Do parents influence their children, grandchildren, and future generations? The answer is an emphatic “yes!” Whether for good or bad, we are giving them a lasting example. They learn from us what life is all about and what conclusions we have drawn. If we have concluded that God is our creator and that our primary purpose in life is to live for his glory, that will be portrayed. If, however, we have concluded that our goal is to live for our own glory and satisfaction, that will be imbibed by our posterity.
Lamech was a descendant of Cain. He was a violent, boastful man who had two wives. It is not difficult to see Cain’s influence in Lamech. Cain had an anger problem that he could not control. It was so out of control that it caused him to murder his brother. Cain could not deal with rejection without resorting to violence. He wore his anger as a badge, and Lamech learned to do the same.
The boast of Lamech (Gen 4: 23-26) is the boast of one who devalues life. Lamech bragged about killing a man for wounding him and another young man for merely striking him. Can we make a connection here to our age? It is shocking to see so many movies, video games, and rap music that devalue life through violence while glorifying the exploits of the perpetrator. Our society is plagued with the boast of Lamech. Those who follow Lamech will ultimately find they have made the wrong choice.
I have heard the same story a thousand times. It is the story of Cain and the boast of Lamech. It is the story of living life “My Way.” He tells me, “I pursued my happiness, but I could not find it." The story suddenly changes from a boast to a sob, one filled with pain, heartache, and brokenness without remedy. With difficulty I listen to the regret, "He promised that it would fulfill the heartache and satisfy the longing, but it was a lie." The story ends with disgrace, a shame that torments its victims. She looks up in tears and says, "I never thought it would turn out like this." They are lives that are broken in a thousand pieces. There is nothing in this world that can put a life like that back together—only God in his grace can do that! Lamech can be seen today in so many places with his desire for vengeance and violence. While Cain’s descendants lived out Lamech’s boast—the descendants of Seth called on the name of the Lord. What a contrast! There could not be more of a difference than between Lamech’s way and Christ’s way. Lamech boasted of killing and getting his way, while Christ says to forgive and keep on forgiving.
Sometimes we wonder “Can I make a difference in this world?” “Can my life do any good in a world that is so lost and so dark?” The answer is a resounding “yes,” if we like Seth call on the name of the Lord. “God, please help me to be a good father or mother. Help me, Lord, to be a godly worker on my job and work for your glory. Help me to share your love and your grace with those around me. Help me to forgive as you have forgiven me.” In doing these things and living a dependent life on the Holy Spirit, your life will shine as Paul says as “stars in the universe.”
In the text of Hebrews 12:1-2, we see a grand stadium filled with great men and women of renown. They are Abraham, Joseph, Jochebed, Moses, Debra, Daniel, Jeremiah, Paul, and thousands more. They are standing as the race prepares to begin. Each of us takes our place at the starting line, and we are encouraged to empty our pockets of any unnecessary weight that would slow us down. We are told to focus our eyes on Jesus and run with grit. Remember how Jesus ran this race. He looked at the joy that was before him—the pleasure of seeing all of us redeemed from our sin. Looking at that joy helped him endure the cross and set aside its shame and finish his mission. What can you set aside, and what shame can you disregard so that you can run this race to the finish line?