We get to look at the generations from Adam to Noah. This is not the first “begats” in the bible but it is the first for the line of redemption. We saw a short bit of Cain’s line yesterday.
I’m going to come right out and admit that I don’t enjoy reading genealogy. I’ve never been one to trace my lineage. I don’t know anyone in my family tree beyond my mother and father’s brothers and sisters. I know a few of their children but then everything drops off. Call me self-centered. I just have never found myself drawn to looking for other “leaves” on my “family tree.”
God has a purpose for sharing this information with us though. He wants to establish an unbreakable chain from the “first Adam” to the “second Adam.” God gave Adam and Eve a promise that their descendent would put the serpent in its rightful place; down and OUT! So He takes the time to set the stage for this upcoming battle. I love how He never loses sight of His purpose from beginning to end.
One time, while studying this passage I made a spreadsheet of all these people and their ages. I found some interesting things along the way. Here is a link to my spreadsheet so you can see a it all laid out. Looking at it now, I wish God would have included the ages for Cain’s descendants too so I could see who was alive when in his line. I found a GREAT resource online for tracing the genealogy and history too. It is Amazing Bible Timeline.
The first thing I noticed is how many generations got to actually meet and talk with Adam. Noah was the first one not to have had this privilege. Noah’s father, Lamech was 56 when Adam died. Lamech didn’t have Noah until he was 182 years old. Imagine the stories told at Adam’s knee! The first man. The man who was able to speak with God on a face to face basis every evening in the Garden. The man who could give a firsthand account of what was really lost through sin. The man who shared how to approach God now from being taught by Him personally.
Was Adam always looking back with longing? Was he broken by his sin continually? Or did he “pull himself up by his bootstraps” and move on? Did he become bitter or better? After Abel’s death and Cain’s flight, how did our first couple cope? We aren’t told at what age they had Cain and Abel. How many years were there between their loss and Seth’s birth? How many other children did they have?
The second thing I noticed was that Adam did not live to see Enoch’s departure from this world. Did he meet him again on the other side of death? Enoch walked with God so closely that, one day, he just wasn’t in this life anymore. God took him out before death. Noah never met him either. He was already with God before Noah was born, but ALL the others mentioned in this genealogy spent some time with him. I wonder how his relationship with God impacted their lives. Did his walk inspire others to do the same? Were some jealous of his focus on God instead of them? I don’t believe that he neglected his family in favor of God, like David did in favor of his kingdom. I don’t think God would have rewarded that kind of behavior. But I wasn’t there and I’m not God so I can’t say for sure how he lived the rest of his life.
The third thing I noticed is that Shem, Ham and Japheth only had three generations of this family line to learn from. Noah waited until he was 500 years old before having the first of these three boys. We aren’t told how old he was for each but we do know that they weren’t triplets. The account of the flood gives us ages for Shem and Japheth in relation to the ark. They didn’t have Adam to share his stories, or Enoch who was so close to God that one day he just kept on walking right into God’s eternity, but they had a father that was the closest man to God alive at that time. I’m certain he taught them his love for God right along with the carpentry skills necessary for helping build God’s ark. I wonder how old they were when Noah started this building process. Did they always grow up with this structure in their back yard or did they learn of the plans, right after dad did, when they were older? How did they take to Noah’s prediction for the future? Did they think he was crazy? Did they “go along to get along”? Or did they believe everything right along with him?
The final thing I noticed is that Methuselah’s lifespan takes him right up to the flood. Did he support Noah in his task or try and sway him from this “foolish idea”? Did he die before or after the door was shut? Noah’s father died five years before the flood, but Methuselah lived on. Did God wait until the day after Methuselah died to tell Noah and his family to enter the ark? It would have been hard enough leaving your brothers and sisters behind to face the flood. I can’t imagine leaving my grandfather to this fate! Did Noah REALLY understand the death toll that was to come? Did he try and persuade others to turn to God before it was too late? Or did he stay focused on the task God gave him to do and lose himself in his work?
I wish the rest of the genealogy in the bible also provided ages so I could set up a more complete representation. Maybe I am a genealogy buff after all, but just a biblically focused one.
One thing from our reading that I didn’t really notice before was what Lamech said about Noah at his birth. “Out of the ground the Lord has cursed, this one shall bring us relief from our work and from the painful toil of our hands” (verse 29). So Lamech knew there was something special about his son. He also apparently had a close enough relationship with God to be given this insight. But did he have any clue what that “relief” would be? Yes, ALL mankind got a “rest” the day the rain came but work never ceased. Noah and his family worked to care for the animals while on the ark and worked to rebuild once they set foot on dry land again. I wonder exactly what it was that Lamech saw.
Father God, thank You that You never lost sight of Your promise. Thank You for never fully giving up on us and starting again from scratch. We earned it on MORE than one occasion, but You kept right on loving us instead.
I know I’m getting ahead of myself but I can’t imagine the building process of the ark, KNOWING that your family wasn’t going to be included onboard. How did Methuselah and Lamech take the news? Did Noah have brothers and sisters he was close to? How did the building process go? Did dad and grandpa join in the construction meetings? How did God’s information about who the inhabitants of the ark would be go over with dad and grandpa? Did they recognize Noah’s dedication to God? Did they share it? I have SO MANY questions! I know, wait for “bench time.” For today the genealogy is enough. Thank You for inspiring me to look a little deeper.