Monday, April 18, 2005

“in the eye’s of the LORD”

Noah is another one of these characters that we really don’t know much about, at least according to our Western standards of “knowing” somebody. To gain understanding about someone or to know who they are we typically start with, “what they do for a living.” For it seems, that in discovering what someone’s occupation is, which will usually tell us what kind of education they have received, which will tell us how intelligent they are, and how much money they make, which comes together to form the sum total of what we think about this person. Success, significance and status are often determined by these factors. Many of us are conditioned to come to these and very similar conclusions. These conclusive-paradigms permeate almost every aspect of our society. Unfortunately, the culture of the Church all to often looks through the same lens to see individuals.

In the opening accounts of Scripture were are given several prototypes for defining success and significance. One is found in Genesis chapter four. We are given the lineage of Cain. The author begins listing the descendent of Cain. When we get to Lamech (Genesis 4:19) the genealogical rhythm is interrupted. We are told that “Lamech took for himself two wives.” Was he the first to take two wives? We are not told for certain. Nonetheless, in this break of the rhythm we are given the names of Lamech’s sons: Jabal, Jubal and Tubal-Cain. We are then given impressive attributes about them and their accomplishments. Jabal developed skills in working with livestock and dwelling in tents, Jubal became a master inventor and instructor of those who would play wind instruments, and Tubal-Cain became and instructor of “every” craft relating to bronze and iron. As awesome as these advances may have been to civilization; ethics and integrity within Lamech’s household was at an all time low. Lamech himself was an arrogant, boasting, vengeful murder. Yet, for Lamech and his family it was “what a person accomplished” that determined their prestige and value as an individual.

On the other hand, starting in Genesis chapter five, we are given the genealogy of Adam and one of his other sons, Seth. The author once again begins the cadence of the genealogical rhythm. The cadence continues until we get to Enoch and then there’s an interruption. What will it say about this man Enoch? What did he do? What did he invent? What did he accomplish so that all the world renown’s his praise? What did this Enoch do comparable to the development of livestock, inventions of musical instruments, skills of bronze and iron? This is what a careful reader would be thinking as they came upon this once again interruption of the rhythm.

So, what does the author insert in the pause? Simply, “and Enoch walked with God.” Seems most disappointing at face value, does it not? Think about it. On one side of the family there is the emergence of the first Industrial Revolution taking place with unsurpassed developments and inventions, and on the other side of the family there is a merely a person “walking with God.”

As all of that is going on in the reader’s mind, the author lulls them back into the sing-song cadence of father begot son rhythm. Just as the reader becomes comfortable once again, another interruption is inserted. It is during this parenthetical interlude that we are given an updated description of the earth and the people that dwell therein. In short, mankind is wicked on every end. Every thought and intent of the heart is putrefied with lust-filled passion, violence and envy. The last time the author painted a description of God’s feelings towards creation and mankind was one that stated, “It is good. It is very good.” This picture has now been blurred with all the colors running together. God is now shown to be grieved, deeply hurt and greatly displeased.

This is the backdrop of this genealogical interruption. And the interruption takes place once again with a particular person, in the case Noah. The reader, at the interruption would once again be lured to ask himself, “but, what did this Noah create, invent or teach? Was he like Jabal, Jubal, or Tubal-Cain? Or, was he like Enoch, the last guy at the genealogical interruption?”

“Noah walked with God.” He was righteous, blameless and unfailingly obedience to the One he consciously walked with. As a result, he and his immediate family were all saved. Interestingly, of the direct descendant linking back to Adam, all had passed away before the flood came. Lamech (not to be confused with the Lamech of Genesis chapter four), died five years before the flood. Five is the biblical number symbolizing “grace,” and it was by grace that none of Adam’s (Seth’s side) direct descendants faced the judgment of the flood. And so it will be with all of those who are direct spiritual-descendants of the Second Adam.

In the economy of God it is not merely what a person does that establishes worth, but how a person “walks.” Do they walk with God? It is this walk with God, that permeates a person’s whole being, creating righteousness, blamelessness and obedience. It is this breed of people that find themselves doing great and mighty exploits with the One Who they walk with.

“Noah found favor (grace) in the eyes of the LORD.”
(Genesis 6:8)

Are you tempted to look first at a person’s occupation, education, financial status, etc to establish their worth, or do you instinctively look at a person’s “walk”?

Paul lamented in 2 Corinthians 5:16, “We no longer know anyone according to the flesh.” We must develop “eyes” to see like God those who in the midst of a multitude of wickedness and perversion, simply, yet significantly “walk with God.”

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