Genesis 4:17 ESV
Cain knew his wife, and she conceived and bore Enoch. When he built a city, he called the name of the city after the name of his son, Enoch.
Apparently, the consequence of becoming a wandering fugitive only meant that Cain had to leave the land where he had been born and raised, or possibly the consequence of his sin was only temporary. After going to the land of Nod, Cain settled down with his wife and founded a city, which he named after his firstborn son.
Cain’s wife would have been one of his sisters. There is no indication that God created more humans for Adam and Eve’s children to marry, and the consequences of inbreeding would not have been noticeable early on. When they did, incest became taboo.
Genesis 4:18-22 ESV
To Enoch was born Irad, and Irad fathered Mehujael, and Mehujael fathered Methushael, and Methushael fathered Lamech. And Lamech took two wives. The name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other Zillah. Adah bore Jabal; he was the father of those who dwell in tents and have livestock. His brother’s name was Jubal; he was the father of all those who play the lyre and pipe. Zillah also bore Tubal-cain; he was the forger of all instruments of bronze and iron. The sister of Tubal-cain was Naamah.
Cain’s descendents continued to thrive in the city of Enoch. However, Cain had left the presence of the Lord to live there. God’s presence was not apparent and God was not mentioned. He had been continually present throughout the lives of Adam and Eve, and their children, but now he was distant, and the citizens of Enoch may have begun to wonder if He existed at all (much like our modern society). Even as Cain’s descendents advanced in raising livestock, music making, and metallurgy, humanity’s relationship with God deteriorated. This opened the door for lawlessness in the city.
Genesis 4:23-24 ESV
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.
If Cain’s revenge is sevenfold,
then Lamech’s is seventy-sevenfold.”
As Cain’s descendents lived apart from God’s manifest presence, sin and lawlessness increased, and the consequences of sin increased.
In the 21st century West, as a society in general, we too have departed from the presence of the Lord and forgotten God. As sin and lawlessness increase, we ask what has gone wrong with our society, and why do we seem trapped in a downward spiral of crime, economic depression, and immorality? It is because, like the city of Enoch, we have forgotten God.
But our situation is not hopeless. God has never forsaken us and is waiting for us to return to Him with open arms.
Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. (James 4:8-10, ESV)
It is high time we returned to the practice of the presence of God!