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He Was and Was Not


Genesis 5:21-24
21When Enoch had lived 65 years, he fathered Methuselah. 22Enoch walked with God after he fathered Methuselah 300 years and had other sons and daughters. 23Thus all the days of Enoch were 365 years. 24Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him.

The Story: Enoch comes up in the list, one of the real people through whom God’s plan of redemption descended through this early period of history. In a certain, mysterious way, Enoch was “more real” than the other people in this genealogy. He “walked” with God. The particular form in which this verb appears in these two verses (for you Hebrew jocks, hithpael—reflexive) intensifies and sharpens the focus of the very common verb, “to walk.” It’s almost like “walked with himself” or “within himself”—as if to suggest a more concentrated and intentional “walking” or, we might say, “lifestyle.” While all these offspring of Seth are the sons and daughters of God (see on, Gen. 6:1-3), Enoch stood out among them, both for the intensity of his relationship with God and the consistency of it (300 years!). Then, inexplicably, Enoch “was not, for God took him.” We can only speculate about this. Why did God “take” him? And how? We can’t answer either of these except to say that it pleased God to do so, however He did it. But don’t miss this—do not miss this: Where did God take Enoch? To Himself, of course. God didn’t kill Enoch or destroy him or merely remove him. He took Him, like a thief in the night. Here Moses gives us a tantalizing glimpse beyond time and history and the slog of getting by in a sinful world, to a “time” and a “place” of God’s choosing and means, when those who “walk” with Him may expect to be taken to Him, into His goodness and pleasure and being. Moses fast-forwards to the end of the story and shines a glimmer of hope into this chain of begetting and dying (and, catch your breath, he’s going to do it again in just a bit). The story, ever so brief, of Enoch is meant to raise more questions about what’s coming than about what happened to him.

The Structure: You have to read these time-outs slowly, reflectively, thinking back, thinking around, and, when prompted, thinking ahead. As you can see, there’s lots here to chew on and savor.

What would it look to describe someone today as one who “walked with God” like Enoch did?


Genesis 1-12 begins the story of God’s covenant and redemption. For a fuller exposition of this story, order a copy of the book, Far As the Curse is Found, by Michael D. Williams, from our online store.

The Worldview Bible examines the teaching of Scripture according to the Story and Structure of Truth—the Framework of Christian Worldview—using only other Scriptures for illumination. Information about The Framework of Truth is available on this site. Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
 
Genealogies: Why?


Genesis 5:6-20
6When Seth had lived 105 years, he fathered Enosh. 7Seth lived after he fathered Enosh 807 years and had other sons and daughters. 8Thus all the days of Seth were 912 years, and he died…18When Jared had lived 162 years he fathered Enoch. 19Jared lived after he fathered Enoch 800 years and had other sons and daughters. 20Thus all the days of Jared were 962 years, and he died.

The Story: Ohmagosh! Is anything more boring than these genealogies? As I kid I tried several times to read the Bible through, always beginning at Genesis 1. The first several times I quit at Genesis 5. Then I decided to get over this boring hump and press on. Which I did until I hit Genesis 11. Then I gave up. Why are these genealogies included? They’re part of God’s “time-outs”, “rest stops” in the journey of Scripture where we’re supposed to slow down, recover our thoughts, refocus on the narrative, and get ready for the next stage in the story of redemption. They play an important role, which they fulfill in several ways. First, they remind us that the story of God’s redemption descends through history by means of real people living in a real time in the same world as we live in today. Genealogies often provide historical “pegs”—people whose existence can be identified from sources other than Scripture—and thus reminds us that redemption unfolds in particular historical and social contexts. Second, they tell us that, while most of these people are unremarkable, they are nevertheless memorable for what they represent: the progress of redemption, and especially as that redemption moves inexorably toward Jesus Christ (Matt. 1; Lk. 3). Further, all this begetting and dying recalls Genesis 1 and 3, the grace of God, the mission of mankind, and the consequences of sin. As we shall see in chapter 6, the threads of grace and sin interweave in the tapestry of redemption, always according to God’s pleasure and plan, and always in real, personal, and historical ways. The genealogies also provide a setting for key figures to appear, people who stand out or with whom readers might be able to identify. Does this matter? Just look at the current fascination with genealogies and discovering our “roots” (my son-in-law, Andy, the family genealogist, reports that I am related to John Milton: Just sayin’). Finally, the genealogies remind us that God’s attention is not simply focused on His plans and story as some abstract plot; He “remembers” individual people, their circumstances, and their contribution—even if only to live and beget and die—to His great and glorious economy.

