20 Adah bore Jabal; he was the father of those who dwell in tents and have livestock. 21 His brother’s name was Jubal; he was the father of all those who play the lyre and pipe. 22 Zillah also bore Tubal-cain; he was the forger of all instruments of bronze and iron.
Here we find ourselves in the middle of a list of the descendants of Cain. What a strange thing it is that God would include this genealogy. And here we see that 3 of Cain’s children are these three men who basically founded vital fields of human development.
One thing that we can take from this strange passage is that God is very merciful. God could have killed Cain. He could have prevented Cain from reproducing. But God chose to allow even the sinner, Cain, a family. He chose to bless Cain’s descendants with creativity and ingenuity. God chose to bring beauty into his world through the creativity of people, even people who did not follow him.
Sometimes we call this principle common grace. Common grace is the grace of God made evident in the lives of people, perhaps even people who do not follow him. God blesses all sorts of people with gifts of music, art, science, and so much more. God’s kindness is evident in the fact that he allows all sorts of people from all sorts of faiths the opportunity to bring good things into his world.
So, as you read through the Bible and see these odd little records of people having kids, even people who are not the people of God, remember that it is evidence of God’s kindness and mercy. God has chosen to allow life to thrive on earth and to allow people who do not know him to have families and to experience much beauty. Thank God for being so kind.