Together We Follow: Genesis 9:1-17

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Here’s where we have been so far on our walk through Genesis: man and woman, made in God’s image, are given a home on this earth, a beautiful garden, with everything that they need. They are given the good work of tending to the garden, the animals, and becoming fruitful themselves. They live in God’s presence, walking with Him in the cool of the evenings. This is the pattern God set for them…it would belong to Adam and Eve as long as they obeyed the command given to not eat fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. But, as we have seen, they did eat of the fruit, not fulfilling their part in the relationship God had established. 

So they lost their place in the garden, but not in God’s heart. We saw that – even though they disobeyed – His compassion for Adam and Eve remained. He wanted to restore their communion with Him. He promised that one of their descendants would defeat the enemy that had deceived them.

Sin and death had entered the world, changing the course of mankind. Adam and Eve’s firstborn started a family line that turned away from God, filling up the world with violence. God’s heart was broken and He knew the constant chaos had to be stopped, but He did not forget the promises He had made. There was still one righteous man, a son in the line of Seth (Adam’s third son), and God did not forget him. When the floods came, Noah and his family were safely on the ark they’d built just as God had commanded. They waited, along with all of the animals and foods God had instructed them to gather, for the day that dry land would appear.

So this is where we are now: Noah and his family, after so many long days, have left the boat. Their feet are again on solid ground and Noah’s first act is to build an altar.

I want to pause Noah’s story here to talk about a word that is woven through Scripture, a word that is a foundation of all that we have in God even now: covenant.

Stanley Grenz’s Pocket Dictionary of Theological Terms defines it like this: Covenant refers to the act of God in freely establishing a mutually binding relationship with humankind. Through the covenant God bestows blessings on human in conditional and unconditional terms. Conditionally, God blesses humans as they obey the terms of the covenant. Unconditionally, God bestows blessings on humans regardless of their obedience or disobedience to the terms of the covenant. 

In other words, a covenant is a commitment made between God and man. It is His promise to us. The unconditional covenant will be carried through no matter how we respond; the conditional covenant requires a certain action from us in order to be fulfilled on God’s part.

Whether unconditional or conditional, the idea that the God of heaven and earth would bind Himself to us – to you and to me – fills me with wonder. I don’t want us to miss the beauty of this — because this is the theme that began when He formed Adam from dust, the theme that we will see in every book from Genesis to Revelation, the theme that is the thread that reaches into this moment right now — God initiates and pursues this relationship with us because He loves us. He chooses us.

Has He ever been obligated or forced to make promises to us? No…but we will see, again and again, that He does. He chooses to redeem us from the curse of sin and death. He chooses to give us life.  And we will see, again and again, that even while we fail Him, He does not ever fail us.

An article from the Christian Worldview Journal puts it like this:

God is unshakably committed to His creation, to His human creatures, and to His plans for both…He is lovingly-loyal and loyally-loving to the works of His hands. He loves what He is committed to; He is committed to what He loves! So, when it all fell into trouble, God’s desire was not to annihilate and destroy it, but to save and restore it.

God, in other words, has a covenant with creation from which He will never turn back! His dedication to His world is irrevocable.

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I feel sure that Noah, his wife, and their sons with their wives wondered about the future – God had rescued them, He had remembered them…but now what? Would He help them make their way in this world that was, in essence, starting over?

God does not leave them wondering for long. He speaks to them, reestablishing the pattern He had first set in the garden of Eden. He tells them to be fruitful and multiply. He tells them that they have power over all of the animals. He provides what they need.

He makes it clear that mankind – despite the sin that has broken into their hearts – is precious to Him, made in His image. He makes it clear that the life of every man and woman matters to Him.

And with Noah, with all the living creatures on the earth — and with all of us, too — He establishes a covenant — an unconditional covenant in which He promises that He will never again destroy all of life on earth with floodwaters. So that we cannot forget His promise, He places a rainbow in the sky as a sign of this commitment to us. We are given an eternal promise and He asks nothing of us in return. It’s His grace, freely given.

This is not the first time His grace makes a way for our future and it is not the last time, either. God has provided this new beginning, restored the earth, but the enemy has not yet been defeated…the unbroken and perfect communion between God and man has not yet been fully restored.

So with the rainbow as a clear reminder of God’s love toward them, Noah and his family step into the future, trusting that the One who has already rescued them will fulfill every promise He has made.

