Description / Transcription
O God, our Father, God of the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, God of the prophets, priests, and kings. God of Isaiah and Jeremiah, God of Daniel and Ezekiel, God of Moses and Joshua, God of David. The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, your only Son, our Lord, begotten, not created. We give You praise, and now we ask for your blessing, that we might have ears to hear and understand and obey Your Word aright. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
We come this morning to Genesis chapter 5. First book in the Bible, the fifth chapter. It’s one of great things about preaching verse by verse, chapter by chapter, through the Bible, is that you don’t just get to pick the sections that are the obvious high points from Abraham almost sacrificing Isaac, Joseph and his amazing technicolor dream coat. No, you get all of it. You get the genealogies, you get the names, you get the lists, you get the numbers, and that’s important because all of Scripture is breathed out by God, and all of it is profitable for us.
And actually, to let you in on a little secret, as a preacher I kind of like the passages that don’t seem obvious on the face of it because I think, “I’m gonna learn something, maybe I can teach these people something that they haven’t learned before.” So I’m excited to dive in to this genealogy, the first of several in Genesis and many, many of them in the Bible.
Follow along as I read from Genesis 5.
“This is the book of the generations of Adam. When God created man, He made him in the likeness of God. Male and female He created them, and He blessed them and named them Man when they were created. When Adam had lived 130 years, he fathered a son in his own likeness, after his image, and named him Seth. The days of Adam after he fathered Seth were 800 years; and he had other sons and daughters. Thus all the days that Adam lived were 930 years, and he died.”
“When Seth had lived 105 years, he fathered Enosh. Seth lived after he fathered Enosh 807 years and had other sons and daughters. Thus all the days of Seth were 912 years, and he died.”
“When Enosh had lived 90 years, he fathered Kenan. Enosh lived after he fathered Kenan 815 years and had other sons and daughters. Thus all the days of Enosh were 905 years, and he died.”
“When Kenan had lived 70 years, he fathered Mahalalel. Kenan lived after he fathered Mahalalel 840 years and had other sons and daughters. Thus all the days of Kenan were 910 years, and he died.”
“When Mahalalel had lived 65 years, he fathered Jared. Mahalalel lived after he fathered Jared 830 years and had other sons and daughters. Thus all the days of Mahalalel were 895 years, and he died.”
“When Jared had lived 162 years, he fathered Enoch. Jared lived after he fathered Enoch 800 years and had other sons and daughters. Thus all the days of Jared were 962 years, and he died.”
“When Enoch had lived 65 years, he fathered Methuselah. Enoch walked with God after he fathered Methuselah 300 years and had other sons and daughters. Thus all the days of Enoch were 365 years. Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him.”
“When Methuselah had lived 187 years, he fathered Lamech. Methuselah lived after he fathered Lamech 782 years and had other sons and daughters. Thus all the days of Methuselah were 969 years, and he died.”
“When Lamech had lived 182 years, he fathered a son and called his name Noah, saying, “Out of the ground that the Lord has cursed, this one shall bring us relief from our work and from the painful toil of our hands.” Lamech lived after he fathered Noah 595 years and had other sons and daughters. Thus all the days of Lamech were 777 years, and he died.”
“After Noah was 500 years old, Noah fathered Shem, Ham, and Japheth.”
For most of us, genealogies are but an interesting curiosity. There’s all sorts of ways of tracking down your genealogy, or finding out your ancestry or your DNA or you may have some relative who’s done all the hard work of looking through baptismal records or government records or newspaper archives and trying to determine your family heritage.
I have a great uncle, or a great-great uncle’s who’s done a bunch of genealogical work on the DeYoungs and he’s traced it back all the way to the end of the 17th century in the Netherlands, and I have some of those documents, and they’re very interesting to see the names and when people got married, but it’s not usually revolutionary, life-changing. You may find that there’s some famous person or some infamous person, or you learn a little bit about when your family came over to this country, but for most of us, that’s about it.
And if we’re honest, we come to genealogies in the Bible and we think even less and expect even less. And so it’s hard for us to realize that for ancient people, for Bible people, a genealogy was so supreme historical, theological, and national significance. It’s how you understood where you were from. It’s how you saw the connection of God’s promises. It’s how you understood your identity as a nation, and very often, if you have the eyes to see and the ears to hear, it’s how God had very important theological information to communicate.
This is why there are dozens and dozens of genealogies in the Bible. God must have something to say to us that there are so many of them, and there are a few of them in Genesis. So we need to pay attention, we need to come to them with the sort of curiosity that ancient people would have, not perhaps the ho-hum, another list of names that we might have.
