February 23, 2021 — As Old As Methuselah

The average lifespan worldwide today is 78.6 years, just about where Moses said it was 3500 years ago!

In Genesis 5:21 we read, “Enoch lived sixty-five years, and begot Methuselah.” Then verse 27 adds, “So all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred and sixty-nine years; and he died.” Have you ever heard the saying, “He’s as old as Methuselah”? Well, not quite! Methuselah had the longest recorded life of any man in history—969 years! But there’s a fascinating story behind this. Let’s get the big picture first. Just like in our lifetime, this man lived surrounded by increasing wickedness. We’ve seen amazing improvements in our lifestyle, but serious deterioration in our society. We have never been more blessed, and never more cursed. Look at the rise of internet porn, family breakdown, teen suicide, the sex slave trade, and drug addiction. More money breeds corruption, greed, and selfishness. Of course there are bright spots, and I like to think I’m an optimist, but the Bible says that “evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse” (2 Tim 3:13). In fact, the same chapter tells us that in the closing days of human history “perilous times will come.” Paul says people will be self lovers, money lovers, pleasure lovers, and not God lovers. Sound familiar? Well, so it was in Methuselah’s day. The world was getting ripe for the judgment of God’s flood just as it’s now getting ready for the judgment of God’s fire (2 Pet 3:3-7). So why did Methuselah live so long? His name is a clue: mathay means “to extend the time,” and shelach means “a missile of attack.” His long life was the measure of God’s patient grace. When he died, the flood came. How thankful we are that 2 Peter 3 also says, “The Lord is…longsuffering…, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come…” (vv 9-10).