Genesis 4, Matthew 4, Ezra 4, Acts 4

DateVersionReading Plan
@January 4, 2024ESV (2016)M’Cheyne Plan 2024

Genesis 4

Genesis 4:13–15 (ESV) 13 Cain said to the LORD, “My punishment is greater than I can bear. 14 Behold, you have driven me today away from the ground, and from your face I shall be hidden. I shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.” 15 Then the LORD said to him, “Not so! If anyone kills Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold.” And the LORD put a mark on Cain, lest any who found him should attack him.

Though having pronounced a curse on Cain, the LORD still demonstrated mercy on him through protection.

Genesis 4:23–24 (ESV) 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.”

The increased sentence of revenge on Lamech represents a dark climax of Cainite genealogy.

Genesis 4:26 (ESV) 26 To Seth also a son was born, and he called his name Enosh. At that time people began to call upon the name of the LORD.

The first time that God is invoked by His personal name, yhwh (Yahweh). That this came through Seth and Enosh indicates that they marked a new and brighter beginning for humanity.

Matthew 4

Matthew 4:1 (ESV) 4 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.

The Spirit led Jesus to be tempted. This may seem difficult to grasp, especially juxtaposed with James 1:13 that says “God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one.”, but it is clearly written here. In this case it seems that it was necessary to demonstrate Jesus’ moral fitness to do the work He had come into the world to do.

The discourse between Jesus and the devil is compelling. They both use Scripture to reinforce their positions, but the devil twisted the Scriptures to use them for nefarious intent. It presents a lesson to take care how we employ the use of Scripture, to apply them well, being from a heart of faith with wholesome purpose.

Matthew 4:18 (ESV) 18 While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen.

It is reassuring in a way that the very first disciple called by Jesus was Peter, a man who struggled with doubt and even came to deny even knowing Him. It shows how Jesus goes directly toward the broken and lost of this world with great compassion.

Ezra 4

Ezra 4:1–3 (ESV) 4 Now when the adversaries of Judah and Benjamin heard that the returned exiles were building a temple to the LORD, the God of Israel, 2 they approached Zerubbabel and the heads of fathers’ houses and said to them, “Let us build with you, for we worship your God as you do, and we have been sacrificing to him ever since the days of Esarhaddon king of Assyria who brought us here.” 3 But Zerubbabel, Jeshua, and the rest of the heads of fathers’ houses in Israel said to them, “You have nothing to do with us in building a house to our God; but we alone will build to the LORD, the God of Israel, as King Cyrus the king of Persia has commanded us.”

Judah’s adversaries feigned interest in helping to rebuild the temple, but Zerubbabel would not have it. They worshiped God, but He was only one of many gods in their pantheon.

Ezra 4:12–13 (ESV) 12 be it known to the king that the Jews who came up from you to us have gone to Jerusalem. They are rebuilding that rebellious and wicked city. They are finishing the walls and repairing the foundations. 13 Now be it known to the king that if this city is rebuilt and the walls finished, they will not pay tribute, custom, or toll, and the royal revenue will be impaired.

It is telling that in their letter to Artaxerxes, Rehum and others first appeal to the financial loss that would occur with the rebuilding of the walls and temple. It demonstrates hearts being bent toward worldly prosperity.

Ezra 4:19–21 (ESV) 19 And I made a decree, and search has been made, and it has been found that this city from of old has risen against kings, and that rebellion and sedition have been made in it. 20 And mighty kings have been over Jerusalem, who ruled over the whole province Beyond the River, to whom tribute, custom, and toll were paid. 21 Therefore make a decree that these men be made to cease, and that this city be not rebuilt, until a decree is made by me.

King Artaxerxes revealed himself to be of the same heart to Rehum and his associates when he ordered the rebuilding of the walls and temple to cease.

Acts 4

Acts 4:1–4 (ESV) 4 And as they were speaking to the people, the priests and the captain of the temple and the Sadducees came upon them, 2 greatly annoyed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead. 3 And they arrested them and put them in custody until the next day, for it was already evening. 4 But many of those who had heard the word believed, and the number of the men came to about five thousand.

The religious elite were annoyed at the disciples’ proclaiming Jesus and had them arrested and yet many still believed as the word was heard. The work of the Spirit to spread the gospel is like a wildfire, beyond any ability of man to contain it.

Acts 4:33 (ESV) 33 And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all.

This coupling of the apostles’ “great power” and the “great grace” upon them is helpful to see here. The strength to give their testimony and the impact it had was not of their own but given to them by God.

Carson on Genesis 4

(In speaking on the murder of Abel by Cain and subsequent killings) while the motives for murder are superficially many, at heart they become one: I wish to be god. And that is the supreme idolatry.

This serves as a good reminder that at the root of every sinful man is the desire to be his own god, controlling his own destiny and circumstances, even to the death of others.