It’s sort of the difference often between men and women when it comes to finding out and communicating information about a new baby. I found this even with my babies. Send out a text or something, “The baby’s here,” and people say, “Details?” Oh, right. “It’s a girl, and here’s her name.” And someone will text back, “Well, do you have the weight and the length?” Oh, that’s right. People care about that sort of stuff.
And then if you’re like my wife, and I ever find out about somebody else having a baby and, she says, “Oh, that’s great. Did you ask how was the birth? How was the labor?” I don’t want to ask that. It’s like the mom thing, you ask that, you can get pictures, you can get all that. I just stay away from that.
But oftentimes the moms are very interested. When did the water break? How did it go? How long? Did you have this or that? All sorts of curious questions. And often the man is, “Baby, good, I’m tired.”
We ought to come to the genealogies in Genesis with more of that curiosity that a mom brings to birth and to life.
So let me give you, for starters, some basic parameters in thinking about biblical genealogies, and this will maybe help us try to understand wat might be going on here.
Genealogies in the Bible are often given with sevens or tens or multiples or sevens and tens. Remember in Genesis chapter 4, we have the line of Adam through Cain and it went to seven generations.
Here, it’s pretty easy to count, we have 10 generations. When you get to the genealogy later in chapter 11, which then connects the dots from Noah to Abram, that is going to have 10 generations. If you were to go to Ruth chapter 4 and trace out there they genealogy of David, it has 10 generations.
So there’s often sevens and tens, or multiples. So Lord willing, several weeks from now when we got to Genesis chapter 10, the nations descended from Noah, can count them up and there are 70, which is 7 times 10. In fact, 70 is a biblical number to represent the fullness of the nations.
Think about when Jesus sent out the disciples in the Gospels, the larger group of disciples, it said that He sent out 70 of them.
When you have the list of the nations in 1 Chronicles chapter 1, there are 70 nations.
Surely this is not by coincidence, that the authors are putting these together to give certain biblical numbers which would represent 7, 10, 7 times 10.
Jesus’ genealogy is probably the famous one in the Bible, in Matthew chapter 1. Which Andrew Peterson famously put to music and helps you memorize all of the Matthew begats. There are three sets of 14 names, again 14 being a multiple of 7.
If you look at Luke’s genealogy of Jesus, from Adam to Abraham, 21 generations. Abraham to David, 14. David to the exile, 21. The exile to Jesus, 21. Clearly there is something afoot.
This isn’t true in every single genealogy in Scripture, but obviously sevens and multiples of sevens and tens and multiples of tens are important to signify something about the genealogy.
Second just general characteristic, is to realize that our words father, son, fathered, begat, often have a more expansive meaning I biblical terminology. So if I’m to call somebody my son, it’s almost certainly my son, the son that was either adopted or a son that was born of my wife, this is my son. I wouldn’t speak of a cousin of a son, I wouldn’t speak of grandchildren as a son, that’s a grandson. It’s a son, and yet in Hebrew the words are more elastic.
For example, Laban is called the son of Nahor, Ben is the Hebrew word for “son.” Benjamin, beh-jamin, is the son of my right hand. But Nahor was actually his grandfather. It’s not that the Bible made a mistake, it just uses the word “ben” or “son” more loosely.
The Lord says to Jacob, in Genesis 28, “I am the God of your father Abraham.” Now we know that Abraham was actually Jacob’s grandfather, not his father, but it calls him his father. The Hebrew word is “ab,” think of Abraham, father of many nations, that’s the Hebrew word for father.
When Obed is born to Ruth and Boaz, it says “a son was born to Naomi.” Now it wasn’t really Naomi’s literal son, but the word is still used.
In Genesis 46, we see the word “son” can refer to sons, grandsons, to daughter and granddaughter. And throughout the Old Testament we see the word “ab.” It doesn’t just mean my literal father, but forefather, ancestor.
Begat, or fathered, can refer to an ancestral relationship. We see this in Genesis 46, Exodus 6, Numbers 26.
The other thing to note about biblical genealogies is that often they are not meant to be exhaustive. So sometimes they’re called “open” instead of “closed,” or telescoped, meaning that you’re just seeing part of a close-up version of the genealogy, but it’s not meaning to give every possible generation.
