Life lessons from a family tree!
All of us tend to be far more earthbound than we realize. The Oxford dictionary defines earthbound as being “limited to material existence as distinct from a spiritual or heavenly one.”
Every one of us thinks more about this present world than the world to come.
We become absorbed in our earthly plans, pursuits, and passions. And we forget how short-lived our time on this earth really is.
We lose sight of how fast generation after generation is whisked away in history.
Some of you no longer have your grandparents. Some have buried your own parents.
And yet though people around us are dying, others are being born: there are new children, grandchildren and new nieces and nephews.
Solomon puts it bluntly, “A generation goes and a generation comes….” (Eccles. 1:4).
What ought we to learn from the short cycle of life that comes and goes all so quickly like sand slipping through our fingers?
What perspective ought we get a hold of to make the most of our time on the earth?
How can we live wisely and learn from those who have come before us and now are no longer with us?
Genesis 5 show us. Yes, the 5th chapter in the Bible gives us a reality check on the fact that we will not be here forever. Life is short, soon it is gone, and we fly away (Ps. 90:10).
Genesis 5: “This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day when God created man, He made him in the likeness of God. 2 He created them male and female, and He blessed them and named them Man in the day when they were created. 3 When Adam had lived one hundred and thirty years, he became the father of a son in his own likeness, according to his image, and named him Seth. 4 Then the days of Adam after he became the father of Seth were eight hundred years, and he had other sons and daughters. 5 So all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years, and he died. 6 Seth lived one hundred and five years, and became the father of Enosh. 7 Then Seth lived eight hundred and seven years after he became the father of Enosh, and he had other sons and daughters. 8 So all the days of Seth were nine
hundred and twelve years, and he died. 9 Enosh lived ninety years, and became the father of Kenan. 10 Then Enosh lived eight hundred and fifteen years after he became the father of Kenan, and he had other sons and daughters. 11 So all the days of Enosh were nine hundred and five years, and he died. 12 Kenan lived seventy years, and became the father of Mahalalel. 13 Then Kenan lived eight hundred and forty years after he became the father of Mahalalel, and he had other sons and daughters. 14 So all the days of Kenan were nine hundred and ten years, and he died. 15 Mahalalel lived sixty-five years, and became the father of Jared. 16 Then Mahalalel lived eight hundred and thirty years after he became the father of Jared, and he had other sons and daughters. 17 So all the days of Mahalalel were eight hundred and ninety-five years, and he died. 18 Jared lived one hundred and sixty-two years, and became the father of Enoch. 19 Then Jared lived eight hundred years after he became the father of Enoch, and he had other sons and daughters. 20 So all the days of Jared were nine hundred and sixty-two years, and he died. 21 Enoch lived sixty-five years, and became the father of Methuselah. 22 Then Enoch walked with God three hundred years after he became the father of Methuselah, and he had other sons and daughters. 23 So all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years. 24 Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him. 25 Methuselah lived one hundred and eighty-seven years, and became the father of Lamech. 26 Then Methuselah lived seven hundred and eighty-two years after he became the father of Lamech, and he had other sons and daughters. 27 So all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred and sixty-nine years, and he died. 28 Lamech lived one hundred and eighty-two years, and became the father of a son. 29 Now he called his name Noah, saying, “This one will give us rest from our work and from the toil of our hands arising from the ground which the LORD has cursed.” 30 Then Lamech lived five hundred and ninety-five years after he became the father of Noah, and he had other sons and daughters. 31 So all the days of Lamech were seven hundred and seventy-seven years, and he died. 32 Noah was five hundred years old, and Noah became the father of Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
From these inspired words of God, we learn three ultimate realities of our existence in this world:
1. Man’s purpose- display God 1-20
2. Man’s privilege- delight in God 21-24
3. Man’s pursuit- be delivered from the curse 25-31
What’s striking about the opening statement of our text is how far it reaches back. It tells us, “This is the book (the idea is record) of the generations of Adam.”
You say, but didn’t chapter 4 just tell us about those who followed after Adam, namely, Cain and his descendants?
