Methuselah lived one hundred and eighty-seven years, and became the father of Lamech. Then Methuselah lived seven hundred and eighty-two years after he became the father of Lamech, and he had other sons and daughters. So all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred and sixty-nine years, and he died.
I remember growing up that we would be encouraged by the church to memorize Bible facts. We would even have Bible Quiz competitions between churches with teams that could compete nationally. Memorizing scripture is very valuable and if applied to life can result in changed behavior and perspective. And there is also the danger that Bible knowledge becomes Bible trivia.
One of those interesting Bible facts that kids the world over know is, who was the oldest man in the Bible? And those that are even a little more well schooled could give possible scientific reasons for his longevity. And some could go even a little further and point out his place in the lineage of Abraham and beyond. But after all of that, so what? What was the purpose of his life? What was his career? What did he accomplish beyond passing along his genes to the next of the lineage?
That is the beauty of this passage. We have no idea. We don't know what he did or who he helped. We don't even know if he was a nice guy. What we do know is that his life had a purpose. It had a purpose beyond what even he knew or realized. Every experience of his life, every decision of his life, every challenge of his life made him Methuselah. And Methuselah was the father of Lamech. He passed on to his son his life experiences. He was a part of the community that prepared the next generation. By living faithfully in the present he was preparing for the future. How? Because God has the plan.
I don't know what will happen tomorrow. I don't know how my daily life decisions are going to impact the future. I don't know in what lineage I may be included. What I do know is that when I walk in the ways of God I am preparing the future. When I do not walk in the ways of God I am destroying the future.
When I leave this earth I will be very comfortable if this was written on my tombstone, "Richard Carey...and he died". The three dots represent the totality of my life that God has given to me on this earth. When my time is done I will die with full confidence that it does not matter what people remember about my actions. My God knows. My God will use my life to prepare the future. My God will keep the story going. There is nothing more blessed than to be a line in the lineage because that God is writing the story.
But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.’”
There are so many familiar sayings from the Bible that are used in a variety of life situations. As often happens when something is repeated over time it tends to lose the original significance. This verse is used to encourage the reading of scripture which is an important and valid point. And as you look into the context of the quote you see that there is even more.
In response to temptation Jesus quoted Deuteronomy 8:3. The context of this quote is when the children of Israel were wandering in the wilderness and the Lord provided manna for them to eat. Cleary God was providing for their physical needs. Verse 2 says that God led them in the wilderness that they would be humbled. They were tested to see if they would follow the commandments of God. Verse 3 shows another way that they were humbled as God provided the manna. This unknown food was provided to show that humans do not just live by bread but again by the commandments of God.
What is the lesson? People continually separate human physical needs from spiritual needs. People prioritize one over the other often thinking that they have to provide for their own physical needs and then looking to God to provide spiritual satisfaction. But the reality is that bread cannot be separated from the Word. How we eat and how we drink cannot be separated from walking in the ways of God. The most mundane steps of life flow from the Word of God.
This was further taught to the Israelites in the laws of food and celebration. Food is not simply a reaction to hunger. It is part of walking in the ways of God. This was a lesson that Esau had to learn many years before the wilderness wandering. If we approach all decisions of life with this spiritual mindset we will view life in the way that Christ was viewing life in the wilderness. Every basic need was responded to with the Word of God. It is an incredible adventure to read the Bible with an expectation of Spiritual Wisdom for every question of life even to when to eat bread.
What then? If some did not believe, their unbelief will not nullify the faithfulness of God, will it?
I remember growing up hearing the story of "Old Yeller". He was this faithful yellow dog who stuck by his family no matter what they did or what happened in their lives. This is the concept of faithfulness that we love to associate with God's faithfulness to us. No matter what we do or how we fail He is always there to pick us up, dust us off, and then tell us to keep going.
But the significant difference is that God is not faithful to us. He is faithful to Himself. He is faithful to His Word. So while His faithfulness is connected to his forgiveness it is also connected to his righteousness. It is the the other aspect that we often forget. There is accountability to those who have been entrusted with His Word who do not walk in His ways.
For a pastor it is not enough to be preaching the Word of God without living the Word of God. It is not enough to point out the weaknesses of others without first seeing the weakness in ourselves. This is what Christ stated concerning the scribes and pharisees in Matthew 23:3 "therefore all that they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds; for they say things and do not do them." Every pastor should preach the sermon to themselves first.
God is faithful to His Word. The rest of Romans 3 addresses this vital truth that all are accountable for their rejection of God regardless of their knowledge and lineage. All have to make a decision to live the Word because in God's faithfulness there will be punishment.
This brings hope and it brings fear. It brings hope because we know that God is faithful to His Word which leads to salvation. It brings fear because we know that God is faithful to His Word and there will be judgement for all of sinned. God's faithfulness to His Word is not dependent on our response. Our response will determine how we are impacted by His faithfulness.