Genesis (12) (The Godly Line)
Text: Genesis 5:1-32
By: Ken McKinley
Go ahead and open your Bibles to the Book of Genesis, as we’re going to be continuing on with our study of this great book of the Bible. Genesis chapter five; and as you’re turning there I’ll go ahead and recap what we’ve covered so far. In chapter 1 we talked about the six days of creation and the creation ordinances of marriage, labor, and the Sabbath. In chapter two we saw God’s blessings to mankind and the covenant of works established. In chapter three we talked about the saddest moment in all of human history, when Adam and Eve fell, and we learned that sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin. We also talked about this spiritual war we’re now engaged in. Then we looked at chapter four, and we saw the consequences of Adam’s sin and the first casualty of this spiritual war, and we also saw that God’s strategy for fighting this war is by having godly parents raising godly children and training them up in the way they should go.
So this morning we come to Genesis chapter five, and we’re actually going to be reading verses 1 – 32, and we’re going to hear Moses recount for us the original creation, and then tell us the effects of sin on the human race, but he’s also going to tell us about the godly line of Seth, so take your Bibles and please follow along with me as I read Genesis chapter 5:1-32 (Read Text).
Those first three verses are recounting for us the story of creation. And we are reminded that God created man in His own image – and again; this is first and foremost where we develop the idea of human dignity. You see; there is nothing wrong with taking care of our planet, and there’s nothing wrong with being kind and compassionate to animals, but when you elevate those things in priority over taking care of your fellow man, you’re missing the mark. When we have people whose desire to save the whales is so strong that they put human lives in danger, then they are missing the mark. Or when you have people whose desire to save the forested areas of North America is so strong that they are willing to burn down buildings and put peoples lives in danger, then what you have is someone whose missing the mark. And I want you to notice there in verse two, that when God created male and female, He named them man, or literally – Adam. And that reminds us that both men and women express the image of God, and that it takes both male and female to express what God means by humanity. And I also think its pretty interesting that we only are given a glimpse of these people’s lives until we get to Seth. Even the ones that seem interesting, like Enoch… we’re told very little about them. And basically the record of the details of their lives are basically forgotten, but what was important to God, was that they were in this godly line of faithful people, and that they raised godly, covenant children. Now if that doesn’t add some perspective to things, I don’t know what will. Also; in just those few verses we see that even though we were created in the image of God, when Adam sinned in the Garden, sin entered the world, and now we have to deal with it. We see that, when it says, we were created in the image of God, but when Adam had a son, it was a son after his image. And we know that means sin, because as we read further and look at what happens to these people, we see death; even though they are in the godly line… They are born, the live, and then they die. The only exception was Enoch. If there was no sin, there would be no death.
Now in verses 3 – 32 we see this godly line progress. This is sort of a bridge from creation to the flood. And I want to focus on the people in this godly line. In verses 3 – 5 were going to look at Seth, in verses 21 – 24 we’ll look at Enoch. In verse 29, we’re going to look at Lamech and compare him to the Lamech in Cain’s line, and then in verses 29 – 32 we’ll finish up by looking at Noah.
But before we get to that I want to point out one other fact, and that is that in Genesis chapter 5 no one from the line of Cain is mentioned. We’re told about Cain’s line in chapter 4, but now Moses by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit is focusing on the seed of the woman.
So first of all we have Seth. He’s a son of Adam, and he’s the one this godly line comes from so to speak. He’s the one God has appointed to start this godly line, and we saw last time that it was in the time of Seth, that men began to join together in worshiping God. We had faith communities coming together to worship. In other words; Seth got the ball rolling in the right direction. Then we come to Enoch, and we are told that Enoch walked with God. Now that’s a phrase we see in the OT, and its talking about having a very intimate relationship with someone. To walk with someone means that you have fellowship with that person, you have companionship with them, you are going where they are going, you experience what they experience. So what this is saying is that Enoch had an amazing intimacy with God. The next time we hear of someone walking with God is in Genesis 6:9 and it’s talking about Noah. A similar metaphor is used in Isaiah 41:8 when Isaiah was talking about Abraham being a friend of God. We see another similar word usage in Exodus 33:11 where we’re told that Moses knew God face to face. In that passage it isn’t saying that Moses literally saw God face to face, it’s an expression of this same kind of intimacy that Enoch had. All of those are metaphors that are used to help us see the kind of relationship these men had with God. So we see that Enoch had a great relationship with God, and we also know from the Book of Jude, verses 14 & 15 that Jude prophesied about the coming judgment. How did he do that? Through the naming of his son Methuselah. You see; the name Methuselah literally means, “When he dies, judgment will come.” And if you do the math, you’ll see that’s exactly what happened. When Methuselah died, the flood came upon the earth.