Genesis 9: 1-17

Then God blessed Noah and his sons and told them, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth. All the animals of the earth, all the birds of the sky, all the small animals that scurry along the ground, and all the fish in the sea will look on you with fear and terror. I have placed them in your power.  I have given them to you for food, just as I have given you grain and vegetables.  But you must never eat any meat that still has the lifeblood in it.

And I will require the blood of anyone who takes another person’s life. If a wild animal kills a person, it must die. And anyone who murders a fellow human must die. If anyone takes a human life, that person’s life will also be taken by human hands. For God made human beings in his own image. Now be fruitful and multiply, and repopulate the earth.”

Then God told Noah and his sons, “I hereby confirm my covenant with you and your descendants, and with all the animals that were on the boat with you—the birds, the livestock, and all the wild animals—every living creature on earth.  Yes, I am confirming my covenant with you. Never again will floodwaters kill all living creatures; never again will a flood destroy the earth.”

Then God said, “I am giving you a sign of my covenant with you and with all living creatures, for all generations to come.  I have placed my rainbow in the clouds. It is the sign of my covenant with you and with all the earth. When I send clouds over the earth, the rainbow will appear in the clouds, and I will remember my covenant with you and with all living creatures. Never again will the floodwaters destroy all life.  When I see the rainbow in the clouds, I will remember the eternal covenant between God and every living creature on earth.”  Then God said to Noah, “Yes, this rainbow is the sign of the covenant I am confirming with all the creatures on earth.”

PS — I would love to hear any experiences of how God has kept His promises to you…please feel free to share in the comments!🙂

Together We Follow: Genesis 8

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Dear friends,

On the hardest days it helps if I write to you like this, a letter to sisters and brothers walking through this life with me. I am here, sitting in my dining room and watching the rain fall outside. The limbs of our pine trees move with the wind; the road has a layer of water covering its dark asphalt.

I don’t know where you read my words, but I know that we share this same sky, the same wind, the same rain that falls.

And we share the sorrow of everything that is happening around us.

The news is hard these days. So very hard. It is hard to even keep track of all the wrongs being done, all the pain felt, all the violence that circles our earth.

All through my news feed on twitter, I keep reading these questions: how long? When will things get better? God, where are You?

I wonder if Noah had some of the same questions. We will read today how the days on the ark stretched on and on after the 40 days of earth-shattering torrents. In total, he and his family spent over a year in the boat, with the memory of what had been, the unknowns of the future. I wonder if they began to doubt their rescue would come. I wonder if they begin to wonder if God had saved them from the violence of their time and from the storm only to leave them alone to figure out how to survive. Don’t you think, being normal men and women like us, that they asked – how long, God? Where are You?

Answers came– because God remembered Noah. He had never, not for a moment forgotten him. In His timing, the flood receded. In His timing, this family stepped into a new life and a new covenant–God promised that He would never flood the earth again . Despite the evil of man’s heart, He gave His word that the seasons would go on and life would not be destroyed. He already knew that sin would grow again in the descendants of Noah. He wanted to give a way of heart-change, of full redemption.

So where was God? He was there, cradling the ark among the mighty waves. He was there, teaching Noah to trust Him even in the silent times. He was there when Noah stepped off the ark, the feat of starting over ahead of him. He was there.

So where does this leave us? In this time that seems like an endless cycle of pain, where is God?

He is with us. Emmanuel–God is with us.  We can take this truth even deeper – He is in us. When Jesus left this earth after His resurrection, He did not leave us alone. He did not leave us as orphans. He did not leave us powerless. He sent His Spirit to dwell within us.

When God sent the Holy Spirit, He was showing us-I am not going anywhere. I am Your teacher. I am your comfort. I am with you. I am your power to push back darkness, to undo what the enemy has done.

So where is God?

Church…body of Christ…brothers and sisters…He is in us. We are alive in Him; in Him we live and move and breathe. He has given us His authority and His ear. We are sons and daughters of God, given all that we need to live in His image and to give others this hope of redemption, beauty for ashes, a day when all will be made new.

He has given us His weapons to demolish the strongholds of the enemy, to stand firm against his plans of destruction.

 He has given us His love that lights our path and shows us how to love each other. He has shown us the power of unity.

He has made us one body.

This is it. This is when we fall to our knees and stand in this gap to pray, even as Jesus prays for us. This is when we let our love speak louder than the hatred the enemy is spilling everywhere, every day. This is when we act out of faith instead of fear.

Are the waves high? Is the storm fierce?

Yes, we know that it is – but our Savior walks on water. Our Savior can calm the storm with one command. Our rescue has already come!

Our Savior is the One who says – yes, you will have trouble in this world. But take heart! I have overcome the world!

Has He forgotten us?

No.

Let us not forget Him. Let us not forget who we are in Him.

Let’s commit to love, to hope. Let’s commit to kindness. Let’s commit to prayer because prayer matters. If not us – if not the children of God who have been set free by His power and ransomed by His love – then who will declare His love to a world that needs it? Who else will love their neighbors as themselves and pray for their enemies?

This is the time for us – the Church – to let the Light of the world shine through us.

This is my reminder and yours– the darkness does not ever, ever, ever overcome.

Don’t be afraid to shine.

Love,

Christie

Genesis 8 

But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and livestock with him in the boat. He sent a wind to blow across the earth, and the floodwaters began to recede. The underground waters stopped flowing, and the torrential rains from the sky were stopped. So the floodwaters gradually receded from the earth. After 150 days, exactly five months from the time the flood began, the boat came to rest on the mountains of Ararat. Two and a half months later, as the waters continued to go down, other mountain peaks became visible.

After another forty days, Noah opened the window he had made in the boat and released a raven. The bird flew back and forth until the floodwaters on the earth had dried up. He also released a dove to see if the water had receded and it could find dry ground. But the dove could find no place to land because the water still covered the ground. So it returned to the boat, and Noah held out his hand and drew the dove back inside. After waiting another seven days, Noah released the dove again. This time the dove returned to him in the evening with a fresh olive leaf in its beak. Then Noah knew that the floodwaters were almost gone. He waited another seven days and then released the dove again. This time it did not come back.

Noah was now 601 years old. On the first day of the new year, ten and a half months after the flood began, the floodwaters had almost dried up from the earth. Noah lifted back the covering of the boat and saw that the surface of the ground was drying. Two more months went by, and at last the earth was dry!

Then God said to Noah, “Leave the boat, all of you—you and your wife, and your sons and their wives. Release all the animals—the birds, the livestock, and the small animals that scurry along the ground—so they can be fruitful and multiply throughout the earth.”

 So Noah, his wife, and his sons and their wives left the boat. And all of the large and small animals and birds came out of the boat, pair by pair.

 Then Noah built an altar to the Lord, and there he sacrificed as burnt offerings the animals and birds that had been approved for that purpose. And the Lord was pleased with the aroma of the sacrifice and said to himself, “I will never again curse the ground because of the human race, even though everything they think or imagine is bent toward evil from childhood. I will never again destroy all living things. As long as the earth remains, there will be planting and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night.”

Together We Follow: Genesis 7

Last Thursday, we read Genesis 6. We saw how the world was filled with violence and how God was broken-hearted over the corruption and pain. We read about the one righteous man left on earth and God’s faithfulness to him. So that Noah would be rescued – so that humanity would be saved – God instructed him to build an ark.

Today, we move into chapter 7…this is the moment when the boat is finished and God is telling Noah that it’s time to board with his family because the waters will soon come.

But at the moment, my mind keeps going to the space between Chapter 6 and Chapter 7.

This is the time after God has given direction and before the work is done. These are the days, for Noah, of telling his family what God had said to him. These are the days of going out to collect supplies, to cut down trees, to gather and store food. This is day after day of getting out of bed and getting to work – without a rain drop falling to reassure him, Noah led his family in a massive and unprecedented mission.

It couldn’t have been easy. There must have been moments of doubt, of fear. There must have been days when it all felt like too much, like too hard of a thing to ever complete.

Every morning, he had to make the decision to trust God. And this trust wasn’t just a matter of the heart — every morning, he had to make the decision to act upon the foundation of that trust. With every plank put into place, every swipe of pitch, every stored vegetable, he was saying again – I believe You. I trust You.

Every morning, he had to put his faith in who he knew God to be – and no matter what anyone else was saying, no matter the obstacles, no matter the illogical appearance of his task — he kept moving forward. And at the end of the day, he had to rest in God’s sovereignty. He had to rest – find peace – in in his faith that God was with him. He staked everything – all he had, his family, his life’s work – in the promise of God.

And at the right time, Noah saw it with his own eyes: God is faithful. He does what He says He will do.

