Summary: God saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that we continually had evil intentions. It that your perception of us humans?
Before we get into the main text of our message today I want to just spend a little time in Genesis five and pull out some important highlights. I would like you to notice that as this lineage is listed, everyone died after a life of around 8 or 9 hundred years, except for one man, Enoch.
The narrative breaks pattern with Enoch and says he walked with God and then he was no more, because God took him away at the young age of 365 years. It is significant that Enoch didn’t see death and lived about a third as long as most men on this list. Can you think of another person who only lived about a third of a lifespan and didn’t see death?
There seems to be a link between walking with God, having a shorter lifespan, and not seeing death. I don’t think we necessarily need to see an early death of a Christian as a tragedy, it could in fact be a blessing that allows them to go home early. If truly walking with God includes suffering, then perhaps, being brought home early is actually a reward. Ok, let’s get back to Noah and look specifically at His lineage.
I. Noah’s Lineage (vv 1-4)
Noah’s father was Lamech who lived 777 years. This is not insignificant. First of all two chapters earlier, we read of another Lamech who was evil, saying that his revenge would be seventy sevenfold. An interesting point of contact with his namesake, all these sevens.
The number 7 in Hebrew also signifies completeness, and these three sevens together imply that Lamech had a very complete life, highlited by the birth of Noah, who God would use to save life on earth. Lamech even prophesied about his son saying, “He will comfort us in the labour and painful toil of our hands caused by the ground the Lord has cursed”. Noah’s name means rest or comfort.
Now in chapter 6 we read about the flood and Noah’s family, including his sons Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
Man is increasing in numbers on earth and we see an interesting play on words here as daughters were born to men, and the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful, so they chose any of them they wanted to marry. When we read this we wonder two things, is there a difference between these men and the sons of God? It seems clear that God is making a distinction here, and in verse 3 God expresses unhappiness about these marriages, why?
First of all some have suggested that the sons of God are actually fallen angels marrying human women. This has been proven to be a very weak interpretation.
The most likely interpretation of this is that the godly line of Seth was intermarrying with the ungodly daughters of Cain, the Canaanites. This is something we will see for centuries in spite of God’s open disapproval.
Remember later on God instructs the Israelites, God’s chosen people, to completely wipe out the Canaanites (the line of Cain) when they entered the Promised Land of Canaan. They didn’t however, and the Canaanites were constantly bringing sinful, sexually perverted spiritual practices into the lives of God’s people. This seems already to be what God is against, and he punishes humanity by decreasing their lifespan to about what it is now. This chronic sexual sin is why we only live the length of life we do now.
The Nephalim are also mentioned. This word means giants and fallen ones, and they are also Canaanites. Again the son’s of God are having children with them, and these children are called the men of renown and heroes of old. These are strong mighty warriors. If you remember in Numbers 13 the spies are sent into Canaan and they return saying “we can’t attack these people because they are huge and strong” (the Nephalim) and likened them to the ancient men of renown mentioned here in Genesis.
So here already in Genesis God is giving us information about why the Canaanites were such a problem later on when Israel returned from Egypt. These were no godly people, but were very violent and sexually immoral people from the cursed line of Cain. This whole thing is the beginning of the unending battle between good and evil, and the people of God versus the people of Satan. Between those who are blessed and those who are cursed. This conflict continues today with violence and sexual immorality still being the primary sins.
This is just another reason why it is so important to really understand the book of Genesis as a foundation for the rest of the Bible, and even to understand that what is happening in the world today is nothing new. So then in verse 5: