1-23-23 From Adam to Noah

This week’s reading: Genesis 5:1— 6:22

Hi Friends,

     What an adventure the Bible is. It is filled with good guys and bad guys. Rescue missions and sad defeats. But in all of the history of mankind one thing we can be absolutely sure about is that God is both Love and Justice. As much as some in this current culture would like to have it, we cannot only have God be Love without Him also being the God of Justice. If God allowed humans to get away with their sin, that would be as far away from love as it could possibly be. And so we begin today reading about how devastating the sinfulness of man can be, that would God have to wipe out all humanity except one little family. It broke God’s heart to see how completely humans had left Him and His Love behind, and so this God of Love and Justice had to act. We are in Genesis chapters 5 and 6 today. Listen to these heartbreaking words:

“The Lord saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. The Lord was grieved that he had made man on earth, and his heart was filled with pain. So the Lord said, ‘I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth— men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air— for I am grieved that I have made them.’” Gen 6:5-7 NIV

     Let’s start with the lineage. For the Israelites, knowing their past, from which tribe they descended, was a very important thing. It determined their home, their position and their heredity. This is why throughout the Old Testament, we find many verses devoted to showing the ancestry of each person. Of course, we also find a long list of the line of Jesus in both the Gospel of Matthew and Luke. Matthew traces the birth of Jesus from Abraham to David then David to the exile to Babylon, then finishes up with the return from exile all the way to Joseph, the husband of Mary. This follows the lineage of the Kings of Israel and Judah. Luke, on the other hand, follows the Human ancestry of Jesus through Mary all the way back to Adam, the son of God. Our heritage is important. It teaches us who we are and why we might act the way we do. With that in mind, let us never forget that we all come from the original Parents, Adam and Eve, and so we all have inherited this fallen, sinful nature that is bent away from God and towards MMI. And so it should not surprise us when we sin…although it certainly is NO excuse to sin, as if we needed one. Now that we do know Jesus, we can choose to live a life like He did, fully and freely obedient to the Father’s Will vs our own. Having said all that, here we are with the first genealogy of the Bible. We read that Adam lived and had many sons and daughters, but then at the ripe old age of 930, he died. Then we move on to Seth, the third most important son of Adam who was born after Cain killed his brother Abel. This Seth followed God like Adam and Abel did; not perfectly, again none of us ever will, but it seems his heart longed to follow and serve God. Seth also lived and had many sons and daughters, but then at 912 years old, he died. The lineage goes on to say pretty much the same about all these men, except one. More on him in a minute. The point I want to make here is that, while many like to argue about the age of these men in this lineage, the whole point is their death, not how old they were when they died. You see, death was never part of God’s original plan, and so Moses, the writer of Genesis, emphasizes this sad reality of sin in this genealogy. Sin always pulls humans away from God, Who is the Giver of Life. Apart from Him, we can still move and breathe, but we will not be filled with the life God desires us to live. One filled with peace and joy. One overflowing with love and unity. One overcome with all the goodness that God created this world to be. We might be animated, but apart from God, we are all dead inside. We lean on MMI which moves us away from truly loving God and others. After all, if we are more occupied with getting love and all the other pleasures of this world for ourselves, how can we love God and others properly? We cannot. And so this life never seems fulfilling for long when we attempt to live apart from God’s Love and Grace. Death is not only having a lifeless body, which we all will experience some day, even if it takes 930 years, but death is having a lifeless life, and this began the moment Adam and Eve chose to go their own way and disobeyed God’s one rule. This, my Friends, is our lineage and our reality.

     Only God truly knows. This lineage traces Adam’s children all the way to Noah. But before we get to this righteous and blameless man, let’s stop a moment to mention some very curious verses that are interesting to think about. First we have that one exception to the reality that death would come to every human because of sin. (There is actually one other human who did not die either, he is the great prophet Elijah, but I am referring here only to this ancestry in Genesis 5. See 2Ki 2:11) In the seventh generation from Adam, a son named Enoch was born. Here we have someone who was so sold out for living the godly life, walking so intimately with God, that God did not allow him to experience death. He lived 365 years, also having many sons and daughters, but then “God took him away.” (Gen 5:24) So great was his Faith that the Book of Hebrews places Enoch in the great “Hall of Faith” as it says, “By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death: ‘He could not be found, because God had taken him away.’ For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God.” (Heb 11:5) Never experiencing death! Amazing! Second we have the issue about the actual age of the first couple of generations of humans. We must learn to be humble and gracious to those who may not see eye to eye with us about such mysterious Biblical issues…but it is fun to speculate. I do not see any conflict with Adam living until 930 years old because I’m sure the planet was so much purer back then. Pollution was still not the issue it is today, so the air, the water supply and the soil where foods were produced and from which animals ate, were not toxic to our health like they are today. This could easily explain why the early humans could live well into their 100’s of 100’s of years. Lastly, we have Genesis chapter 6 that begins with some lines that have caused all sorts of speculation and sadly, some arguments too. Listen to these “controversial” verses: “When men began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose.” (Gen 6:1-2) So the question, of course, is who are these “sons of God”? There have been three explanations that seem to be the major theories. As a Bible nerd, even though I realize I am not going to understand it all this side of Heaven, I do want to learn as much as I can, so if you are like me, let’s take a quick look at each. So #1: some think that the “sons of God” is talking about some great heroes of the past who were leaders and men of high positions who took on harems. In other words, tyrant kings who thought they could do whatever and have whoever they pleased. #2: some believe that the “sons of God” refers to angelic beings. These are fallen angels who saw what God had created, chose to leave there place in Heaven, and came down to earth in some kind of human form to have relations with these “beautiful” daughters of men. In addition to simply wanting whoever they wanted for their own lustful reasons, these fallen angels also potentially could have wanted to pollute the line of mankind to stop the Messiah from coming to save humanity. Remember God had already promised that the Seed of Eve would come to crush the head of the snake, to defeat Satan and his rebellion, and they may have been trying to stop this from happening. Or #3 some say that these “sons of God” are the sons of Seth, who represent the godly line of humans. After Cain killed Abel, as I mentioned above, Seth becomes the next son of Adam who followed God with all his heart. So the idea is that, the sons of Seth, the godly line, were attracted to the daughters of Cain, the ungodly line, and intermarried with them. Since these women were not raised to obey or follow God, the children that were born in these marriages corrupted humanity further by producing humans that also turned away from God. This could lead to God seeing all the corruption and wanting to mete out justice. Interesting, right? Anyway, while it may be amusing to wonder about these mysterious events, the important point I want to make is that, whichever theory is correct, none of them change our Christian Faith. None of these opinions will get us into, or keep us out of Heaven, because it is only Faith in the saving work of Jesus through which Salvation is given to us. We must be humble and not allow these theories…notice I keep saying theories because the word “theory” is not fact or truth, it is merely some human’s opinion…we must not allow these theories to cause division in the Church, but learn to speculate with respect and leave those details to God. Again, only God truly knows.

