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Methuselah

Most folks I know want to live as long as they can. Why? The answer typically is because it gives us the opportunity to experience life to the full—to accomplish as much as possible through our work, to finish some long-term projects, to travel to exotic places, to watch our children, grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren grow up. But have we really pondered what a full life means?

Methuselah is mostly the answer to the trivia question, Who was the oldest man? He lived an incredible 969 years. (Can you begin to fathom the changes that have occurred from the year 1049 until the present?) Apart from his record age, however, we know nothing about Methuselah. Besides the brief record of his life in Genesis 5:22-27, he is mentioned only in the genealogies of 1 Chronicles 1:3 and Luke 3:37.

Was Methuselah a man of faith? Did he obey God? Did he make any lasting contributions to posterity? The Bible is silent. If the Genesis genealogy can be used to establish a chronology—an admittedly uncertain approach—he evidently died the year of the flood. Was he among the wicked destroyed in it, or did he just coincidentally die of “old age” that year? Living as long as he did, he certainly had plenty of opportunities to serve God. What use of them he made we do not know.

By way of contrast, Methuselah’s father lived only about a third as long. Nevertheless, Enoch left an unmistakable mark. Jude mentions him as a prophet (Jude 14-15). And Hebrews 11:5 says, “By faith Enoch was taken up so that he would not see death; and he was not found because God took him up; for he obtained the witness that before his being taken up he was pleasing to God.”

Methuselah’s grandson also left his mark. “Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord. . . .  Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his time; Noah walked with God” (Genesis 6:8-9). Surely you know the rest of his story!

When it comes to life, quantity is not nearly as important as quality. Even a short life brings glory to God if it is used in His service. Remember, Jesus lived only to about age thirty-three! A full life is fearing God and keeping His commandments (Ecclesiastes 12:13). Thank God for the time you have, and resolve to live each day for Him.

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