Genesis 4:25-5:32 Resisting the tide of evil by walking with God
25 Adam had relations with his wife again; and she gave birth to a son, and named him Seth, for, she said, “God has appointed me another offspring in place of Abel, for Cain killed him.” 26 To Seth, to him also a son was born; and he called his name Enosh. Then men began to call upon the name of the Lord.
1 This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day when God created man, He made him in the likeness of God. 2 He created them male and female, and He blessed them and named them Man in the day when they were created.
3 When Adam had lived one hundred and thirty years, he became the father of a son in his own likeness, according to his image, and named him Seth. 4 Then the days of Adam after he became the father of Seth were eight hundred years, and he had other sons and daughters. 5 So all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years, and he died.
6 Seth lived one hundred and five years, and became the father of Enosh. 7 Then Seth lived eight hundred and seven years after he became the father of Enosh, and he had other sons and daughters. 8 So all the days of Seth were nine hundred and twelve years, and he died.
9 Enosh lived ninety years, and became the father of Kenan. 10 Then Enosh lived eight hundred and fifteen years after he became the father of Kenan, and he had other sons and daughters. 11 So all the days of Enosh were nine hundred and five years, and he died.
12 Kenan lived seventy years, and became the father of Mahalalel. 13 Then Kenan lived eight hundred and forty years after he became the father of Mahalalel, and he had other sons and daughters. 14 So all the days of Kenan were nine hundred and ten years, and he died.
15 Mahalalel lived sixty-five years, and became the father of Jared. 16 Then Mahalalel lived eight hundred and thirty years after he became the father of Jared, and he had other sons and daughters. 17 So all the days of Mahalalel were eight hundred and ninety-five years, and he died.
18 Jared lived one hundred and sixty-two years, and became the father of Enoch. 19 Then Jared lived eight hundred years after he became the father of Enoch, and he had other sons and daughters. 20 So all the days of Jared were nine hundred and sixty-two years, and he died.
21 Enoch lived sixty-five years, and became the father of Methuselah. 22 Then Enoch walked with God three hundred years after he became the father of Methuselah, and he had other sons and daughters. 23 So all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years. 24 Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.
25 Methuselah lived one hundred and eighty-seven years, and became the father of Lamech. 26 Then Methuselah lived seven hundred and eighty-two years after he became the father of Lamech, and he had other sons and daughters. 27 So all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred and sixty-nine years, and he died.
28 Lamech lived one hundred and eighty-two years, and became the father of a son. 29 Now he called his name Noah, saying, “This one will give us rest from our work and from the toil of our hands arising from the ground which the Lord has cursed.” 30 Then Lamech lived five hundred and ninety-five years after he became the father of Noah, and he had other sons and daughters. 31 So all the days of Lamech were seven hundred and seventy-seven years, and he died.
32 Noah was five hundred years old, and Noah became the father of Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
Chapter 5 details the men of honour, the spine of righteousness on the earth. The genealogy of Seth attests to the providence of God in securing a way of salvation for mankind. Today’s devotion teaches us to walk with God and never give up resisting the tide of lawlessness and the humanistic culture. Our struggles that seems endless and pointless, will be rewarded at the appearance of Jesus, the Saviour of the righteous and Ruler of the universe.
Adam had relations with his wife again; and she gave birth to a son, and named him Seth.
In the vision of Eve, Abel embodies hope for the restoration of humanity and victory over darkness. However, Abel’s untimely demise spells sudden death of that vision. But the birth of Seth revives the vision that is once lost. Eve’s vision bears fruit as Seth’s descendants began to call upon the name of the Lord while looking to the restoration of righteousness on earth. The biblical idea of men calling upon the name of the Lord (see Joel 2:32, Acts 2:21) engenders repentance and the desire to return to God’s ways.
This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day when God created man, He made him in the likeness of God.
The genealogy in chapter 5 serves to immortalise the men who form the spine of righteousness on the earth. The lineage from Seth to Noah, and to the Christ attests to God’s providence in preserving a righteous lineage thus securing a way of salvation for mankind. Chapter 4 details names of wicked men that compose the spine of evil whose sin, like cancer spreads itself from Cain to Lamech, and to the beasts in the last days (see Revelations 13). This chapter also affirms the mandate of mankind; man multiplies in the image of God unabated by the fall. Both chapters (4 and 5) describe an ongoing battle between good and evil. The survival of humanity hinges on the perseverance of a godly lineage through which the Christ will be incarnated into the world.
Then Enoch walked with God three hundred years after he became the father of Methuselah.
Enoch is an enigmatic character as much as it is inspiring. He is twice described as a man who walked with God which suggests special intimacy with God and an extraordinary life of faithfulness and piety. At the age of 365, he disappears from the surface of the earth. The text, “and he was not…” as opposed to the usual phrase “then he died” shows that Enoch does not experience a normal death. This is affirmed by the description, “… for God took him”, similarly used in describing Elijah’s translation into heaven by a chariot of fire (see 2 Kings 2:1,5,9-10). While Enoch shares a similar calling with Elijah as prophet. What happens to Enoch sheds light on God’s desire to liberate his loved ones from a depraved and humanistic culture. The bible has records of only two men; Enoch and Elijah who do not experience physical death. Both appear similar in that they walk with God, detesting the evil of their time. In the legacy of Elijah, and it can also be said of Enoch; they display extraordinary zeal having done their utmost to preserve their generation from evil. Elijah and Enoch, having accomplished their work on earth is taken from their earthly abode into a heavenly one. Isaiah the prophet affirms God’s desire to liberate the righteous from the evil of their time,
The righteous man perishes, and no man takes it to heart;
And devout men are taken away, while no one understands.
