19 And Lamech took two wives. The name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other Zillah. 20 Adah bore Jabal; he was the father of those who dwell in tents and have livestock. 21 His brother's name was Jubal; he was the father of all those who play the lyre and pipe. 22 Zillah also bore Tubal-cain; he was the forger of all instruments of bronze and iron. The sister of Tubal-cain was Naamah.
23 Lamech said to his wives:“Adah and Zillah, hear my voice;
you wives of Lamech, listen to what I say:
I have killed a man for wounding me,
a young man for striking me.
24 If Cain's revenge is sevenfold,
then Lamech's is seventy-sevenfold.”
Sin always distorts God's commands. Sin always changes God's gift into bondage. In this text, we see three characteristics of sin's rebellion in Lamech's life.
- Sin distorts happiness given by God's gift into lust for gratification. In Genesis 2:18-25 God gives man the gift of companionship. Within God's ordained, "one flesh" relationship, man had the potential to have his needs and desires satisfied. His need for companionship, support, help, and encouragement could be met by a mate. But Lamech, like so many of us, decided that by doubling his means of gratification, (wives), he could double his gratification. Sadly, that is never the case. Whenever we attempt to increase upon, or re-invent God's plan for satisfaction, we find ourselves destitute of satisfaction at all.
- Sin distorts man's view of his own worthiness. We see clearly in verse 23, Lamech elevates himself to a place of honor, by wrongly assuming he has the right to exact vengeance upon those who harm him. This is rooted in the sin of pride. By assuming he is worth more than he is, Lamech assumes he has rights that he has not been given at all, namely, vengeance and "justice". How alike we are! By assuming our own place is one of hyper-worth, we assume that anyone who harms us should be attacked with even greater force than that which they themselves used.
- Sin distorts the curses of God into things to be coveted, We see this in the oh so sinful phrase, " If Cain's revenge is sevenfold, then Lamech's is seventy-sevenfold.” in verse 24. Again, this stems from that deadly sin of pride, and the hyperbolic sense of worth that we place upon ourselves. The interesting thing is, when God gave Cain the right of "revenge/vengeance" of sevenfold, it was not a blessing; in fact, it was an addendum to the very curse of God for Cain's murderous actions. But Lamech, like us, in his damnable state of sinful distortion, views God's curse as something to be coveted and so claims it for himself.
We need grace. We are all like Lamech. We are all born into the line of sin, and we all sprout from rebellion's seed. The key to defeating the mindset of Lamech when it pops up in our minds and world views, is to keep before our mind's eye a constant picture of our unworthiness, and Christ's worth, and His payment that secured our true worth. It is only through the humble mind of Christ that the distorted mind of Adam can be defeated.