I think this is where we are on many days, in many ways. The time between planting and harvest can stretch out, sometimes farther than we can see, and the every-day tending is an act of trust, a life of faith.

When we are weary, when the job seems too hard, when everything feels like too much…we rest in who He is: the lifter of our heads, sufficient grace in our weakness, the One who strengthens our tired hands.

Every morning, we decide again that we will keep moving forward, we will obey, we will be faithful in all the small things. Every morning, we say again – I choose to trust You. Every day, we make the choice to live in a constant surrender, trusting in who He is, boldly staking everything we have in His promises.

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Genesis 7

When everything was ready, the Lord said to Noah, “Go into the boat with all your family, for among all the people of the earth, I can see that you alone are righteous. Take with you seven pairs—male and female—of each animal I have approved for eating and for sacrifice, and take one pair of each of the others. Also take seven pairs of every kind of bird. There must be a male and a female in each pair to ensure that all life will survive on the earth after the flood. Seven days from now I will make the rains pour down on the earth. And it will rain for forty days and forty nights, until I have wiped from the earth all the living things I have created.”

So Noah did everything as the Lord commanded him.

Noah was 600 years old when the flood covered the earth. He went on board the boat to escape the flood—he and his wife and his sons and their wives. With them were all the various kinds of animals—those approved for eating and for sacrifice and those that were not—along with all the birds and the small animals that scurry along the ground. They entered the boat in pairs, male and female, just as God had commanded Noah. After seven days, the waters of the flood came and covered the earth.

When Noah was 600 years old, on the seventeenth day of the second month, all the underground waters erupted from the earth, and the rain fell in mighty torrents from the sky. The rain continued to fall for forty days and forty nights.

That very day Noah had gone into the boat with his wife and his sons—Shem, Ham, and Japheth—and their wives. With them in the boat were pairs of every kind of animal—domestic and wild, large and small—along with birds of every kind. Two by two they came into the boat, representing every living thing that breathes. A male and female of each kind entered, just as God had commanded Noah. Then the Lord closed the door behind them.

For forty days the floodwaters grew deeper, covering the ground and lifting the boat high above the earth. As the waters rose higher and higher above the ground, the boat floated safely on the surface. Finally, the water covered even the highest mountains on the earth, rising more than twenty-two feet above the highest peaks. All the living things on earth died—birds, domestic animals, wild animals, small animals that scurry along the ground, and all the people. Everything that breathed and lived on dry land died. God wiped out every living thing on the earth—people, livestock, small animals that scurry along the ground, and the birds of the sky. All were destroyed. The only people who survived were Noah and those with him in the boat.  And the floodwaters covered the earth for 150 days.

Together We Follow: God’s Highway

“I’m holding onto you, Lord
You’re holding onto me…
I’m holding onto you, Love
You’re holding onto me…”

I’m feeling a little fragile tonight. A year ago, the sun set in glory like I’d never seen before and my Papaw went Home to see Jesus face-to-face, to sing ‘holy, holy, holy’ around the throne of God. The memories of last year are close, and what I’m really yearning for is the future…if only we could pull that veil before our eyes aside for just a moment, to see how close the Kingdom of God truly is. If only we could get a glimpse of that joy made complete, the glory that outweighs all of our pain.

I like to think about the Father’s house, which has been made ready for us…where Father and Son are eager for our presence, where they wait with open arms to welcome us Home.

I like to think of the reunions and the laughter, the stories we will hear, the moments we will share. I like to think of the pure delight that will come with the first moment I hear my grandfather singing in a great Kingdom-of-Heaven choir.

I am holding onto the hope that we all share – because this road we’re taking, it leads to a real place, a real moment in time, the reality of life with Him. We are looking forward to a city  with foundations built by God, a city that cannot be shaken, a city where we will find our forever-Home.

And I can almost hear that great cloud of witnesses urging us on. I wonder if they’re saying something like – you’re closer than you know…it’s all worth more than you know…your faith will be made sight. Don’t give up. Don’t give up. Don’t give up! 

Eyes on Him, heart fixed on His promises…let’s keep walking, steady on. Let’s keep walking toward Home and the welcoming arms waiting for us there.

“Fear not, keep on, watch and pray
Walk in the light of God’s highway.”

“…they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.-Hebrews 11:16

“You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” -Psalm 16:11

 

Together We Follow: Genesis 6

 

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The next events we witness on our path through Genesis are not easy to see. There’s sadness here, immeasurable grief and pain.