The Structure: So I dare you to get bored reading these genealogies! Think, as you read through them, not just of the names and repetitive phrasing, but of what God was doing in and through these people, how He regards each of them and their place in the divine economy, and how they together keep the story line of redemption marching forward in time. Remember, these people are watching you read their story, even if it’s brief (Heb. 12:1). Then remember that you are remembered by God in that story as well.

How much of your own genealogy lines up with the story of redemption related in God’s Word? Trace it out and see what you can discover.


Genesis 1-12 begins the story of God’s covenant and redemption. For a fuller exposition of this story, order a copy of the book, Far As the Curse is Found, by Michael D. Williams, from our online store.

The Worldview Bible examines the teaching of Scripture according to the Story and Structure of Truth—the Framework of Christian Worldview—using only other Scriptures for illumination. Information about The Framework of Truth is available on this site. Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
 
Good News and Bad


Genesis 5:1-5
5
This is the book of the generations of Adam. When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God. 2Male and female he created them, and he blessed them and named them Man when they were created. 3When Adam had lived 130 years, he fathered a son in his own likeness, after his image, and named him Seth. 4The days of Adam after he fathered Seth were 800 years; and he had other sons and daughters. 5Thus all the days that Adam lived were 930 years, and he died.

The Story: In the passages for this week we’re going to observe a practice in Scripture that it’s important to recognize. This is the Bible’s penchant for “bringing forward” previous teaching and depositing it into the present context—wherever we may be reading—with just a hint or a word. God is continually bringing forward His narrative in Scripture, by which He intends for us to keep always in mind as much as possible of the story line of redemption. The Bible is telling one story, and God never wants us to stray from that story line as we read in His Word. There are several examples of this in this passage. First, that phrase, “the generations” connects us back to Genesis 2. The story that began there is resuming here. Yes, there’s been a disruption, but the story is advancing. Next, we are briefly reminded that Adam and Eve were created by God in His image and likeness. That’s good to remember, given everything that transpired in the last two chapters! By noting this here Moses is saying, in effect, the human status as image-bearers continues, in spite of the fall into sin. “Blessed” reminds us of their place before God and their mandate to fill the earth and rule it. Each of these—status and mandate—continues, as indicated by the restatement of the birth of Seth from chapter 4. All this is good news! God has not given up on His original “good” and “very good” plan. But the “bad news” is part of the story as well. Seth bears Adam’s fallen and sinful likeness, as well as the image of God. And Adam, after living 930 years and father many sons and daughters, died, succumbing to the effects of sin warned about in Genesis 2. Thus we are reminded of this glum and somber truth: sin leads to death. The unfolding story of the Bible is like raking leaves in the fall. You’re always going back and gathering up “stragglers” from previous locations, keeping them under the rake and heading toward the pile. And, as we shall see, every “leaf” matters.

The Structure: Sometimes the narrative of Scripture seems to “slow down.” It’s a bit like a basketball game (March Madness is almost upon us!). The action proceeds apace for a season, then God calls a “time-out” to regroup, remember, and refocus before going back to the “action.” The “players”—readers—huddle together, listening and nodding their heads, as if to say, “OK, OK, got it. Can we get back to the game now?” If we approach these “time-out” passages—like Genesis 5—for what they are, we’ll appreciate them more.

If you could summarize the “story line” of Scripture as you understand it, what would you say?


Genesis 1-12 begins the story of God’s covenant and redemption. For a fuller exposition of this story, order a copy of the book, Far As the Curse is Found, by Michael D. Williams, from our online store.