We know this to be the case if you compare Matthew 1 to the genealogy in 2 Chronicles. And we see that Mathew does not mean to give every single person in the lineage of Jesus. Again, he’s not making a mistake. He knows what he’s doing. He’s trying to craft it with those important biblical numbers.
We see the same thing. If you compare the priestly genealogy in Ezra 7 or 1 Chronicles 6. They don’t have the same number. The genealogy of the temple musicians in 1 Chronicles; they don’t have identical numbers.
Moses’ genealogy is often given from Levi to Kohath to Amram to Moses. Just four generations covering 350 years, yet if you look at the rest of the Old Testament, it’s pretty clear that those were heads of clans or tribes and there were many more generations than those literal four generations.
Sometimes, even, the Bible can use names of people speaking to each other who weren’t actually the people, but represented larger groups. Judges 1, verse 3: “And Judah said to Simeon, his brother.” Now if you know the history of the Bible, you know that by the time of the judges, Judah and Simeon, those sons of Jacob, are long, long dead. So this is not literally Judah or Simeon, and they’re not literal brothers, but it’s speaking of the clans, the tribes, talk to one another and they were ancestrally brothers.
All of that to say, as we look at the genealogies in Genesis, it’s possible that we do not have every generation mentioned here. That we’re not necessarily meant to add up all of the ages and then you would know with exactness when the earth was created.
Bishop Usher, centuries ago, famously calculated that the earth was created in 4004 B.C., taking this chronology, if you add up these dates here in Genesis 5 as 1656 years, from Adam to the flood, and then you add up other dates, he came up 4004.
Now that’s possible, but I don’t think we have to be tied to that number. That doesn’t remove us from the realm of inerrancy or understanding the Bible on its own terms. It’s just to say that when the Bible gives a genealogy, we don’t have to expect that it means to give us a comprehensive genealogy.
Now, that doesn’t mean that we can go from 4004 B.C. to billions of years, but on the order of thousands of years, it could be that we don’t have all of the dates here. And in fact, elsewhere in Scripture, where a summation is given, we’re often given that number, so Joseph’s family is calculated, or rather Jacob’s family, in Genesis 46, and then it adds up for us. Or Numbers 1, the number of the persons of the census of the tribes and it adds it up for us.
So the fact that we don’t have the numbers added up at least leaves open the possibility that we don’t have an exhaustive genealogy, but rather one that has been telescoped, has been stylized. No less true, but just in keeping with how biblical genealogies function. This is the view of many good, conservative evangelical scholars, B. B. Warfield, Charles Hodge, more recently John ___ who taught at RTS.
So as we come here, we leave open the possibility that it may not be a complete list, and yet we have to be honest that it certainly seems as if these numbers are tracking from one generation to the next to the next to the next. And that Adam, and Seth, and so on, are not just the names for clans, but are people that lived to extraordinary length of days and saw their children born at what seems to us be very exceedingly old age.
Seth was literally the son, the immediate offspring, of David [sic]. We know that from chapter 4, “Adam knew his wife again and she bore a son and called his name Seth.” So we know for Adam that Seth was literally their son, the next generation.
And we see the same at the end of the genealogy with Noah. He’s going to be in the boat with his three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
We also see some clues that the numbers, and if you read any of the commentaries, you’ll see that different editions, so this is the English Bible as working from the Hebrew, what’s called the Masoretic Text, but if you look from the Greek translation, they sometimes have different numbers, so it gets very confusing.
But I think we’re meant to look at these numbers as we have them in our English Bible from the Hebrew Bible, and see that there’s at least some numbers that are too much of a coincidence to be a coincidence.
Let me show you one. Methuselah. You know Methuselah, he’s that great Bible trivia, “Who’s the oldest person in the Bible? Who lived to be the oldest age?” Methuselah, 969 years old.
Well, it seems to be quite deliberate that we understand that Methuselah died either in the flood or before the flood, that none of these patriarchs in this rendering lived during the flood or after the flood.
So look at the math here. If you ever wondered, now, you tell your teacher, “When am I ever going to have to do mental math? I carry a calculator in my pocket. It’s called my phone.” Well, I’ll tell you what, during a sermon you have to do mental math, okay? Track with me.
Verse 25: So Methuselah lived 187 years. He fathered Lamech. Then he lived after he fathered Lamech 782 years.
So Lamech’s born, Methuselah lives 782 more years.
Now look at verse 28: When Lamech had lived 128 [sic] years, he fathered Noah.
So, very easy, you’ve got 782, you minus 182. So you can get this. That means Methuselah, after Noah was born, 782 minus 182 equals 600, Methuselah lived 600 more years after Noah was born.
