“all the days of Methuselah were 969 years” (Genesis 5:25-27).
Enoch was a glimpse of hope in a history of death. Instead of seeing his death, he saw the Lord in an instant, for he was a faithful man. While he could attribute his deep faith to the upbringing of his father, through which God was gracious to him, something happened around the birth of his son that steered his soul toward God.
“Enoch walked with God after he fathered Methuselah.” There is not much in the Bible about Methuselah, Enoch’s son. We know that his birth altered the course of his father’s walk with God. He lived “969 years.” He “fathered Lamech.” Then “he died” just before the great flood. These small facts seem insignificant until we learn about his name. It meant: “when he dies, judgment.” Suddenly, these small details explode into big explanations.
A small peek into the next story reveals that the earth was corrupt with sin beyond reach. What started in the city of Cain grew into a world of wickedness. God, seeing the relentless evil, killed all the living creatures in a worldwide flood. It was judgment. Ironically, Methuselah died just before it happened.
The birth of Methuselah was like a countdown to God’s wrath. When he died, judgment came. God was giving everyone time to repent from their wicked ways and follow Him. He was warning them that their pursuit of violence would result in death. God was longsuffering. He warned them for 969 years—the longest any man has lived on the earth. In God’s good patience, he prolonged the life of Methuselah as a period of probation for the world to repent. What great mercy!
- How did the birth and life of Methuselah affect his father? How do you suppose it affected his children and grandchildren?
- How does the life of Methuselah and the unrepentant world shed new light on God’s good character? What does this lesson teach you about God’s patience?
- What is the biggest principle you can learn from this lesson? What role can warnings play in your life?