The Worldview Bible examines the teaching of Scripture according to the Story and Structure of Truth—the Framework of Christian Worldview—using only other Scriptures for illumination. Information about The Framework of Truth is available on this site. Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
 
Revival


Genesis 4:25, 26
25And Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and called his name Seth, for she said, “God has appointed for me another offspring instead of Abel, for Cain killed him.” 26To Seth also a son was born, and he called his name Enosh. At that time people began to call upon the name of the Lord.

The Story: Meanwhile, back at the Adam and Eve homestead, the word about Cain and his descendants must certainly have trickled back. He was, after all, their child. The reports must have been troubling. A new son is born to our first parents, probably not long after Cain’s exit, and he is named Seth (which, in the Hebrew, sounds like the word for “appointed”). We are to gather from this that Adam and Eve are still trusting God, in spite of the dual tragedy they have experienced in the loss of both their sons. There is a note of gratitude in Eve’s voice, as well as of hope. God’s original plan for the creation is still in place, and He knows how to keep it moving forward. Seth takes a wife (a sister, no doubt) and they have a son. In this son’s generation revival began among the non-Cainite children of Adam and Eve. They began to “call upon the name of the LORD.” This phrase indicates looking to the Lord, trusting in Him, waiting on and serving Him – a desire to be seen as a people devoted to the Lord and not to the ways of Cain and his offspring. Two families of human beings are now in place, one rebellious and lawless, the other trusting and obedient. We breathe a sigh of relief at this point. But that sense of relief will be short-lived.

The Structure: What do you see or hear when you think of “calling” on the name of the Lord? Why is this verb particularly well-suited to express trust, faith, identity, and obedience?

What does it mean for you to “call” upon the name of the Lord?


Genesis 1-12 begins the story of God’s covenant and redemption. For a fuller exposition of this story, order a copy of the book, Far As the Curse is Found, by Michael D. Williams, from our online store.

The Worldview Bible examines the teaching of Scripture according to the Story and Structure of Truth—the Framework of Christian Worldview—using only other Scriptures for illumination. Information about The Framework of Truth is available on this site. Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
 
Sin and Culture


Genesis 4:23, 24
23Lamech said to his wives:
“Adah and Zillah, hear my voice;
you wives of Lamech, listen to what I say:

I have killed a man for wounding me,
a young man for striking me.

24
If Cain’s revenge is sevenfold,
then Lamech’s is seventy-sevenfold.”

The Story: Lamech is not the kind of man you’d want your sister to marry. He has a short temper and an extremely uncreative way of dealing with conflict. It’s not clear whether he killed one man or two. The Hebrew conjunction, vav, which precedes “a young man” (omitted by ESV) can mean “and” or “even.” Even if he killed only one man, and that for some personal slight or physical wound, it shows us how deep-set sin has become in the souls of Cain’s descendants. Further, not only does Lamech boast of his murderous ways – perhaps a warning to his wives to remember who’s boss? – but he presumes on the mercy of God, demanding even more grace than Cain received, because his transgression was much greater (which makes me think he killed two men). And he couches all this violence, presumption, and bullying in a song! Talk about culture becoming infected with sin, and then being used as a bludgeon to further sinful ways!

The Structure: What are we learning about culture so far, about its purposes, uses, and misuses? Does God want us to think of culture in any particular way?.

Do you think that culture – all kinds of culture – will tend toward honoring God and His ideas of goodness without direct involvement by those who understand His intentions for culture?


Genesis 1-12 begins the story of God’s covenant and redemption. For a fuller exposition of this story, order a copy of the book, Far As the Curse is Found, by Michael D. Williams, from our online store.

The Worldview Bible examines the teaching of Scripture according to the Story and Structure of Truth—the Framework of Christian Worldview—using only other Scriptures for illumination. Information about The Framework of Truth is available on this site. Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
 
The Beginnings of Culture


Genesis 4:17-22
17Cain knew his wife, and she conceived and bore Enoch. When he built a city, he called the name of the city after the name of his son, Enoch. 18To Enoch was born Irad, and Irad fathered Mehujael, and Mehujael fathered Methushael, and Methushael fathered Lamech. 19And Lamech took two wives. The name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other Zillah. 20Adah bore Jabal; he was the father of those who dwell in tents and have livestock. 21His brother’s name was Jubal; he was the father of all those who play the lyre and pipe. 22Zillah also bore Tubal-cain; he was the forger of all instruments of bronze and iron. The sister of Tubal-cain was Naamah.