But there’s hope here, too, because God doesn’t leave us alone in the hardest parts of this life. He always, always gives us a chance to take refuge in Him.

We’ve read the family trees. We’ve seen that Cain’s descendants put their roots deep in this earth, making names for themselves and bragging about acts of violence. We’ve seen that Seth, the third son of Adam, is the forefather of men who call upon the name of the Lord, men who walk faithfully with Him.

Years upon years pass…generations of men and women begin to fill the earth.

Genesis 6

Then the people began to multiply on the earth, and daughters were born to them. The sons of God saw the beautiful women and took any they wanted as their wives. Then the Lord said, “My Spirit will not put up with humans for such a long time, for they are only mortal flesh. In the future, their normal lifespan will be no more than 120 years.”

In those days, and for some time after, giant Nephilites lived on the earth, for whenever the sons of God had intercourse with women, they gave birth to children who became the heroes and famous warriors of ancient times.

The Lord observed the extent of human wickedness on the earth, and he saw that everything they thought or imagined was consistently and totally evil. So the Lord was sorry he had ever made them and put them on the earth. It broke his heart. And the Lord said, “I will wipe this human race I have created from the face of the earth. Yes, and I will destroy every living thing—all the people, the large animals, the small animals that scurry along the ground, and even the birds of the sky. I am sorry I ever made them.”

It’s not easy to think about God – the Creator who lovingly shaped our earth and everything on it, calling it all good – deciding to destroy all living things. It is not easy to think about God destroying mankind.

We have to know that this was no abrupt conclusion, no hasty decision. What have we seen about the character of God so far?

He made Adam and Eve in His own image. He created an entire home full of everything they needed to thrive. He gave life. He warned men when they were in danger of letting sin take control of them. He was merciful even when they did not listen and allowed sin to enter their hearts, to motivate their actions. He was still there. He still took care of them, even promising that their own offspring would one day crush the enemy. He still gave life even when people chose death. 

So how did we get to this point? Because God doesn’t change, we have to know that — even though it isn’t written out in detail – His character stayed true through every generation. This means we can feel confident that He warned of sin, gave opportunities for repentance, showed mercy to those who turned to Him. We can be sure that the offer of life was ever in His outstretched hands.

We can also be sure that this gift of life was ignored, again and again, by this generation of our history. The passage says that every heart was evil. Every desire, every action, every decision was made from a place of greed, selfish ambition, hatred. We can only imagine how this affected every-day life. We can only imagine the violence, the poisonous words, the injury to spirit and body. We can only imagine that no one was safe and that every passing year brought more destruction, more heartbreak.

God looked at this planet He’d formed, at these precious people He loved, and they were incessantly – brutally – hurting each other. There was no peace, no rest, no innocence left among these men and women He’d only wanted to give joy and abundant life. Mankind was destroying each other.

And it broke His heart.

But in the chaos, one man remained fixed on the foundation he’d been given by his father. One man stood his ground and lived according to what pleased God, even while the rest of the world went their own way.

But Noah found favor with the Lord.

This is the account of Noah and his family. Noah was a righteous man, the only blameless person living on earth at the time, and he walked in close fellowship with God. Noah was the father of three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

Now God saw that the earth had become corrupt and was filled with violence. God observed all this corruption in the world, for everyone on earth was corrupt.

So God said to Noah, “I have decided to destroy all living creatures, for they have filled the earth with violence. Yes, I will wipe them all out along with the earth!

Build a large boat from cypress wood and waterproof it with tar, inside and out. Then construct decks and stalls throughout its interior. Make the boat 450 feet long, 75 feet wide, and 45 feet high. Leave an 18-inch opening below the roof all the way around the boat. Put the door on the side, and build three decks inside the boat—lower, middle, and upper.

Look! I am about to cover the earth with a flood that will destroy every living thing that breathes. Everything on earth will die. But I will confirm my covenant with you. So enter the boat—you and your wife and your sons and their wives. Bring a pair of every kind of animal—a male and a female—into the boat with you to keep them alive during the flood. Pairs of every kind of bird, and every kind of animal, and every kind of small animal that scurries along the ground, will come to you to be kept alive. And be sure to take on board enough food for your family and for all the animals.”

So Noah did everything exactly as God had commanded him.

Again, God provided the way of life.