Yes, but here’s the massive difference. That was the ungodly line of Cain.
But here we see the godly line of Seth
Yes, here in chapter 5, we meet God’s chosen ones who are wonderfully set apart from the wicked Cainites.
Remember, what marked Cain’s line- great cultural developments, inventions like tents and music. But they lived so far from God.
Now in this chapter God gives us a 10-person genealogy. What’s especially significant is this- it spans from Adam to Noah. That’s from creation all the way to the flood.
These people are the last of those who lived in the antedelivuian, pre Flood world that lasted approximately 1600 years.
Sadly, some Bible commentators just skip right over Genesis 5 as if it’s not all that important.
So, let me piggy back off the short list I gave you last week and tell even more so, why this genealogy of Genesis 5 is of tremendous value.
And this applies to the other 24 genealogical lists in the Bible all of which I remind you proceed from the mouth of God.
This Genesis 5 genealogy is vital for us because-
1. It shows us the interconnectedness of all mankind. We all have been born into the world in a chain that dates not back to some “Lucy” in Ethiopia but Adam and Eve in Eden.
2. This chapter demonstrates the dastardly effects of sin that spread like a deadly hurricane
to every generation. That includes all the way to our lives. That sin explains why there is death.
Romans 5:12 affirms, “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned.”
3. In spite of sin and death, this genealogy offers hope- there is spiritual life for those who walk by faith. Yes, you don’t have to go through life with a gnawing sense of emptiness.
You don’t have to accept the words Shakespeare put into the mouth of Macbeth who hears of his own wife’s death: ‘Life … is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.’
4. What’s before us in here in our text demarcates the chosen line leading to the Messiah.
Yes, the salvation message in the person of Jesus Christ is anchored in history and anticipated by this genealogy!
And that showcases the sovereign rule of God over all human history for His perfect purposes.
In the first part of the chapter we are shown:
1. Man’s purpose- display God 1-20
Let me point out for you in verse 1 those words, “This is the book of the generations of Adam.”
There are those with a low view of biblical inspiration who say, “See, Moses gathered a bunch of sources for what he comes up with here.” Hardly!
What “book of the generations” of Adam is Moses talking about? The record right here in chapter 5 he’s writing for us!
Jeremiah 32:12 uses that same word from which we have “book” in verse 1 to describe a deed of purchase to be signed by witnesses.
So it could be a brief written document. That’s what Moses records here for our benefit.
Yes, he did not come up with this record on his own- God gave it to him.
Now in the wonderful wisdom of God, this inspired family tree doesn’t just tell us “to Adam was born Seth, and to Seth was born a son and so on.”
No, it takes us all the way back to what happened on the 6th day of creation.
Yet, notice, verse 1 does not say, “In the Cenozoic Era, (65 million years ago), man began to evolve on the earth.” Rather, it says, “in the day when God created man.” That leaves no room for the notion of naturalistic or theistic evolution. For God reached down and in one unbroken work, created man. Perfect man. No tail, no long arms that drug on the ground, God created man in his completed humans from in one day. Would have been far less than an hour! Just reaches down, forms mud from the ground and fashions Adam! God emphasizes it was all his immediate doing and not some delayed process. Because we are told 3 times (vv. 1-2) that man was created by God. But what most distinguished Adam and Eve from all the animals in Eden? It wasn’t just that they were the most intelligent or walked upright on two feet. Moses reminds us here, “He (God) made him in the likeness of God.” That’s what makes humans so special. Unlike any other creature in the world, we resemble God!
That’s because God created us with a self consciousness, a moral consciousness, and a God consciousness.
That sets us apart from the beginning as image bearers of God!
To be made in the likeness of God- that’s the highest privilege of man in creation. For because of that we have the capacity for fellowship with God.
Think of that. Of all the life forms, only you and I as fellow humans can intimately commune with our Creator in whose image we have been made.
That, by the way gives us our reason for being. The purpose of our existence is to fellowship with God and reflect Him whose image we bear!
