to pass That whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.
II Timothy 2:22: Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
The very practice of calling on the name of the LORD sets certain men apart from others. In the process, the faithful distinguish themselves from the rest of mankind. Faithful people call on the one, everlasting God. The workers of iniquity call on gods of their own devising, not on the LORD.
Reflective of a way of life
The faithful shun the lusts of the flesh and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace. They fellowship amongst themselves and derive strength from one another. They are despised for what they do. The rest of the world cannot tolerate pure hearts; enmity is its answer to righteousness.
And the faithful openly commit their cause to God: “In my distress I called upon the LORD” … “What can man do to me?” … “Whosoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved”!
It seems to me that a sharp distinction between the faithful and unfaithful was absolutely clear by the third generation from Adam. The faithful were persecuted, not unlike righteous Abel, and their response was to call on the name of the LORD who saves His children. Seven more generations passed and the world overcame the sons of God. Heaven wept. It gives us sober reason to pause and reflect.