In His just ways, in His faithfulness to the promise He’d made to Adam and Eve, God was not going to abandon Noah.

I’ve often wondered about Noah and his family. In a world filled with violence and corruption, there must have been days when they felt overwhelmed. Afraid. There must have been days when they didn’t know how they would survive. I wonder if Noah thought about what would happen to his family when he died, worried about the lives of his sons and their sons after them.

I imagine there must have been times when he felt alone, like he was carrying the weight of his family’s well-being on his shoulders .

But he wasn’t alone and the future was not hopeless, in spite of how circumstances seemed.

God promised rescue, if Noah would hear and obey His word,  from the violence, from the pain, from the unremitting struggle on the earth.

It would come at a great price, at a high cost – but God would use this man and his family to save the human race. As long as even one man was seeking Him, God would be there.

And one day, generations down the line, He would put on flesh and take the judgment of sin Himself – those wages that are death – so that no other man or woman would have to bear it. It’s His way, to provide salvation for us. In His love, He never wants our hearts to remain far from His.

Because God’s children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death.-Hebrews 2:14

 

 

 

 

Together We Follow: Genesis 5

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On a day that I’m feeling the weight of a hard week, it is good to remember God’s faithfulness. It’s good to remember that when He makes promises, He keeps them. It’s good to remember that if we center our lives on Him and seek Him with all our hearts, He will be with us in every circumstance, He will stay with us in every unexpected place in our lives, He will complete the good work He started in us…He will make a way for things to work out for our good, even when we can’t see how it’s possible.

This family tree we’re reading today reminds me of all that.

We see a lot of family trees recorded in scripture. It’s a lot of detail, I know, but it’s written there for us. The beautiful purpose of every preserved name, noting every generation that follows the first man and wife, shows us the fulfillment of God’s promises that the enemy would be crushed by the seed of Adam and Eve.

We can see that God’s faithfulness kept going and going, through every generation. We can see that He knew every name – He was present with His people. We see that He delighted in their friendship — for Enoch, a man who sought after God with His whole life, God bypassed death. Because he invited God into his every day, God was there. He came to where Enoch was and walked with Him…and when the time came, He simply took Enoch from the Earth and brought him into the heavenly kingdom.

I don’t know if you might have a heavy-heart today or if all is well…either way, we have the same truth that this passage reveals. He knows us…He is unfolding the fulfillment of the promises He has made to us with every passing day. He has already come to where we are…and He didn’t leave. He is with us. From this life to the one-day of His Kingdom that we will see with our own eyes and walk with our own feet, we are invited to abide in Him. He is our safe place. He is our refuge.

This is the written account of the descendants of Adam. When God created human beings, he made them to be like himself. He created them male and female, and he blessed them and called them “human.”

When Adam was 130 years old, he became the father of a son who was just like him—in his very image. He named his son Seth. After the birth of Seth, Adam lived another 800 years, and he had other sons and daughters. Adam lived 930 years, and then he died.

When Seth was 105 years old, he became the father of Enosh. After the birth of Enosh, Seth lived another 807 years, and he had other sons and daughters. Seth lived 912 years, and then he died.

When Enosh was 90 years old, he became the father of Kenan. After the birth of Kenan, Enosh lived another 815 years, and he had other sons and daughters. Enosh lived 905 years, and then he died.

When Kenan was 70 years old, he became the father of Mahalalel. After the birth of Mahalalel, Kenan lived another 840 years, and he had other sons and daughters. Kenan lived 910 years, and then he died.

When Mahalalel was 65 years old, he became the father of Jared. After the birth of Jared, Mahalalel lived another 830 years, and he had other sons and daughters.Mahalalel lived 895 years, and then he died.

When Jared was 162 years old, he became the father of Enoch. After the birth of Enoch, Jared lived another 800 years, and he had other sons and daughters. Jared lived 962 years, and then he died.

When Enoch was 65 years old, he became the father of Methuselah. After the birth of Methuselah, Enoch lived in close fellowship with God for another 300 years, and he had other sons and daughters. Enoch lived 365 years, walking in close fellowship with God. Then one day he disappeared, because God took him.

When Methuselah was 187 years old, he became the father of Lamech. After the birth of Lamech, Methuselah lived another 782 years, and he had other sons and daughters. Methuselah lived 969 years, and then he died.

