The origin of the expression the“ third times a charm ” dates back to the 17th century in Great Britain. Likely based upon their spiritual heritage and knowledge of the Bible, the English believed the number “3” was lucky, bestowing fortune on a person when they encountered it in their life. This couldn’t be more evident when you consider the third boy mentioned in the Bible. While Jude mentions that Enoch was seven generations from Adam, the rest of Adam’s descendants are skipped by Moses, Jude 1:14.
And Adam knew Eve as his wife, and she became pregnant and bore Cain; and she said, I have gotten and gained a man with the help of the Lord. 2 And [next] she gave birth to his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground, Genesis 4:1-2.
The first child born to Adam and Eve was Cain which means “I have gotten and gained a man with the help of the Lord.” This help was followed by Abel who went on to become a successful shepherd before his life was cut short, murdered by Cain. Despite receiving harsh punishment from the Lord, Moses does mention his family lineage beginning in Genesis 4:17. Cain was allowed to have a wife who gave birth to Enoch. While Jared was the father of the second Enoch, but Cain was so proud of his son that he built a city and named it after Enoch. Perhaps Jared named his son after the first Enoch.
[Prompted, actuated] by faith Abel brought God a better and more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, because of which it was testified of him that he was righteous [that he was upright and in right standing with God], and God bore witness by accepting and acknowledging his gifts. And though he died, yet [through the incident] he is still speaking. 5 Because of faith Enoch was caught up and transferred to heaven, so that he did not have a glimpse of death; and he was not found, because God had translated him. For even before he was taken to heaven, he received testimony [still on record] that he had pleased and been satisfactory to God, Hebrews 11:4-5.
One of the first three boys mentioned in the Bible end up in the Hall of Faith. While Hebrews 11:1 and 11:6 receive most of the headlines in sermons, the passage above highlights the faithful nature within Abel and Jared’s Enoch. As a parent who understands the power of prayer, I’m sure Cain’s daily prayer for Enoch and his other children was to avoid the same errors, mistakes, and sins he committed. Rather than write a book like Proverbs, Cain invested his remaining days on earth to become a godly father. May the story of Cain and Enoch inspire you to not give up on your own children, intervening daily like the persistent widow in Luke 18.
by Jay Mankus