Our Lord put it this way in Matthew 5:16 “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”
But what are we to make of recalled for in this genealogy, (verse 2) that God “created them male and female, and He blessed them…?”
Why is this restated?
Because this great theme of creation must be remembered, rehearsed, and defended by God’s people of all time.
In God’s glorious design, He made two genders not 3 or 4. Male and female.
Expecting parents, you may be hoping for a boy or hoping for a girl, but that’s God’s choice, not yours.
God determines the gender. And He has from the start. He made Adam with one X and one Y chromosome. And He made Eve different with two X chromosomes. Now, that accounts for not just the physical but the emotional and social differences between men and women. Yes, the genetic differences given by God between man and women are massive.
In fact, scientists have concluded that every cell of our body has a gender; in other words, every cell is uniquely male or female.
Oh, our perverse culture is so confused in their ungodliness.
Though modern thinkers insist a child can determine which gender he or she wants to be, and that’s what he or she then is.
And though a man may claim he is trapped in a women’s body or vice versa, God says, “from the start I have made them either male or female.”
There’s no changing that. And let me remind you, “God made you, you, either a man or woman, boy or girl as male or female- for your good and His glory!” It’s not a punishment but a privilege!
So, no, we will never capitulate to our culture’s push for same sex marriage. We will never accept the LGBT agenda for anything other than what it is- dishonoring to God and His beautiful plan for the family.
Don’t forget, Genesis 1:28, after God created that first couple in His image, He made them male and female… and then what happened?
He blessed them, and told them “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.”
God’s blessing on the marriage relationship that follows His pattern is in the offspring He gives.
Every child, is a reminder of the favor of God.
Praise God, homosexual relationships cannot bear children.
For God has reserved His blessing of children, gifts of the Lord, for those who honor His design from the beginning of male and female.
For that displays the image of God. How is that? Look at verse 3, where we plunge into the line of Adam.
When Adam had lived one hundred and thirty years, he became the father of a son in his own likeness, according to his image, and named him Seth.
I can’t imagine what it would be like to have a new baby in my 50s. But Adam is 130 when his third son, Seth, is born!
What you need to see about this son, Seth, is this- he was in the likeness and image of whom? V. 3 tells us it was of Adam his father.
That’s significant. Because just as Adam was created in the image of God, so now that is passed down to his son, Seth.
You see, Adam bore God’s image, and Seth bore his dad’s image, thus Seth bore the image of God.
So it is, by virtue of procreation, the image of God is passed down to each subsequent generation.
All glory to God, the fall of man in sin did not destroy the image of God in man.
For the likeness of God, though tainted by sin, is still perpetuated in humanity.
All humans continue to bear the image of God their Creator.
James 3:9 affirms, that “men…have been made in the likeness of God.”
Now did Adam and Eve just have three boys, Cain, Able, and Seth?
Not at all. Because we are told (v. 5), that Adam lived 800 years after he had Seth, and also had other sons and daughters.
What were their names? We don’t know. And here’s why. God focuses our attention here on only one person in each generation. The first following Adam is Seth.
Look back at Gen. 4:25. Eve understood and says, “God has appointed me another offspring in place of Abel; for Cain killed him.”
Eve connected the dots- she knew that boy Seth whom she birthed fit into God promise in Gen. 3:15.
Remember, after Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit God shared how He would provide a deliverer.
From the seed of the woman (Eve’s offspring) would come one who would crush the serpent’s head- that signals Satan’s defeat.
So it is, this genealogy isolates Seth and then 1 individual from each successive generation that was in that redemptive line.
That makes this a vertical genealogy. It goes down and not across.
There are no branches on this family tree. It’s just the center line.
For God wants us to zero on the chosen line of 10 individuals, 1 per generation. It goes from Adam and leads to Noah and ultimately to whom?
To the promised Messiah, Jesus Christ!!!
Friends, this points to the sovereign choosing of God. For God elects those whom He chooses to be His own. He decides who will be His redeemed.
Now that doesn’t set well with those who want to see themselves and not God at the center of the universe.