You can look and see that Lamech lived 595 years, so Methuselah outlived Lamech.
Now when did the flood come? Well, if you turn the page to Genesis 7, verse 6, Noah was, there’s the number, 600 years old when the flood of waters came upon the earth.
So Methuselah, perhaps was of the wicked generation and he died in the flood or perhaps he died in that year before the flood came, but we can look at the numbers and see that none of the previous generations would have been alive of this line that is mentioned, except for Noah, his three sons, and then their wives.
How do we make sense of these extraordinarily long lives? Again, I think if someone were to make a case that what we have here in some instances are the names of family tribes and heads, that’s possible. It still seems to me, lacking a better explanation, that we simply say that these men lived to be very, very old.
Strange as it seems to us, perhaps there’s a hint, a hint of longer life before the flood and before facing the wrath of God in the flood, in a text like Isaiah 65:20. There Isaiah is looking forward to the age of the Messiah and he says that in the age of the Messiah, he who dies at a 100 will be thought a mere youth. So in that messianic age, a great age to come. Long life, you die at 100, and boy, you are just a wee little boy. So maybe that’s harkening back to some period here. Maybe the climate was different. Maybe God had not punished people as He would after the flood.
We will see after the flood that the ages are still very old, and into the 100s, and then later there is the psalmist who says by reason of strength, your 70 or 80 years, which is much more of what we’re used to.
It’s important, too, to realize there were other genealogies in the ancient world, and one of the most famous ones, all the commentators mention it, is a list of the Sumerian kings, and they have 10 kings listed there, and if you think these people are old, the Sumerian genealogy has the kings living anywhere from 6000 to 72,000 years old, so that makes the biblical record seem quite realistic.
All that to say I take the numbers and list at face value, but I’m open to the possibility that we may not have a complete list and God may not have meant to give us one.
Notice the definite pattern. Man lives for this many years, and then the man has a son. Then the man lives this many more years after the son, he has other children, and then you add those numbers together and that is the length of his days.
Interestingly, all of their ages are around 900; they’re in the 900s or just below, which may be a way of communicating that they lived to be nearly a millennia each. Except you notice two special numbers, Enoch lived to be 365, and Lamech lived to be 777. It’s not hard to see that those are unique numbers. Lamech, with three sevens, and Enoch, whose age is the number of days in a solar year.
The most important takeaway, or perhaps one of the important takeaways, is to realize that Genesis 1 through 11 connects with Genesis 12 through 50 as real history. Sometimes people talk about 1 through 11 as pre-history or it’s sort of in the realm of myth, it’s maybe not to be taken as literally as the rest of the book, but clearly the author of Genesis, Moses, does not give us that out, because we’re going to see that Adam, real person, connected all these real people to Noah and then are going to be connected to all these other real people to Abraham, who was a real person. There is no sense that when you go from chapter 12 backwards that somehow you’re just in the realm of myth and make-believe. These are real, historical persons who lived real lives, and we’re meant to see the connection from creation to fall to flood and after that to Abram.
What I want you to notice in our time remaining are the three persons who are singled out in this 10 person genealogy. Actually 10 generations and the last generation we have Shem, Ham, and Japheth, but there are three generations that are singled out, and they teach us what God means to communicate in Genesis 5.
So first look at Adam, verses 1 through 5. “This is the book of the generations of Adam.” There’s that word “toledoth,” translated generations. You know there are 10 of these toledoth sections, and here we have the toledoth of Adam. It’s called the book of the generation of Adam. So book, a scroll, some sort of written document. Moses is pulling from some written source that catalogued the descendants of Adam.
There’s no problem in using other sources under the inspiration of the Scripture. We know that Luke sought out a careful record of all of these things and looked at other documents, and so there seems to be some book of the generations of Adam.
Notice there is a deliberate echo of Genesis chapter 1. Remember the famous words, chapter 1:27: “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him, male and female He created them, and God blessed them and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply.'” It’s obviously an echo of Genesis 1. It’s as if to say we’ve traced out the line of Cain after the murder of Abel, and now we’re coming to the promised line of the woman, the line of Seth, and as if to say, God is doing His creative work all over again. It’s not all lost.
In fact, you notice male and female He created them, just like Genesis 1. He blessed them, just like the creation mandate said in Genesis 1:28. He named them man, adam, the Hebrew word ha-adam, the man, is the proper name for the man, Adam. It’s the same Hebrew word, adam simply means man. And He gives the name to male and female, man. So there is in Hebrew thinking a male adam and a female adam.
