Friday, March 22, 2013

Methuselah and God's Patience

And all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred sixty and nine years: and he died.
Genesis 5:27

It all went wrong.  God had given humanity the precious gift of free will, yet man chose to turn from God to follow the foolishness of his own heart.  This led to a circumvoluted desire to do as one wished.  The word records, "And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually (Genesis 6:5)."  It all went wrong, yet in the face of such chaos and sin we see two pictures of longsuffering grace.

Tradition holds that God warned Enoch of the impending flood even before Methusaleh was born. The increasing wickedness and the attempt to destroy God's promise to Adam would lead to the destruction by the flood.  Even more specific, many feel that God warned Enoch that shortly after the death of Methusaleh the deluge would begin.  Enoch named his son with a name to remind the ungodly that there was a limit to God's kindness.  The name of the man, Methuselah, is very interesting.  In Hebrew his name means, "the man of the dart (or weapon)".  His name also can be interpreted as "his death shall bring judgment".  The sign that judgment would fall would revolve around this prayer warrior's son.

Imagine growing up next to Methuselah.  Every sniffle would send you to your knees in prayer.  Maybe the whole village held prayer vigils whenever he caught the flu?  At any rate, this tradition shows us something about the heart of God.  God's judgment on wickedness was certain. However, the LORD is clearly more interested with repentance and redemption than with judgment.  Methusaleh lived longer than any man in recorded history.  God in His mercy and grace gave mankind 969 years of time to repent.

Noah's ark building project, which can clearly be studied in scripture, also shows this loving heart of GOD who wills that none perish but all repent.  Though "...The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence (Genesis 6:11)", God gave men a long time to turn from their wickedness.  It is certain that Lamech, Methusaleh's son, knew of the prophecy.  He named his son Noah, meaning "Comfort", saying, "This same shall comfort us concerning our work and toil of our hands, because of the ground which the LORD hath cursed (Genesis 5:29)."  Also, the LORD gave men 120 years to turn while Noah prepared the ark.  Every hammer blow and fallen tree was a sign that things were about to end as mankind then knew it.  Sadly, only 9* people were saved, but GOD still gave time.  The tradition above holds that Methuselah died seven days prior to the flood.  (*8 in the ark and one through rapture--Nine)  

This same longsuffering grace is available today.  How much more wicked can the world get?  According to scripture, a lot worse.  Thank GOD that He has yet to pay us what we deserve.  Should He do so, it would not be good. It is clear, however, that spiritual Methuselah has the sniffles.  Get ready!  The storm clouds are forming.  The Great Ark Builder by His own blood, sweat, and tears is about to call His church home.  Get ready!  Jesus Christ is Soon2Come and judgment is about to fall.  We will look at where it starts the next time as we consider some foreboding news.  

No comments:

Post a Comment