So let me remind you of what Paul stresses at the beginning of his letter to the Ephesians believers: “He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world.” Eph. 1:4
And to the saints in Thessalonica the apostle writes, “But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation….” II Thes. 2:13
So it is, if God has given you a desire for Himself, faith to turn to Him in salvation, then realize that’s all of His grace.
He chose you and called you to Himself that you might display His glory in this world.
Adam and Seth and those in that chosen line did that in their lives and deaths.
We are told in verse 5, “So all the days that Adam lived were 930 years.” But how are we to take that statement?
Some scholars suggest Adam doesn’t refer to a personal name but a tribe or dynasty.
Others want to make a year refer to a month or two.
Do you know what “930 years” really means? I’ll tell you. It means 930 literal years.
That’s roughly 340,000 days adding up to nearly a millennium!
Talk about a long life. It wasn’t just Adam. All but three in this genealogy from Adam to Noah lived to be over 900 years old.
In this preflood era, the vapor canopy shielding the earth from ultraviolet rays and possible lower atmospheric pressure may have contributed to their exceptionally long lives.
Yet ultimately, it was God who determined their longevity, roughly 10x longer than today’s typical lifespan.
Just think of the wisdom and experience they would have gained over a lifetime!
And for this godly line, imagine how much time they could spend speaking of God to their children, grandchildren and many more generations!
So those in Seth’s line, believers in God, could reflect God’s glory during their long lifespans.
Yet there is a more subtle way in which they also displayed God’s character.
For we read of Adam, the first inhabitant of this world, shocking words.
There at the end of verse 5, 3 chilling words: “And he died.”
The day came in his 930th year, when he took his last breath, and was overcome by the dreaded enemy of mankind: death.
Yet you might be thinking, how though does Adam’s death display God’s goodness?
It shows Satan is a liar and God tells the truth- always!
God told Adam and Eve, if you eat of the forbidden fruit, “You shall surely die (2:17).
Yet Satan said, “You surely shall not die.” (3:4).
They ate. And what happened? They died… just like God had said.
They died two ways. First, spiritually, their sin separated them from a holy God. That put them in need of the promised Savior.
And second, they died physically.
So it is, every time a person dies, God proves. Satan is a liar but God always tells the truth. He always keeps His Word, in life and in death.
Those who follow in verse 6-20, share 4 things in common. They are born, they live X number of years, they have sons and daughters, and then we read, that sober refrain: “and he died.”
19th century Scottish pastor, Andrew Bonar, describes this “as the solemn toll of the patriarchal funeral bell.”
Seth, Enosh, Kenan, Mahalel, and Jared… and the rest- each of them lived a long life, and yet now they are no longer in this world. They as we were mortal.
Sometimes we forget and act as if we will be in this world forever.
Yet go to a cemetery. Read the gravestones. Those who came before you and are no more.
Draw your family tree. You won’t reach back more than 2 or 3 generations and those relatives that bore your name- most have already been taken by death.
Friends, we much prefer going to a birthday party than a funeral.
Yet we need reminders of our end in this world.
That’s why God tells us, “It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, because that is the end of every man, and the living takes it to heart.” Eccles. 7:2
Yes, we must take to heart. We are not in this world long but are a brief vapor.
It’s from the womb to the tomb, all born are doomed to die.
If you belong to God, if Christ has paid the debt of your sin, death is not loss but gain.
“For me to live is Christ” exclaimed Paul, “and to die is gain.” Phil. 1:21
It’s Gain because death is the doorstep that ushers true Christians into God’s personal presence forever!
That’s why the psalmist affirms, “Precious in the sight of the LORD Is the death of His godly ones.” Ps. 116:15
Remember, when Stephen the first N.T. martyr died, what he saw? He said, “I see the heavens opened up and the Son of Man (Jesus Christ) standing at the right hand of God.” Acts 7:56
There stood his dear Savior who died for him welcoming Stephen home!
So beloved, if you belong to Christ, don’t fear death. Instead, live to the hilt displaying Christ through your life. And when He decides its time for you to die having nothing left to do but die…for His glory!
