The Flood • Devotion #1: Methuselah
It is really kind of interesting to see how God works through the meaning of people’s names. Methuselah is only mentioned seven times in the Bible, and aside from a little bit of information in Genesis, he is primarily listed in genealogies. What can we learn about this man named Methuselah?
In Genesis 5:21-27, you can learn the most about Methuselah; he is the oldest man ever to live recorded in history. He was 969 years old. He was the Son of Enoch and the grandfather of Noah. When you dig a little deeper into the meaning of his name things start to get interesting.
For a meaning of the name Methuselah, Jones dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names translates the whole name, “When He Is Dead It Shall Be Sent.”
“When He is dead it shall be sent!” kind of an ominous name to have as a kid I would think, but what is fascinating is that we see a prophecy given by Enoch through the name of his son. Often, we think it was just Noah that preached the judgment of the flood. However, there is evidence that Enoch and Methuselah would have known this day of judgment was coming as well. Consider this, God and Enoch where very close, they no doubt had conversations about where the world was at and where the world was going. In Genesis 6:6 you can read the thoughts of God, “And the Lord regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart.”
As I consider the meaning of Methuselah’s name, I cannot help but link that the prophecy of judgment and his age are somehow directly linked. Can you imagine being 969 years old? Imagine the family reunion! We get excited when we see someone turn 100, imagine doing that eight more times! So, we can see that the world in which Methuselah lived in was a wicked world, God was heartbroken at the way man lived. God’s patience was very long. I think what is incredible is that God had hope that man would change his ways, and He gave them every opportunity He could. In 2 Peter 3:9 we read, “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” In the prophecy of Methuselah, we can see the same patience that God showed the people of Noah’s time. God gave humanity the length of the oldest man ever recorded as a timeframe to turn their heart to God. Unfortunately, humanity in Noah’s day did not heed the warning and repent; they kept on living as if God’s patience would never run out.
Ironically, we have been given the same warning in Luke 17:26-27 where it says, “Just as it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of Man. They were eating and drinking and marrying and being given in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all.” We can look around in our society and see a world that pays no attention to honoring God; there is little effort in trying to please Him. Jesus is coming again, this time to judge the world. I know we do not like to hear this message, but that does not make it any less true. What is incredible is that God is so patient with us. He does not wish that “any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” God is calling for repentance and a returning to Himself. Will you be like the people in Noah’s day and miss it? Will you be willing to accept God’s mercy and patience with you, and call to Him for forgiveness in repentance? The application of Methuselah’s prophecy is clear; judgment is coming. Will we ignore it and test God’s patience with us or will we hear His message and repent?