Curse of Cain, son of Adam
Most of us are familiar with the story of Cain and Abel. Cain’s offering to the Lord was rejected while his brother Abel’s was accepted. I can go off and get into why that was the case, but I’m not. Cain goes on to draw his brother Abel out into the field and then kill him. This is where I want to meditate. Cain kills his brother. God confronts him about it. Cain denies even knowing what God is talking about. God then curses Cain, “So now you are cursed from the earth… When you till the ground, it shall no longer yield its strength to you. A fugitive and a vagabond you shall be on the earth.” That’s it. God hit Cain right where it hurt the most, Cain’s gifting. The Bible says Cain was a tiller of the ground (Gen. 4:2). God said your gift will be useless now, the thing you love to do (or the thing you are great at doing) will no longer yield to you, and you shall continually wander among the earth. That’s it from God. His said His peace, He rendered His punishment.
Cain, on the other hand, feeling the brunt of the punishment for what he did, says to God, “My punishment is greater than I can bear!” (Gen. 4:13-14). Separated from his family, soon to be separated from the presence of God (Gen. 4:16), living with the guilt of what he did to his younger brother, and in his mind a useless existence because the thing that identified him will no longer do so. Outcasted by the consequence of his action, just like his father Adam was, Cain in a depressed, guilt-ridden state of mind goes on to add on to God’s curse and curse himself, “…it will happen that anyone who finds me will kill me” (Gen. 4:14). Cain no longer wants to live. But God, demonstrating yet again—like He did with Cain’s father—what Paul says in Romans 5:8, adds a curse onto Cain’s curse, ““Therefore whoever kills Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold.” And the Lord set a mark on Cain, lest anyone finding him should kill him” (Gen. 4:15).
How wonderful is our God that even when Cain cursed himself for the pain and affliction he caused his parents and himself by way of his selfish acts, God sovereignly intervened and saves him, not from the consequences, but from the added curse he put on himself. Not only did God do this for Cain, but for Cain’s grandson Lamech as well. Like his grandfather, Lamech killed a man and possibly internally cursed himself (Gen. 4:17-19, 23). God knowing this put a curse on anyone who attempted to or did kill Lamech for what he did (Gen. 4:24).
What can we take away from Cain, son of Adam?
- Be honest before God and with God.
- Know that we are our brothers' and sisters' keeper and God will hold us accountable accordingly.
- Our life is not identified by our gift(s), careers, accomplishments, and so on, but rather our lives are to be identified with the Creator and Giver of all good things. It should affect and penetrate us more than anything else to know we can hinder our fellowship (not relationship) with God because of our sin.
- There are times in our life where we curse ourselves for the pain and affliction our selfish acts have caused others and/or ourselves. What we need to know is our God sees and knows what the just consequence is for our actions (and will allow such), and in His mercy He intervenes and “sets a mark” on us to keep us from our own curses.
Curse of Ham, son of Noah
The Bible says from Noah’s three sons the whole earth was populated (Gen. 9:19). Noah’s son Ham has a very interesting story and lineage, which had major implications on history.
In Genesis 9:22 the Bible records Ham seeing his father’s nakedness and then telling his two brothers. Ham’s brothers Shem and Japheth covered their father without looking at his nakedness (Gen. 9:23). Because of what Ham did, God cursed Ham’s son Canaan (Gen. 9:25-27).
Ham’s decision to look upon his father and not cover him caused lingering internal problems for his lineage. Ham begot Cush (Gen. 10:6). Cush is the father of Nimrod (Gen. 10:8). The infamous Nimrod built a kingdom from Babel (which is Babylon– Gen. 11:9) to Assyria (Gen. 10:8-12). In Assyria Nimrod built Nineveh, whom we know from the story of Jonah. Nimrod was the founder of the lands and nations that were future enemies to the Israelites. Ham begot Mizraim (Gen. 10:6). Mizraim begot the father of the Philistines (Gen. 10:13-14), a consistent enemy of Israel during the Old Testament. Ham begot Canaan (Gen. 10:6). Canaan begot majority of the “ites” the Israelites warred with in the Old Testament (Gen. 10:15-18). And that's because Canaan was cursed to be a servant to the lineage of which the Israelites came through, Noah’s son Shem (Gen. 9:26; 11:10-26). The border of the Canaanites stretched from Sidon to as far as Gaza to as far as Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen. 10:19). We know Sodom and Gomorrah as the most sexually vile city among the world at one point (Gen. 13:13; 18:20-21; 19:1-13). They were a straight descendant of the first person to look upon the nakedness of the same sex—and his father at that. Should we be shocked by Sodom and Gomorrah seeing the lineage in which they descended from? I think not. Canaan is also the land promised by God to the descendants of Abraham (Gen. 12:4-7; 15:12-21).
More can be expounded on, but for the point I’m trying to make this is enough.
We can see from one man’s act a whole lineage was internally cursed (also displayed in Cain with Lamech). This may be the case in your life. Your parents (or their parents, and so on) passed on their lineage of dysfunction to you in someway—depression, promiscuity, alcoholism, drug abuse, status seeking, people pleasing, bad decision making, etc. Praise God for making a way for us to born from the Seed of promise and not from the seed of shame! Praise God for Jesus who can break our generational dysfunctionality from being passed on to our children (cf. Acts 16:31-34) as long as we follow His prescription on life (Rom. 6:10-23).* (Let me clarify something. I didn't say nor was I implying that all of our problems, struggles, or the affects/influence of sin in our lives will go away because we are saved. Paul prayed three times that God would remove the thorn from his flesh, but He didn't. There are "thorn(s)" God allows to stay in our lives so that we, like Paul, don't get to elated and we always have a reminder of our constant need for Jesus [2Cor. 12:7-10]).
How great is our God! For while we were still sinners He sent His Son Jesus Christ to die for us and redeem us from the curse of the law (and the curse of ourselves) and bring us into grace! This grace is available for us in every area of our lives and in every situation we come upon. Take away from these two whatever you can. I hope my contemplations have helped you in someway.
*Just because Jesus can break any generational curse/dysfunction from being passed on by us to our children that doesn’t mean that our children won’t have any dysfunction or cause and pass on any dysfunction of their own (Jer. 31:29-30, Hos. 10:12-13, Gal. 6:7-8).