Man’s purpose is to display God 1-20 and now we see
2. Man’s privilege is to delight in God 21-24
The description of one man deviates from the pattern in this genealogy: Enoch.
Of all individuals mentioned, Enoch is the highlighted character in this chapter.
Why? Look carefully at what we are told in verse 21. “ Enoch lived sixty-five years, and became the father of Methuselah. 22 Then Enoch walked with God three hundred years after he became the father of Methuselah, and he had other sons and daughters.”
Did you catch the difference?
It’s tucked into three brief yet key words: Enoch “walked with God.”
We are told all the others lived so many years in this word.
Yet far better, Enoch stood out because he “walked with God.”
There is only one other person whom the Bible says walked with God. That’s Noah (Gen. 6:9).
What does it mean to walk with God? Walk- (halak) speaks of a life of communion and intimacy with God.
The sense of the original language pictures Enoch walking back and forth with God; it was the direction and commitment of his life.
Everywhere he went, everything he did, he lived enthralled with the presence of God.
He lived with an uncommon nearness to God.
He loved to think about God, talk to God, and please God.
He lived a God-dominated and God-saturated life.
Walking with God also means he lived a righteous life. He was careful to obey the Lord like Aaron the priest of whom God says in Malachi 2:6 “True instruction was in his mouth and unrighteousness was not found on his lips; he walked with Me in peace and uprightness, and he turned many back from iniquity.”
Well, Enoch was an amazingly godly man. He lived his life all out to please God. He fellowshipped with God as his closest friend.
There were no rivals with whom he shared his heart affections.
No Esau wasn’t perfect, but you can be sure, when he sinned he would have dreaded hindered fellowship with God and couldn’t confess that sin fast enough.
He knew the heartbeat of what David would later write in Psalm 32:1-“How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered!”
For Enoch’s greatest joy on earth was walking in sweet communion with his God.
And would you look at how God rewarded Enoch, v. 24.
“And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.”
So powerful! The defining mark of this man’s life is repeated for us. He walked with God!
That explains why we don’t read, “And he died.”
Instead, God took him. Just whisked him away.
Whoosh, and Enoch vanished! That would have been shocking and inexplicable to others. They never found his body.
Friends, think about it. God loved Enoch’s fellowship so much that he bypassed waiting for him to die. He just brought that godly man straight to heaven!
That happened to just one other man- the godly prophet Elijah (II Kings 2) whom God promoted early to heaven in a chariot!
Now I want to show you a fascinating insight into Enoch’s life.
Because, let me tell you Christian, you should want to be like Enoch.
Not to get an early advancement to heaven. But to get the greatest treasure NOW- walking with God!
Now there are some powerful encouragements we can gain from this man Enoch’s life.
First, look we me at Hebrews 11:5. It’s here we learn Enoch was a man of great faith. “By faith Enoch was taken up so that he would not see death; AND HE WAS NOT FOUND BECAUSE GOD TOOK HIM UP; for he obtained the witness that before his being taken up he was pleasing to God.“
We saw recently that Abel is the first man in the great hall of faith heroes. And Enoch here is second.
What we are told here that pleased God so much in his life was his faith. Yes, Enoch walked by faith.
That means, he trusted God’s Word not his own whims.
He lived his light in view of God’s truth not the world’s lies.
And that faith brought great honor to God. Enoch would have stood out from those around him as radically committed to a life of trusting God in his daily choices- for his provision, for difficult situations, for his family, for friendships,
for dealing with sin. He walked by exceptional faith in God.
Beloved, how much more must we if we are to please God. Don’t forget, Heb. 11:6 that follows on the heals of Enoch’s faith. “And without faith it is impossible to please God!”
And remember we have a great advantage over Enoch. For we have what Enoch only anticipated: a savior Jesus Christ who lived, died and rose for us.
He is to us the author and perfecter of our faith. Therefore, we are to rivet our eyes upon Him.
So fellow pilgrim, anchor your trust deeply in Jesus Christ and He will cause you to please Him and walk by faith.
