11 January 2010

Bible in a Year: Day Eleven

Today's Bible Reading:
Genesis 4-7

Chapter Four of Genesis chronicles the birth of the first family's sons Cain and Abel.  Cain grows to be more of an harvester and Abel a shepherd.  God accepts Abel's blood sacrifice but not Cain's offering from the ground.  This causes Cain to become crestfallen and seek out vengeance on Abel, whom he later kills in an act of the world's first murder.  God confronts Cain and casts him away with a mark upon him to keep anyone from killing Cain.  Then the chapter lists the generations after Cain beginning with the son of Cain and presumably his sister.  Finally, Adam and Eve have a son, Seth, whose generations lead to men calling upon the name of the Lord.

Chapter Five is a list of the generations of Adam all the way through Noah's sons.  The list is pretty much unbroken except for two stories of note.  First is Adam's great-great-great-great grandson Enoch of whom it is said to have "walked with God" and later "God took him."  Second, Noah is named by his father Lamech  because he will comfort them from the toil and work of the cursed ground.

Chapter Six tells of the growing sinfulness of the people on the earth, causing God to repent from making man in the first place.  But Noah came from a righteous heritage and "found grace in the eyes of the Lord."  God speaks to Noah and has him build an ark to save Noah's family and enough animals to replenish the earth after God sends a global flood to destroy all other living things.  Here is where God gives the ark's building instructions.

Chapter Seven is where God instructs Noah to take seven clean animals and two each of the rest onto the ark.  Once all the animals and Noah's family (including his wife, sons, and daughters-in-law) are on board the ark, the "fountains of the deep" and the first downpours began deluging the earth covering every piece of land.

What I knew
Early Sunday School classes teach all about Cain and Abel and Noah's Ark, so I was pretty informed about those particular stories.  My own studies had made Chapter Five particularly interesting to me as it details the family line of Adam through Noah.  A quick timeline using the given ages and years reveals that Noah's father Lamech died a few years before the flood and the oldest man recorded in the Bible (Noah's grandfather, Methuselah) died the year of the flood.

What I learned
Seeing that Noah was favored by God probably because of his righteous nature, I have to believe that Noah had faithful teachers in his parents and grandparents.  Though Methuselah died the same year of the flood, it appears that he most likely did not die in the flood.  I like to think he died before the flood since he would otherwise have been in the ark with Noah and his family.  I did a little online research to discover that Methuselah means "death and sent" or, more loosely, "when he dies, judgment."  It seems Enoch (Noah's great-grandfather who walked with God right out of this world) may have had a hidden prophecy right in his son's name.  So, when Methuselah died at the extreme and very blessed age of 969, judgment was on its way.

Doctrinal Importance
First off, man's fall from grace into a sinful nature resulted very quickly in what is considered by most societies to be the worst sin of all: murder.  The very first generation of mankind saw murder.  However, we also see that God still loved His creation and that the first parents still loved God by bearing and teaching a lineage of God-serving people.  I think we see in the family history of Noah that parents have a responsibility to pass on their knowledge and love of God down to their children.  If Lamech had been like the rest of man at the time, then Noah would have been just as unrighteous, and no one would be left alive after the flood.  Finally, the flood is an important doctrine of Christianity because it is one of the many that demonstrates God's hatred of sin and impending judgment that can befall anyone.

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