The Story: Life after the fall continues with the introduction of culture. Cain builds a city, which becomes the center of life and activity for the first generations of his offspring. And, my, aren’t they a clever lot? They learn to domesticate livestock – a step up, it would seem, from managing flocks, but an application of the same principles. They become tent-makers (Paul would redeem that vocation in his day). They make music and instruments to accompany them, and all kinds of useful tools and utensils from the metals of the earth, hinted at in Genesis 2:12). Culture is just the artifacts, institutions, and conventions that human beings use to define, sustain, and enrich their lives. Making culture – like marriage, working the ground, and divisions of labor – is part of the way we exercise dominion over the earth. We can be encouraged to see that God gives gifts of culture-making even to those who prefer to remain apart from Him (cf. Ps. 68:18). His intention is that those gifts should be used for “good”, but very often they are not. The institution of marriage comes under the influence of sin here, as Lamech takes two wives, rather than the one God intended from the beginning. Those who reject the Lord will make use of His good gifts, but they will often corrupt them in the process.

The Structure: I’m sometimes asked, “Where’d Cain get his wife?” The answer, of course, is he married his sister. Don’t ask me how that happened or whether that is a good idea. It was a necessity in the beginning, and that’s the long and short of it.

How many different ways will you be involved with culture today? Meditate on 1 Corinthians 10:31. How can you know when your use of culture – even down to eating and drinking – is according to the guideline and standard mentioned here?


Genesis 1-12 begins the story of God’s covenant and redemption. For a fuller exposition of this story, order a copy of the book, Far As the Curse is Found, by Michael D. Williams, from our online store.

The Worldview Bible examines the teaching of Scripture according to the Story and Structure of Truth—the Framework of Christian Worldview—using only other Scriptures for illumination. Information about The Framework of Truth is available on this site. Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
 
The Tenacity of Grace


Genesis 4:13-16
13Cain said to the Lord, “My punishment is greater than I can bear. 14Behold, you have driven me today away from the ground, and from your face I shall be hidden. I shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.” 15Then the Lord said to him, “Not so! If anyone kills Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold.” And the Lord put a mark on Cain, lest any who found him should attack him. 16Then Cain went away from the presence of the Lord and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden.

The Story: Even though he is judged and rejected, condemned to a life of struggle, hardship, and wandering, Cain is not cast beyond the reach of God’s steadfast love. Grace continues to hold on even to rebellious sinners, providing their daily needs, sustaining and caring for them, filling their lives with many good things (cf. Pss. 104, 136). Even rebels are God’s creation, and He loves His cosmos so much that He sent His Son to redeem it (Jn. 3:16). Cain is crushed by the judgment of God. Good. He admits it’s more than he can bear – an indirect, if self-interested, plea for mercy. God grants protection to Cain by putting some “mark” on him. We do not know what this mark was, and speculations about it have sometimes gotten us in trouble. Best to leave it unidentified, but present and visible and easily understood. Evidently, God is able to make His intentions known to the consciences of human beings – where, of course, He has written the works of the Law (Rom. 2:14, 15). We also notice that God allowed Cain to settle “in the land of Nod, east of Eden.” So the condemnation to vagabondage is relaxed, showing us that God is so good He does not give us what we deserve, and even grants us what we don’t deserve.

The Structure:The story of God continues in the story of Cain and Abel. God wants what is “good” from and for us, but He does not wink at sin. His mercy and grace continue even in the midst of His judgment, because He has not given up on His good plan to restore creation to Himself.

How many different ways can you identify that the steadfast love and faithful of God attends to you each day?


Genesis 1-12 begins the story of God’s covenant and redemption. For a fuller exposition of this story, order a copy of the book, Far As the Curse is Found, by Michael D. Williams, from our online store.

The Worldview Bible examines the teaching of Scripture according to the Story and Structure of Truth—the Framework of Christian Worldview—using only other Scriptures for illumination. Information about The Framework of Truth is available on this site. Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
 
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