Friday, September 10, 2010

She Walked with God

This morning I read from Genesis 5. Genesis 5 is not the most exciting part in all of Scripture to read. It is basically a genealogy of Adam and his sons and his son's sons and his...okay, you get the picture.

This chapter traces the descendants of Adam up through Noah. Verse after verse after verse is the same. Here's the pattern: When so and so had lived so many years, he became the father of so and so. After that he lived how ever many years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, so and so lived this many years, then he died. Over and over and over again. I told you-scintillating.

But then you get about 2/3 way through the chapter and the pattern all of a sudden changes with Enoch (Adam's great great great great grandson). Here is what we learn about Enoch.

When Enoch had lived 65 years, he became the father of Methuselah. And after he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Enoch lived 365 years. Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away. Genesis 5.21-24 (Emphasis mine)
Whoa! When you go to bed late and get up early and read a chapter like I read this morning, I will admit, sometimes it's hard to stay interested. Sometimes it's hard to understand how that part of Scripture can be relevant today. I know I sound super spiritual right now. But this verse stopped me in my tracks and woke me up. No caffeine needed. See, the Bible IS exciting!
Six generations of Adam's family go by and suddenly we see there is something special, something different about Enoch. He walked with God. This is the first person this has been said of thus far in Scripture. We might be able to assume that Adam and Eve had walked with God since He walked in the garden (Gen. 3.8) and surely no one else ever shared the same type of relationship with God as had Adam and Eve when they were still perfect, but the Bible does not expressly say that Adam walked with God.
So, to me, this verse is significant. Enoch walked with God. And how does this verse relate to marriage or parenting you might be wondering? (Remember my project?) Well, I am so glad you asked. For the answer (at least what my tired brain was thinking of this morning-not sure very many pastors would use this verse in a sermon on godly parenting), we have to keep reading. Next we learn about Enoch's son, Methuseleh.
When Methuselah had lived 187 years, he became the father of Lamech. And after he became the father of Lamech, Methuselah lived 782 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Methuselah lived 969 years, and then he died. (Genesis 5.25-27)
It's all becoming clear to you now right? Yeah, me either. Well, here's a little trivia fact that I remember from my days of studying theology in college (see Dad, I told you my education would be useful someday!): Methuseleh was the longest living person ever recorded. Don't ask me how that little nugget of information stuck in my head all these years when some days I don't remember the names of my children, but it did. And you can look it up and research it, or you can just trust me that it's true.
Now, I don't really know if this is a significant fact of history or not. Maybe Methuseleh ate healthy and exercised more than others. Maybe Methuseleh stayed away from all sorts of unhealthy habits. Maybe he lived by the adage, "I don't drink, I don't smoke, I don't chew. And I don't go out with girls who do." Who really knows?
But maybe, could it be possible, that Methuseleh's longevity had to do with who his father was. That his father walked with God? Maybe not, it could be purely coincidental. But if the writer of Genesis thought it an important enough detail to share then I think it's significant. Or it could just be that in all my bleary-eyed tiredness this morning, I was looking for a way to connect the dots.
Here is my journal entry for this morning: "Saying that Enoch 'walked with God' is a deviation from the pattern of the previous verses (Lord, may the same be said of me.) Enoch's son Methuseleh was the longest living person in recorded history. This is interesting given the obvious faith of his father. I wonder if the two are connected? I don't know for sure, but I do know one thing: my own children will be blessed if it can be said of me that I 'walked with God.'"
She shoots. She scores. And the crowd goes wild. Or not. I don't know, maybe it's a stretch. Maybe I am reading way too much into the text. But I do know the one fact is true. If I walk with God, my children (and probably my children's children, and my children's...okay you get it) will indeed be blessed. The Bible clearly speaks to that fact in a multitude of places, like here and here and here, to name a few.
The truth is, as Christian parents, our children should clearly see us walking with God. One of my favorite passages of Scripture, one I refer to often when the going gets tough with homeschooling and I need a reminder of WHY IN THE WORLD I would want to do such a thing. One that has often brought me to my knees, crying out to God for myself as a mother. One that has the power to make me desperate for Him and reminds me where my focus needs to be in this crazy adventure we call parenting. Here it is-you ready for it?
Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. (Deuteronomy 6.4-9)
Whoa! Go ahead, read it again. Soak it up. God sets a pretty high standard doesn't He? I could write a blog a day for a year and still not touch the surface of all the implications and meaning of these verses. And if you remember, Jesus Himself said that this was the greatest commandment (verse 4).
How are YOU doing with it? I'll tell ya, most days, I suck at it. I mean, really, really suck at it. I am all about being honest and transparent. I am in no way the perfect parent. I fail at this much more than I succeed. So I hope no one thinks I am trying to hold up some impossible standard. The truth is, without God, it IS impossible. But it MUST somehow be possible because we all know plenty of parents and children who are awesome examples of this.
How do they do it? How do I do it (when I do succeed? and I may be biased but I have a bunch of pretty darn good kids who are much better than me at this whole loving God thing, so I must be doing something right)? How do YOU do it? Well, to quote one of my favorite authors, Beth Moore, "With Christ, you can do the things you can't." She has a great way of putting things so obviously and simply.
The truth is, I CAN'T do it. The truth is, I'm NOT doing it. I have to tell ya, it always makes me feel so good when someone complements the job I am doing with my kids or tells me how great they are. But, as much as I would like to say it is because they have me for a mother, I know deep in my heart of hearts, that couldn't be further from the truth. I know it's not about me at all. And I'm okay with that. In fact, I am more than okay with it. I am happy to give the glory to God for all His goodness and faithfulness to this wandering heart.
We were out to eat with the kids yesterday for lunch. And the kids were awesome! We always get comments wherever we go just because we have more than the "normal" amount of children. Comments like, "are they all yours?" and "you have your hands full" and "how do you do it?" All. The. Time. Yesterday was no exception. There was a couple sitting behind us and as they left they remarked to us about how well-behaved our kiddos were and how hard it must be to take care of all of them and how busy we must be. I, of course, beamed with pride because of course I know my kids are great.
Fast forward to dinner last night, also eaten out. What can I say? It was a hard day! My boys are literally wrestling on the floor in the lobby of the restaurant. They are so loud I want to pretend like I don't know them. They completely forget their manners. Everyone around us assumes we ordered hay for them to eat, since they were, after all, obviously born in a barn. Truth? I wanted to crawl under the table and hide. I would have found plenty to eat under there with the mess they made.
Thank God it isn't about me!!! Thank God for His grace and mercy. Thank God that my children have a perfect heavenly Father, who more than makes up for my own weaknesses and failures. Thank God for His Holy Spirit residing in the hearts of my children that can help them recall the times when I do succeed at this and help them to live more and more like God. Thank God!
Be diligent about pursuing God and let your children see you doing it. You can give them no greater gift. Our children see and hear everything we say and do. How many times have you said something to your kids, totally forgotten about it, and they are the ones to remind you? If you are like me, probably too many times to count. Yesterday was a hard day, like I said, and I was giving Rick a kiss in the van to encourage him, and you should have heard the kids laughing and squealing with delight to catch Mommy and Daddy in a moment of intimacy-it totally made our day. We like to embarass them like that. They see EVERYTHING! Be diligent about making sure what your kids see is your intimacy with God. But don't beat yourself up when you fail. The great thing about our kids is that they are resilient and love us anyway. And the great thing about God is that He gives us as many do-overs as we need. It's never too late to start over.
Can your children say of you, "She (or he) walks with God."?

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