     The Flood. What is clear is that God had had enough with these evil, corrupted, selfish humans and He planned to do something about it. God says that, “every inclination of the thoughts of [man’s] heart was only evil all the time.” (Gen 6:5) God knows our heart, and as I like to say, the heart of the matter is always a matter of the heart. When we choose to live our life all on our own, when we choose to decide for ourselves what is good and what is evil, when we choose to do whatever we want, whenever we want, however we want…my Friends, when we choose to be our own god, evil, sin and death are the only results. And this is exactly what had happened in those days, and sadly, in these days too. But God takes note of Noah. The Bible calls him “…a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God.” (Gen 6:9) Noah stood out from the rest of all humanity, literally! No one else followed God at that time, except Noah. Have you ever thought this world just didn’t understand your love for the Creator? Have you ever felt like you were the only one seeking God? Have you ever wanted to shake people to help them see how real and vital walking with God every day of their lives is? Well, then you understand Noah. But here’s the thing: when we really seek to walk with God, our hearts hurt for those who do not choose to walk with Him. Either they have never heard of God or been told that God wants to have a real relationship with them. Or they know “about” God, but are not connected with Him, and so, don’t know Him personally. Or they have heard about God, but have no time for Him in their lives. Whatever the reason, the lost should pull our heartstrings to share our Faith with them. Not in a “hit you over the head with my Bible” kind of way. But patiently… gracefully… lovingly. This is a maturity thing. I know when I first came to Christ and He changed my heart and destiny, I just wanted everyone to fall to their knees and receive Jesus also. While my heart was in the right place, my attitude and actions needed a whole lot of growing up in order to be effective. But of course, what’s even more important than our words, is our life. You know the saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words”? When others actually see us living the godly life, it will pique their interest. So when we encounter hardships, but we continue to trust God and stay peaceful and joyful instead of losing our minds? Yeah, this speaks volumes to the heart of those who do not yet know God for themselves. And as we learn here with Noah, we have to be able to accept that, some people will simply never want God in their lives. “Their lives” is still theirs, and so they too will one day have to face the very sad destruction of their world as we will see here in this account. If you have never watched a Sight and Sound production, oh I so highly recommend it! They have a show about Noah that helps us understand the struggle Noah and his family must have experienced. (you can pay to watch the play here in this link) It is heartbreaking watching the scene of when God safely closes Noah and his family in the ark, because of all the others who are left outside. This should be how our hearts ache for those who are lost as well. We should flood Heaven with our tears in the hopes of God saving some along the way. 

     The Ark. God tells Noah to build an Ark so that He can save Noah and those who belong to him. God gives Noah specific directions, even measurements of the size and shape of this Ark. It takes Noah 100 years to finish the immense project, and I am sure he preached to those around him the entire time. 100 years! And no one believed Noah. No one repented. No one chose to humble themselves and follow the God of Noah. No one. Next week we will see that only eight people go into that Ark. The rest, including the animals, creeping things and birds that were not in the Ark, all die. My Friends, it is a very serious thing not to choose to follow our Creator God, a very serious thing indeed. Literally a life or death decision that way too many people will not make. And not making a choice IS a choice. Please note that while God grieved the sinfulness of mankind, we never hear that He grieves the length He had to go to in order to save us. This should reveal the depth of the Love of God towards us selfish and wicked humans. This Ark is, of course, symbolic for Jesus. It is only those who choose to surrender to God’s Grace, who choose to place their Faith in Jesus, who receive the Holy Spirit and Eternal Life, that enter into this covenant relationship that bring Salvation to us. In Jesus, we are carried safely to Heaven, even if “the waters” here on earth are a bit rocky. By God’s Grace, once we do choose to trust Him, we are locked in Christ and it is God’s job, and pleasure, to protect us until our time here is done, and we get to walk those streets of gold. In the meantime, let’s find ways to love others into God’s open and waiting arms. It is so wonderful that the Bible says, “Noah did everything just as God commanded him.” (Gen 6:22) May this be said of us as well. Every believer and follower is meant to bring glory to God by growing in Christ to reflect Him, more and more. And in this way, we might bring some more souls into God’s Ark of Salvation too. This is a huge part of the Abundant Life and it is certainly how I want to live the rest of my days on earth. How about you? Then won’t you join me?

     Until we meet again, keep lifting your eyes to God, He’s closer than you think.

<>< Peace, Diane