For the righteous man is taken away from evil. Isaiah 57:1
Perhaps, the manner by which the righteous is taken away, either by supernatural means or normal death is to be seen in the light of their piety; these saints give their lives single-mindedly amidst great challenges to fulfil their divine commission. Both Enoch and Elijah are taken in a supernatural fashion, having received divine approval because of their extraordinary works and piety. Likewise, innumerable saints are martyred for the sake of the truth, being ushered into the heavenlies and glorified like the stars forever. Enoch and Elijah are taken up supernaturally but Stephen, Paul and Jesus die the martyr’s death, and all receive the glory that is due them. Nevertheless, God will not subject the righteous to needless suffering, but will receive them once they have accomplished that which they are sent for.
Now he called his name Noah, saying, “This one will give us rest from our work and from the toil of our hands arising from the ground which the Lord has cursed.”
Noah, in Hebrew literally means “rest”. Noah is instrumental in protecting mankind from utter destruction. By preserving his family from the flood’s destruction, he becomes the refounder of humanity (after Adam, the first founder), the new beginning of a righteous race through which man finds true reprieve from the curse of the earth.
Believers must persevere against the tide of evil by walking with God.
When one walks with God, he refuses to be tainted by fleshly desires or to blend into the culture of the world. Hence, it is expected that righteous men and women face an endless struggle against the tide of evil. They are scorned upon as whistle blowers, who tear up a good opportunity at the slightest hint of unethicality. I often witness good and principled individuals being repeatedly marginalised because of what they stand for. Nevertheless, God is in absolute control and will decide as to when our struggles should end and evil obliterated. Because He will not allow the righteous to suffer needlessly and endlessly; He will alleviate our suffering once we have accomplished God’s purposes. Hence, believers who are suffering should not seek a way out of it, but rather walk with God by speaking the truth to all who care to listen.
Enoch walks with God for 365 years struggling against the tide of evil before he is taken. He prophesies judgment on the ungodly, saying, “Behold, the Lord came with many thousands of His holy ones, to execute judgment upon all, and to convict all the ungodly…” Jude 14-15.
Elijah struggles long and hard with an idol worshiping Israel. And after slaughtering the 400 prophets of Baal, a death threat from Jezebel sees him running for his life. While making his escape, he falls to the ground requesting for himself that he may die. But God has determined that it is not time for him to be taken out of the world. By then, he has become so downtroddened, angels have to come and strengthen him twice before he is able to get up and walk for another 40 days.
Jesus, before his ascension to the cross, asks the Father not to take His disciples from their troubles as He has taken Enoch and Elijah. But to sanctify them with the truth,
I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. John 17:15-17
Many people react to the tide of evil by blending in and flowing with it. Their instinct is to always to swim with the current and to fold into the good books of the bosses. Malcolm Muggeridge once says, “Never forget that only dead fish swim with the stream.” These are so agreeable, always pandering towards the whims of those in authority. Peace with the world comes at the price of their conscience and divine ordination. By standing firm on the rock of truth in all that we say and do, we become the spine of righteousness, the beacon of truth in the community.
The poor, so often falls prey to lawless triads and humanistic values of churches and NGOs. As a result, many of the materially poor remain in poverty throughout their lives. They have never learned to resist the lure of handouts and quick fixes; which is another form of evil. Organisations from developed nations come into a poor area and immediately look for ways to alleviate poverty and sickness of the people through generous feeding programmes and medical missions. Well intended, but it only encourages undue dependence on material resources and handouts rather than the spiritual truths of the gospel. In a book, When Helping Hurts (by Steve Corbett), it encourages us to see the dignity in everyone, to empower the poor by teaching them the way and to know that we are all uniquely needy — and that God in the gospel is reconciling all things to himself. Therefore, believers must instruct the poor to resist the temptation of quick fixes to their problems. Churches and NGOs must discard the shallow approach towards charity work. But to walk with the needy, to instruct them and help them discover the gold within their spirit which is their eternal resource.
The world will have us believe that we are fighting a losing and pointless battle. But our fight will be rewarded at the appearance of Jesus when the righteous are taken out of the world and into the heavenlies where we will rule the universe with Christ forever.
How should believers sustain themselves through the passage of suffering? First, we must believe that God is taking detailed accounts of all our wonderings. And He has stored our tears in His bottle and writes them in His book (Psalms 56:8). Secondly, the psalmist encourages us to become a spine of truth in our community and to speak the truth to all who care to listen. Eventually, God’s faithfulness and strength will see to our complete victory over darkness.
The Lord is my strength and song,
And He has become my salvation…
I will not die, but live,
And tell of the works of the Lord. Psalms 118:14,17
Dear Lord, I make a decision to be salt and light to the world. Help me to recognise and differentiate between matters of preference and of truth. Give me the wisdom to pick the right battles and not to be distracted by insignificant controversies. Use me to create in my world a culture of justice, mercy and humility. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.