Then we come to Lamech, and there is a great contrast between Seth’s Lamech and Cain’s Lamech. The Lamech from Cain’s line was proud, and arrogant, and unforgiving and a violent murderer. The Lamech from Seth’s line longed to see the promised rest of God. Again we know that by what he named his son. Noah literally means “rest and comfort.” He longed for that day when God would bring relief from the curse of the fall. And that brings us to Noah; and we read about him beginning in verse 29 (Read to vs 32).
Now I remember as a little kid, reading through this book of Genesis, and being amazed by the long lives of these people. I mean; they lived for hundreds and hundreds of years, and those genealogies and this history lesson, is meant by God to be taken literal. They really lived that long. And I’ve heard some Christians who are in the field of science say that it was because the atmosphere was different, and that the food and water was more pure and that there weren’t all the contaminants and other things. And to be honest with you, I don’t know about all of that. I guess I’m more simple minded, and I’ve figured that if God can give us eternal life, then allowing man to live for a few hundred years is really no big deal. But I don’t think that one of the points of this passage is for us to be impressed with how long these people lived. I think the point of it is to show us that God is more than able to preserve for Himself a people, and that He is more than able to use those people to accomplish His will on the earth. And I think that we are to take notice of a phrase that is repeated throughout this list of men. And I already mentioned it once. Because in this retelling of Seth’s godly line, we see these guys who had incredibly long lives, but at the end of these short little biographies, we see a phrase repeated over and over again. “Adam lived 930 years… and he died.” Seth lived 912 years, “and he died.” Enosh lived 905 years, “And he died.” Kenon lived 910 years, “and he died,” Mahalalel lived 895 years, “and he died,” Jared lived 962 years, “and he died.” In verse 27 we get a break when we read about Enoch but then it goes right back to the pattern, Methuselah lived 969 years, “and he died,” and Lamech lived 777 years, “and he died.”
God had told Adam that there was a consequence for rebellion and sin, and we see that consequence repeated over and over again here in this passage.
Remember; Satan said, “You shall not surely die.”
And here we see God proving him to be a liar, over and over again in this passage. And I hear people sometimes say, “Man it would be awesome to live that long of a life.” But I want you to think about that for a moment. Adam and Eve, because of their long lives; would for hundreds and hundreds of years see the effects of their sin in the Garden of Eden. They had other children after Seth, some of them may have died. Adam had to toil all the days of his life – 930 years. Think about it for hundreds and hundreds of years, every time something bad happened Eve would probably give Adam one of those looks that only wives can give to their husbands and say, “This is all your fault you know!” What we see here is what Paul tells us in the NT – that death reigned from Adam until Christ.
Now there’s one other point I want us to see this morning. Within this line of Seth, what we see is a family, maintaining the cause of faith, even though the world around them is becoming worse and worse. And in the middle of this world of sinfulness and degeneration; the line of Seth, the seed of the woman continued to worship God and serve Him, and follow Him. We see that they cared more about what God thought about them, than what the world around them thought of them. We see that God was first in their lives… He was their number one priority, and that regardless of how bad the world was becoming and regardless of how bad things looked, they trusted in His promises and they trusted in Him. The Book of Hebrews tells us how they did it. Let’s turn there real quick
Hebrews 11:13-16 (Read). See there? They understood that this world was not their home. They were looking for that heavenly kingdom. They were looking forward in faith to a time when the head of the serpent would be crushed, and all things would be restored. And their testimony calls us who would claim to be children of God, to a higher standard and I pray that we would rise up to it.