Notice the pattern that is repeated throughout chapter 5 of Genesis, with one exception. “When A had lived X years, he fathered B. A then lived X-years and had other sons and daughters. Thus all of his years were X, and he died.” Several things emerge in this pattern.
First, men and women lived a long time before the flood, an average of 900 years! Some believe there was a change in the earth’s cosmology and man’s physiology after the flood. But remember what we said about Cain’s mark and why we don’t need to waste time trying to figure it out? Same here in trying to explain with any authority why people lived so long then. No. One. Knows.
Second, these men all had children. That was normative in God’s design. That does not mean everyone can have children! But it is the normative pattern for marriage and should not be rejected by followers of Christ who simply don’t want to be bothered and prefer to be DINKS. Double-income, no kids.
Third, everyone dies. The statistic is nearly 100%, and as far as I know, no one since Elijah has been translated into heaven without death. Enoch and Elijah are the only ones. That’s it. Poor Lazarus had to die twice, but I am sure he and his sisters were happy with that. But the rest of us, unless Jesus comes back, will walk through that door of death once. And! Because of Christ, death has no sting and the grave has no victory.
As we have seen, Enoch was the exception to the formula that is repeated over and over. And we really don’t know much about these other men. Enosh was the first one whose generation began to call on the name of the Lord, to proclaim His goodness to all who would listen. And Enosh had Kenan. Kenan, as far as we know, built a football stadium where the boys in the best shade of blue play. No! But Kenan had Mahalalel, whose name means “praise God.” Mahalalel had Jared, who opened a jewelry store. Nope. Jared had Enoch. More on him in a few. Enoch had a son named Methuselah, who is famous for the simile, “old as…” And Methuselah means “man of a dart.” Don’t try to figure that one out, either. No. One. Knows. But he did hit the bullseye in the longevity game, living just 31 years shy of a THOUSAND. A millennium. 969 years, and it is quite possible to conclude from the numbers that Methuselah died in the year of the flood. Methuselah had Lamech, and Lamech had Noah. More on that in a few.
Verse 22, “Enoch walked with God after he fathered Methuselah 300 years and had other sons and daughters.” Verse 23, Enoch lived 365 years. Only the good die young, as they say. But wait, Enoch did not die. Verse 24, “Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him.” Twice we are told that Enoch walked with God. These other men knew God and fathered children who knew God and lived a long time in God on the earth, but Enoch walked with God. It is as though the writer is saying, This was life to Enoch. He enjoyed an ongoing intimacy with God for 300 years and lived to please God. We know this because Enoch made it into the hall of faith. Hebrews 11:5, “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.” That is followed by, “And without faith it is impossible to please him…
Enoch walked with God on earth. And in heaven! Luci Shaw’s poem, Enoch, goes like this:
crossed the gap
he changed his pace
Genesis 6 tells us that Noah also walked with God, and we know how God used him. But we should also know that we are called to obedience, a long walk in the same direction, to borrow from Eugene Peterson. Paul wrote, “Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.” (Colossians 2:6-7) What a great passage to meditate on and it occurs to me that a healing balm for anxiety and depression is found in this simple command to walk in Christ and abound in thanksgiving. John Stonestreet recently referred to research that suggests exercising gratitude leads to better sleep, improved interpersonal relationships, better stress and hormonal regulation, and even reduced physical pain. What should we do, then?
Walk with Christ day by day, abounding in thanksgiving in every way.