In the world today people are talking about prosperity even some preachers are preaching it. But my friend let me tell you that there is false prosperity and we must be careful. Genesis chapter 4:17-26 gives us a contrast between the wicked family of Cain and godly family of Seth.
If you read these verses carefully you will see a list of items making Cain’s prosperity. In this verse you will notice a series of firsts. For example you will see the first case of polygamy, animal husbandry, art of music and metal craft.
It is sad that in many of our pulpits today the preaching is centered on good houses, big cars, money and happiness.
1. Cain was building a city ( v17)
Cain has just walked out of God’s presence and remembers that God told him that he will be a fugitive and a vagabond.
Outwardly you can say that Cain is prospering because he is building a city. The word city refers to any human settlement whether big of small. Here we are seeing Cain working extremely hard to settle on earth, his thinking and energy is directed or centered on this present life. He wants to be safe from men who can slay him. This is the first time we are reading about the city that was being built and may be Cain is thinking that this will make him and his family have less reason to fear God’s judgment. You can see here that Cain is trying to make a name for himself “called the name of the city after his son- Enoch (Gen 4:17)”. This was one of greatest social progress, but the sad part is that Cain was without God. He walked out of His presence.
Even today men are struggling and working hard to settle here on earth. People are saying if I get a job , a wife, a husband I will settle and others want to settle in this present world. Many are following the way of Cain. Here we must be warned. Things may look good outwardly, but spiritually we may be in great danger. Here we are seeing that even a city or a big house is not necessarily evidence that one is right with God, but rather a radical change in our inner most being. This is how the Lord Jesus put it, "you must be born again."(Jn 3:7)
My fellow preacher there are two cities which one are you preaching, my fellow believers which city are you pursuing whole heartily?
In Genesis 4:17 we have seen the beginning of a city which is meant for man’s glory “ called the name of the city after name of His son – Enoch” Here we see man’s zeal to establish his name on earth. This city is built for man’s glory and honor. This city will fail and it leads to destruction “unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it, unless the Lord guard the city, the watchman stay awake in vain [Ps 127:1]. This phrase shows man determination to build a name for himself “The Father of those” vv 20 and 21.
On the other hand, God is building the city which is for His glory. True believers are looking forward to this heavenly city. “But they desire a better that is a heavenly country. Therefore God is not a shamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them (Heb 11:16).
“ For here we have no continuing city but we seek one to come” (Heb 13:14)
“ For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the savior, the Lord Jesus Christ ( Phi 3:20)
It is sad that many preachers are no longer preaching about this city but they are busy preaching the worldly city. I once heard a prosperity gospel preacher accusing missionaries that they preached to us heaven and not how to be wealthy in this present world.
My dear friend which city are you comfortable with? Can you sing this hymn with your whole heart?
1. We’ve no abiding city here
This may distress the worldly mind but should not cost the saint tear
Who hopes a better rest
2. We’ve no abiding city here
Sad truth were this to be our home, but let this thought our spirit cheer
We seek a city yet to come
The city of Cain is not abiding, some commentators says that he was building a city but never completed it.
True Prosperity vv25-26.
Contrary to what we have been reading in the preceding verses, here we are seeing true prosperity.
“Then men began to call upon the name of the Lord”. Here we are seeing that God is central. He is trusted ,remembered and worshiped. Worship is what man was created for as the Westminster shorter catechism put it “ Man's chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him for ever”.
Men began to call upon the Lord shows that men were not only worshiping God in private, but also in public. They gathered together to worship God and therefore we are seeing that public worship is important. Even the early Church devoted themselves to public worship.
The descendant of Seth are distinguishing themselves as worshipers. My dear friend, let me tell you that God’s people are separate from the world as we can see here. God’s name, honor, glory and reputation is what thrill them most.
May God help us to be those who God is their only hope of salvation. May preachers of the Gospel proclaimed the Lord Jesus alone, and plead with boys and girls, men and women, to call upon the name of the Lord.
My friend if you are not saved I beseech you in the name of the Lord to call upon His name for it is written “ For whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’’[Ro 10:13]
As I conclude this is what I want you to know, the prosperity Gospel distract people from focusing on the central truth of the Gospel -- namely Calvary, the substitutionary atonement, the crucified life, holiness and transformation to a subsidiary issue, really blessing.
God saves us first and foremost not to bless us materially, but to change us to be like Christ that is transformation[Rom 12:1ff].
These are some passages on the atoning death of our beloved Lord
1 Jn 4:10