Of numbers in an epitaph… An epitaph is an inscription on a tombstone written in memory of a person who died.
Genesis 5 looks like a collection of epitaphs. This chapter records the genealogy (ancestry) of man from Adam to Noah. Each man’s epitaph contains his age when he first became a father, then the name of his first son, how long he lived to have other children; the sum of which would be his age when he died.
Of all the names listed, Enoch died youngest. Four short verses summarized his life.
When Enoch had lived 65 years, he became the father of Methuselah. After he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked faithfully with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Enoch lived a total of 365 years. Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more, because God took him away. (Gen. 5:21-24)
Interesting facts about Enoch:
- his son, Methuselah was oldest at 969 and his father, Jared, the 2nd oldest at 962.
- one of two youngest fathers at 65 – the other one was Mahalalel.
- the only one who walked faithfully with God. He was already 65 years old.
- the only one whose biography did not end with ‘And he died.’
- the only end with an explanation. He was no more ‘because’ God took him away.
Where did the others go? Why did they die? Didn’t God also take them away with their death? What’s different with Enoch? Hebrews 11:5 gives more detail: By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God.
Enoch walked with God 300 years. When he became a father at 65, he started walking with God. Perhaps, being a parent made him realized his need of God? How old does one have to be to start walking faithfully with God? More important than the starting point is the finish line. Enoch walked with God till the end. Two times in 4 verses record Enoch walked faithfully with God. If a short epitaph of 4 words were to describe my life, would it be ‘faithfully walked with God?’
At 365 years, when others lived at least twice as much, Enoch lived the shortest. Is life just a number? How long or how short?
To be no more, that was Enoch’s end. No more on earth? Does it matter? Yes, the reason matters… Because: this is a big word for life and living. Then he was no more because God took him away. When I am no more, what would be the reason? Who is the reason? Have I lived the life for which God intended for me? Has God’s purpose for my being been finished?
Today is a new day. Lord, help me to walk faithfully with you starting today and, in the days to come till Jesus returns or you call me home. Amen.