When Lamech was 182 years old, he became the father of a son. Lamech named his son Noah, for he said, “May he bring us relief from our work and the painful labor of farming this ground that the Lord has cursed.” After the birth of Noah, Lamech lived another 595 years, and he had other sons and daughters.  Lamech lived 777 years, and then he died.

After Noah was 500 years old, he became the father of Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

Together We Follow: Genesis 4: 17-26

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Today, we’re reading about two lines that descend from Adam and Eve.

The first begins with Cain. The last time we saw him, he’d just received mercy from God. Even though he shattered his family — even though he killed his own little brother, breaking the hearts of Adam and Eve, he was given the chance to go out into the world and make a life for himself.

The book of Romans tells us that the kindness of God is to bring us to repentance — but this chance to humble himself, this undeserved chance to change does not seem to alter Cain’s heart. We can see this in the unfolding of his lineage…although we see how he builds a city, how his family focuses on skills and crafts, how they seem to make their names known – we don’t see any mention of offering, of sacrifice to the Lord, of worship. We don’t see that Cain teaches his children or their children about the Creator. We do see that one of his descendants, Lamech, is not afraid to break the pattern God into place for marriage and takes two women as wives. We also get to hear how he boasts to his wives, Adah and Zillah, about his murderous act to kill a young man who has injured him. Instead of showing distress at this violence, he refers to the mark of God’s mercy placed upon his forefather Cain, multiplying for himself the vengeance promised to anyone who would touch him.

This does not sound like a generation taught to be grateful for God’s grace. This does not sound like a generation taught to live wisely, but perhaps to take mercy for granted…perhaps, even, to exploit it. This sounds like men choosing their own way, their own needs, and their own pride.

We will see, as we continue into the next chapters, that these generations descend into evil and violence. We will see that their greed and disregard for God leads to a world unsafe and a Creator with a broken heart.

On the other hand, the third son that is born to Adam goes a different way — we aren’t shown, in this passage, a long line of descendants. We’re told that he had a son, named him Enosh, and that they began to call on the name of the Lord. Without much detail, it’s easy to see — Seth taught his son about the Lord…and he had this knowledge because of his parents.

We will soon see that this knowledge mattered – as it set the course for their own personal lives, their own relationships with each other and with God…it also mattered for the course of humanity.  As the generations unfold, we will come to a righteous son whose knowledge of the Lord, in the middle of a time with every other heart turned toward doing evil, will be the bridge to a new covenant with the Lord.

I want to remember that this difference between the two lines didn’t happen all in one swooping action. We’ve already seen that Cain’s crime wasn’t an abrupt change of character…it was a series of decisions that led to that fatal hour in the field. It was a series of choices that led to a family not seeking God’s face…just as it was Seth’s choice to raise up a son who would know the Lord.

It’s in the day-to-day, in the routine hours and minutes that we decide – is my heart set on God? Am I honoring Him on this random Tuesday night? Is praise on my lips when I wake up in the morning? Do I show His character to my children when we are scrambling to get ready for school, taking care of chores, getting through homework? When I am out in my neighborhood, in my town -do I show His love to the people I meet?

Are my moments lived in a way that adds up to a life reflecting my Father?

Our moments do matter, more than we can know. Our lives matter for this present time and for the generations that will follow us. May our days — our minute-by-minute decisions, our actions, our words, our hearts — stay surrendered to God, so that our lives will point to Him.

Genesis 4:17-24

17 And Cain knew his wife, and she conceived and bore Enoch. And he built a city, and called the name of the city after the name of his son—Enoch.  To Enoch was born Irad; and Irad begot Mehujael, and Mehujael begot Methushael, and Methushael begot Lamech.

Then Lamech took for himself two wives: the name of one was Adah, and the name of the second was Zillah. And Adah bore Jabal. He was the father of those who dwell in tents and have livestock. His brother’s name was Jubal. He was the father of all those who play the harp and flute. And as for Zillah, she also bore Tubal-Cain, an instructor of every craftsman in bronze and iron. And the sister of Tubal-Cain was Naamah.

Then Lamech said to his wives: “Adah and Zillah, hear my voice; Wives of Lamech, listen to my speech! For I have killed a man for wounding me, Even a young man for hurting me. If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, Then Lamech seventy-sevenfold.”

4:25-26

And Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and named him Seth, “For God has appointed another seed for me instead of Abel, whom Cain killed.”  And as for Seth, to him also a son was born; and he named him Enosh. Then men began to call on the name of the Lord.