When time came to spend an entire week studying and meditating on the fifth chapter of Genesis, I really dreaded it. I thought, what will I gain from such a chapter? It’s just a bunch of names. By the end of the week and following our group discussion as fellow sisters on this journey, I was actually blown away by this unassuming chapter. I know God got a good chuckle out of it all. So, here’s a couple of gems from Genesis 5:
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.Genesis 5:3-5 ESV Emphasis mine.
This chapter gives us a list of ten men, who each fathered a son, lived, and died—except for Enoch, “who walked with God, and he was not, for God took him” (verse 24).
The death of these men is a reminder of the consequences of sin.
Lived, fathered, died…it was like a broken record in this chapter, but with the repetition, a lesson was ingrained in my mind, as I trust it was in those of the Israelites in the time of Moses: We will all die. Life is to be lived, children are to be born, but death will come to us all. So, why do we live like this world goes on forever? Why do we live without counting our days?
For all our days pass away under your wrath; we bring our years to an end like a sigh. The years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty; yet their span is but toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away. Who considers the power of your anger, and your wrath according to the fear of you? So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.Psalm 90:9-12
We will never see the number of years the men in this chapter knew. This is pre-flood. Sin had not yet ramped up to the point where God regretted his decision to make man. I cannot imagine living five or six hundred years on this earth: I wouldn’t want to. I’m content in knowing my days here are limited, because I know the place of unlimited years is far better.
Fathering children in our image has consequences.
In verse one of chapter five we read: “When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God.” The likeness of God is perfect. Man was perfect for a time. That changes in verse three: “When Adam had lived 130 years, he fathered a son in his own likeness, after his image.” Now, as man fathers son, imperfection permeates each new life, and each life is met with death.
Enoch shows us there are exceptions along the way.
Just as we will see in the lives of Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, and others in Scripture, Enoch breaks the rhythm of what we could call the monotonous life by a simple act—Walking with God. He still fathered a son and other sons and daughters, but his end was different.
What does it look like to walk with God?
By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God. And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.Hebrews 11:5-6
A person who walks with God is one who has faith that God exists and pleases him by living a righteous life, as Noah also lived. (See Genesis 6:9).
By grace we too can walk with God.
Prior to the death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ Jesus, those who walked with God, living a righteous life that pleased him to the extent that Enoch did, were few and far between. They had a lot working against them. We’ll think about that more with what Noah faced in the next chapter. However, by the grace we receive through faith in Christ, we too are given the ability to walk in a way that pleases God. We are now like Enoch in another way—Death has no hold on us. Yes, we too might die in this life, but death does not hold us, because sin has not hold on our souls.
Are you numbering your days, not in fear but in hope? May the Lord give us wisdom and grace to walk on this earth in a manner that both pleases him and gives him glory before others. Live. Make families. Die…but not without hope.
Grace and Peace