There’s a second hallmark of Enoch’s life of delighting in God.
In the book of Jude, we are told about him. In fact, here’s the only place in the Bible where we are told the very words Enoch spoke.
It’s in a section confronting false teachers. Beginning in verse 14: “It was also about these men that Enoch, in the seventh generation from Adam, prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord came with many thousands of His holy ones, 15 to execute judgment upon all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their ungodly deeds which they have done in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.”
What here in Enoch’s life is praised? The fact that he spoke the truth to an ungodly generation. And he warned them of Christ’s coming in judgement. That’s the second coming when He comes to judge the world.
Here’s the point. Godliness, true godliness is communing with God and calling sin sin. It’s standing up and speaking out God’s truth in a hostile environment.
That’s what Enoch did, and that pleased God.
Church, God has called you to be His mouthpiece.
Yet when it comes to speaking up for Christ, and calling others to repentance, too many of us act like the Artic River: cold and frozen at the mouth!
What’s the problem? It’s fear of man and lack of faith in Christ.
There were times when even the apostle Paul was tempted to chicken out and not speak up for Christ. But he begged others to pray on his behalf that he would open his mouth and speak the gospel.
They prayed, and he proclaimed. And so did many others in the churches.
O take great encouragement from his bolstered faith in II Cor. 4:13 that delivered him from dreadful timidity.
He writes, “But having the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, ‘I BELIEVED, THEREFORE I SPOKE,’ we also believe, therefore we also speak.”
So, Christian, choose to follow in Paul and Enoch’s footsteps of faith. Delight in God and take every opportunity to declare Him.
Man’s purpose- display God, Man’s privilege- delight in God brings us to-
3. Man’s pursuit- be delivered from the curse 25-31
Moses tells us in verse 27 the longest recorded lifespan of any individual.
It was Enoch’s son Methuselah who reached 969 years.
That accomplishment distinguished him as one person put it as “the patron saints of geriatrics!
Yet longevity of life doesn’t assure quality of life.
Listen, taking care of your health and living long is of no value if you have not walked with God.
Our prayer should not be simply for a long life but a full life for Christ’s sake.
Years before Jim Elliot was speared to death by cannibals in Ecuador, he asked the Lord, “God, I pray Thee, light these idle sticks of my life that I may burn for Thee. Consume my life, my God, for it is Thine. I seek not a long life but a full one like You, Lord Jesus.”
Methuselah we are told fathered Lamech. Not the same Lamech of chapter 4 who seeks revenge but the one who seeks rest, spiritual rest.
How do we know that? Verse 28: “Lamech lived one hundred and eighty-two years, and became the father of a son.” And watch now in verse 29:
Now he called his name Noah, saying, ‘This one will give us rest from our work and from the toil of our hands arising from the ground which the LORD has cursed.’”
What’s he talking about? Not relief from the burden of work through wine. That got Noah into trouble.
Lamech anticipates hope God would bring to the sin-cursed world.
And He did through Noah, the channel God used to save His own from a cursed world.
But Lamech’s hope of comfort goes beyond Noah and finds ultimate fulfillment in Christ.
Friends, we don’t have to hope for one who will give us comfort and rest. We have that in Christ.
He is the one who gave His life on the cross as a substitute for sinners like you and me.
And He calls, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.”
If you aren’t saved, you need rest for your lost soul. So leave your life of sin, and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved.
And Christian, God calls you to enjoy resting in Him by walking with Him. For many of you, that means making the first concern of your day sweet fellowship with God.
As Your closest friend, delight in God speaking to you through His Word to you. And respond by pouring out your heart in communion with Him.
Life lessons from a family tree!
Hope In Christ Bible Church 9/23/18
2. Man’s purpose- display God 1-20
II Thes. 2:13
2. Man’s privilege- delight in God 21-24
II Cor. 4:13
3. Man’s pursuit- be delivered from the curse 25-31
God, how would you lead me to be an obedient and blessed doer of this Your Word?
Life lessons from a family tree!