Anglican Morning Devotion, 5 November 2021 Anno Domini
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“And Jared lived after he begat Enoch eight hundred years, and begat sons and daughters: 20And all the days of Jared were nine hundred sixty and two years: and he died. 21And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah: 22And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters: 23And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years: 24And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him. 25And Methuselah lived an hundred eighty and seven years, and begat Lamech: 26And Methuselah lived after he begat Lamech seven hundred eighty and two years, and begat sons and daughters: 27And all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred sixty and nine years: and he died.” (Genesis 5:19-27; all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
FOOD FOR THOUGHT (Riddle): Who lived the longest of all men, yet died before his father?
The pre-Deluge lifespan of man was hundreds of years owing, perhaps, to the canopy of water in the firmament (upper atmosphere) that shrouded the earth, filtered out harmful sun rays, and kept the earth’s temperature at an ideal uniform state. It was not until the Great Flood that rain began to descend from the clouds upon the earth. Prior to that time, the vegetation was watered by a heavy dew that arose overnight. “. . .the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground. But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground.” (Genesis 2:5-6)
It was perhaps owing to the extended life of man (Methuselah lived to 969 years) that sin proliferated to a monstrous degree. The longer man lives, the greater his imagination to conceive evil. There were two men specifically mentioned in the Pre-Flood period as “walking with God” – Enoch and Noah. Of course, we know of others such as Abel and Seth, but these were not mentioned particularly in that wise. The closer we walk with God, the nearer we come to His Heavenly Realm. Enoch was translated directly to Heaven without undergoing the pain of death. But Noah, who walked with God during the most egregious of wicked and sinful times was used of God to preserve God’s Creation for a New World. It seems ironic to me that the grandfather of Noah – Methuselah – died the very year of the Flood. Was he, too, part of the sinful world that then predominated, or was his advanced age of 969 years simply sufficient reason for his demise? This is evidenced not only by the writings and calculations of Archbishop James Ussher of Ireland, but also of a simple rendering of ages provided in the Book of Genesis.
From the beginning of the expulsion from Eden, those who followed God were called the children of God; and those who rejected God were called the children of men. This is the rendering by the good man, Matthew Henry: “The worshippers of God began to distinguish themselves. The margin reads it, Then began men to be called by the name of the Lord, or to call themselves by it. Now that Cain and those that had deserted religion had built a city, and begun to declare for impiety and irreligion, and called themselves the sons of men, those that adhered to God began to declare for him and his worship, and called themselves the sons of God. Now began the distinction between professors and profane, which has been kept up ever since, and will be while the world stands.” (Matthew Henry Commentary, Genesis 4:26)
Those who profess the pure religion and faith of God wax and wane with the ages. Though since Seth, a part of the race had called upon the name of the Lord, there was growing apostasy and its resultant wickedness. Enoch had already been taken up to God without the suffering of death. Only a less than seven hundred years later, God had chosen the only remaining man who walked with him to board the Ark which God had instructed him to construct, and enter therein with all his family – eight souls altogether including Noah. Eight in the Bible is symbolic of new beginnings. The wickedness of the world had grown so egregious that only one righteous man remained who walked with the Lord.
Following the Flood, the normal lifespan of men was shortened to three score years and ten. In his only Psalm, Moses says: “For all our days are passed away in thy wrath: we spend our years as a tale that is told. 10The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.” (Psalms 90:9-10) Perhaps walking with the Lord gives us that special life of eternal joy with Christ when we arise on the eighth day as did Christ.