The human race has historically been called “man” or “mankind,” not out of some chauvinistic insistence that men are the only people that matter in the world, but because God has given to it that name of the human race, male and female, named them man when they were created.
And look very explicitly in verse 3: He fathered a son in his likeness after his image. So we see here, even on the other side of the fall, and the curse, and the murder of Abel, and the deterioration of the line of Cain, that the image of God lives on, the blessing of God has not been extinguished.
It’s striking that the most significant thing recorded about most of these men, almost the only thing recorded about each of these men, is that they had a child, they had a son and they had sons and daughters.
Now I always need to hasten to add that I understand that there are persons who wish they were married and aren’t married, there are persons who are married who wanted to have children and were unable to have children, so it’s not some hierarchy of value, it’s not what God may have for each of us, but insofar as we are able to be married and God grants to us that blessing of children, there are far things more significant in this life. If you could say anything about each of these men that was important, it was that they had a child. They continued the line of God. Another image-bearer was born. The image of God was not all lost. Adam was made in the image, he had Seth, there is another image-bearer in the world.
Remember I said the list of the Sumerian kings was about kings, important people. We don’t know anything about these men, very little. That they were kings, that they were great rulers. We don’t even hear about their civilizational accomplishments. Remember, we had that from the line of Cain, with Jabal, Jubal, Tubal, and their work in the arts and metal work and agriculture and all of their cultural achievements. We don’t have that here. What we have is that the line of God’s promise and blessing continues.
There was a New Yorker article a number of years ago entitled “The Case Against Kids: Is Procreation Immoral?” I’m hoping no. I don’t have to hope. I know my Bible to know it’s no.
There’s a new book by Philip Jenkins called Fertility and Faith: The Demographic Revolution and the Transformation of World Religions, where he looks at the declining fertility rate in most everywhere in the world outside of Africa and how this has profound ramifications for how religion is shaped. I mean, you can go and you can determine religiosity in a country based on its fertility rate. You can go almost county by county and you can just about guess how people vote depending on fertility rates. And what he’s looking at is he’s not prescribing or saying what’s good or bad in this writing, he’s writing more from a sociologist’s perspective, but he is simply saying, “We need to be aware of how the world will change and is being changed by the fact that in almost every country, people are no longer having very many children.”
And so far from the alarm of a population boom, now demographers are warning of a population bust, that will probably peak at 9, maybe 10 billion and then decline. In most parts, many countries in the world already populations are in decline. Jenkins says for the foreseeable future, for several decades at least, most of the non-African world does face the prospect of a contracting and steeply aging population.
To have a child as the Lord grants is an act of hope, is an act of promise and blessing in the world.
So we see the most noteworthy contribution each one made was simply and gloriously to pass along the image of God, to see another generation who could rise up and worship the name of the Lord our God.
I want you to notice the second person in this generation, whose generation is singled out, and that’s Enoch. Now what have we seen with the seventh? Remember the seventh in the line that goes through Cain was Lamech. Different Lamech than the one here. That was the Lamech who was the first polygamist, who boasts of going to kill the man who injured him, so in other words we have the seventh in the line of Cain is the very pinnacle of evil.
Now we have the seventh in the line that goes through Seth and we’re going to see something far different.
What have we heard as the recurring refrain in Genesis 5? “Thus all the days that Adam lived were 930 years and he died… All the days of Seth, and he died… Thus all the days of Enosh, and he died… Thus all the days of Kenan, and he died… Thus all the days of Mahalalel, and he died… Thus al the days of Jared, and he died.”
And then you come to verse 23: “Thus all the days of Enoch were 365,” and just when you expect it to say “and he died,” he doesn’t die. “Enoch walked with God and he was not, for God took him.”
The refrain throughout the chapter has been “he died, he died.” We have just a running list of obituaries, everyone died. This is not the way it’s supposed to be. This is Romans 5:17: Death reigning through one man. The thing that we see for certain with every generation is it ends in death. No access to the tree of life. In fact, that’s maybe one of the reasons why we have such long lifespans. It’s as if to say, you can live a millennium just about, and you won’t live forever.
Think how long ago was 969 years. We can’t even fathom all of the history that’s taken place there. And you wonder if the descendants of Adam said “I’m not sure if the… Is the curse really a thing? You know, we really will die?” And Adam had his 100th birthday, and 200, and 300, 400… 930 years old. They may have thought, “I don’t know, maybe unless it’s murder, maybe we just keep on going. This ain’t so bad.”
And then he died. And his son died, and his son died.
And then you have Enoch. A man who did not experience death.
So death does not have to have the last word. Enoch found life amid the curse of death. Perhaps the door is open to eat a meal, not from the tree of life, if that’s barred shut, but perhaps there is another meal we could eat that may give us eternal life. Enoch walked with God.
You notice the only other person of these 10 generations in chapter 5 whose death is not mentioned? That’s Noah. Now he’s not going to be translated to heaven like Enoch was, but it’s intentional that his death is not mentioned. Noah, look at chapter 6, verse 9, a righteous man, blameless in his generation, Noah walked with God, just like Enoch.
What does God tell Abram in Genesis 17 when He institutes the covenant of circumcision? He begins by saying, walk before Me.
So as God’s people would have read this or heard Genesis 5 read to them, you can just hear the refrain, “and he died, and he died, and he died, and he died,” and then Enoch. And maybe the children afterwards said, “Mommy, Daddy, what happened to Enoch?” “Well, he didn’t die.” “Really? How come he didn’t die?” “Well, he walked with God.” “Mommy, Daddy, is it possible that like Enoch I could live with God forever?” “Well, if we walk with God.”
Of course, we don’t have the promise or the likelihood that we’re going to be just *poofed* and taken up to heaven. We have Enoch, we have Elijah, that’s two people in the whole Bible. But we do have his hope.
What does it mean when you walk with God? Some of you, maybe you walk with your spouse every day or you have a friend and you walk every morning. What do you do if you walk with someone every day? You walk because you’re friends, because you like to be together, you like to spend time together, you want to be in each other’s company.
And so Enoch walked with God. He was, he was close to God. He wanted to be with God. He wanted to spend time with God. He was moving in the same direction with God.
One commentator says it’s easy to understand how we may practically walk with God, it is to open to Him all our purposes and hopes, to seek His judgment on our schemes of life an idea of happiness. It is to be on thoroughly friendly terms with God.
I like that. Are you on thoroughly friendly terms with God?
Enoch walked with God and he was not. In the midst of all this death, here is the ray of hope. Death may not be the final answer. Death does not have to be the last chapter in the story of your life. Death is not the last chapter in the story of the world. There’s the hope of Enoch.
And then finally, quickly, you see Noah. Remember Lamech in the line of Cain was looking for revenge. Lamech in the line of Seth is looking for relief. Verse 29: “He called his name Noah, saying out of the ground that the Lord has cursed, this one shall bring us relief.” Again, explicitly echoing the language of Genesis 3: The ground that was cursed, and Lamech says, “But here’s a son. I’m not sure how, I don’t know exactly what’s happening, but he’s going to give us some relief, some comfort from the curse.”
The Hebrew word noach sounds like rest, the word neham is comfort or relief, and so we can see the connection to Noah.
Death had invaded the human family, but there are evidences of grace. There’s life, blessing, there are image-bearer, there are sons and daughters, there’s rest, there’s comfort, there’s the hope of relief. The prospect of maybe living forever if you walk with God.
So here’s what I want to leave you with, is this question. How are you looking at the world? Or let’s personalize it. How are you looking at your own life?
One way is to look at the world and say, you know, we live in evil days. We live with this arc of civilizational decay. It’s not hard to find bad news, and the specter of death, and you fear the flood of God’s judgment on the horizon. If that’s how you’re looking at the world, you would have good reason to look at the world that way. Just as they would have had good reason to look at the world that way: Decay, evil, death, judgment. That’s the world of Genesis 5, and some of you look at the world that way.
And it’s true. But it’s not the only truth. And it’s not the most important truth and it’s not the most lasting truth. Because there’s another way to look at the world, and there’s another way to look at your life. Just like there was another way to look at Genesis 5.
Yes, he died, he died, he died. But in the midst of it, there’s still birth, there’s life, there’s a God, there’s relief, and there’s hope that death does not have to get the last word.
So sometimes genealogies have much more than meets the eye, and hope for life in the midst of death.
Let’s pray. Gracious heavenly Father, we thank You for Your Word. It is so easy to be discouraged. It is so easy to look and to see only evil, only wickedness, only death, only discouragement, and those things are true, they are there to see. But give us eyes of faith, to see what matters even more, to see what will outlast all that is evil and sad, to see the life that goes forever and ever. Strengthen us, we pray. In Jesus’ name. Amen.