Verse by Verse Study of Genesis 5:1-32
Chosen by God
God chose you for a purpose! Do you believe that? It can be hard to see how and why God chose you, and for what purpose, but Genesis 5 helps you to see God’s greater plan and purpose for your life.
But you might say, “Genesis 5 is a genealogy of ancient people! How does that tell me about how I was chosen?” Continue reading to find out!
Genealogies are not most people’s favorite passages in the Bible, and most either skim over them or skip them all together. But genealogies, and particularly this genealogy in Genesis 5, show us how God has been faithfully at work from the beginning.
God chose his people, his chosen race, from the beginning, ‘before the foundation of the world’ (Ephesians 1:4 – ESV). Genealogies are part of God’s inspired Word, and they show us exactly how God has been at work, making his plans unfold, right from the start.
A Genealogy Inspired by God
Genealogies encourage us and give us hope. We can see that God is always at work and nothing gets missed under his careful watch.
They also help us grasp the long view of God’s plans. God’s plans include, and unfold in, the entire human history. We can’t always see how God is at work or see the results of his work. But genealogies and the events of the Bible help us see how everything is connected – everything is part of God’s plan. It’s human nature to want immediate results, and when we don’t see them, we begin to doubt God. Genealogies remind us that God is always at work, and there is nothing that wasn’t part of his plan.
Genealogies also help us to remain humble. We are only a breath in the scope of human history. When we believe that the world revolves around us, genealogies help us to see God’s greater picture.
The Chosen Race
God has a chosen race, and it first becomes evident in Genesis 5. This passage traces out the beginning of this chosen race and continues throughout the Bible, all the way to Matthew 1.
The genealogy begins with God, creating human beings, male and female, in his image (Genesis 5:1-2). Adam, being the first human God created, is the first of God’s chosen race.
Noticein Genesis 5:3, how Cain is left out. He was Adam’s firstborn son, but he is not included in God’s chosen race. Instead, Adam’s son, Seth, is the next descendant in God’s chosen line.
Why Seth? We get a clue as to why God chose Seth in Genesis 4:25-26. In these verses, when Eve gave birth to Seth, she says, ‘God has granted me another son in place of Abel, whom Cain killed’.
The Chosen Offspring
I don’t think any mother would consider one of her children to be a replacement for a lost child. What could Eve have been thinking about when she said this?
Recall, in Genesis 3:15 that God promised Eve a chosen offspring who would bring an end to sin and Satan? Eve had faith in God’s promise, and she knew that the Chosen Offspring would come from her son Seth’s line. She had her eyes on the Messiah. Seth’s line would produce Jesus Christ!
The End of the Line?
The genealogies end in Matthew 1 with the birth of Jesus. But was Jesus the culmination of God’s chosen line? Is Jesus the last of God’s chosen?
No! The chosen line doesn’t end with Jesus. We can join the chosen line through faith. Jesus is the head of a new chosen line based on faith, rather than bloodline or race. God’s chosen line is open to all – inclusive to all.
John 7:9 says this,
After this I saw a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb…’NLT
All that is required is faith in God’s head of his chosen line: Jesus.
Characteristics of the Chosen Race
There are several characteristics of God’s chosen race that we can discover in this passage. God’s chosen people have unique qualities and behaviors.
If you look back at Genesis 4:26, it tells us that when Seth grew up, people began worshipping the Lord again. God’s chosen people worshiped and praised the one and only true God.
Those who want to join God’s chosen race must also ‘Call upon the name of the Lord’ to be saved (Romans 10:13).
The Image of God
Even though the image of God has been distorted by the fall, it is still present and passed down to the chosen race. Genesis 5:1 tells us that God created us in his image. Adam was made in God’s image. And Genesis 5:3 tells us that Adam became the father of Seth, who bore the very same image.
Walk with God
The chosen race enjoys the privilege of walking with God. Genesis 5:23, tells us that Enoch walked closely in fellowship with God. When the Bible uses this description, to walk with someone, it implies intimacy, rather than the simple act of putting one foot in front of the other next to another person. Intimacy is about companionship. God wants us to enjoy his company. Closeness with God is a privilege, yet it is something that each Christian must cultivate.
The Hope of Eternal Life
Notice how the genealogy of Genesis 5, tells us that each person lived a certain number of years, but in the end each one died. Everyone except Enoch. There is no mention of dying in other genealogies of the Bible. So why does Genesis 5 repeatedly mention each person’s death, except for Enoch (‘God took him away’ – Genesis 5:24)
This was a dramatic sign for future chosen people, that death is not the end for those who are in the chosen race. God will one day take his people into glory.
Hebrews 11:5 says this,
‘It was by faith that Enoch was taken up to heaven without dying.’NLT
Comfort and Rest
In Genesis 5:29, Lamech said of his son, Noah
‘He will comfort us in the labor and painful toil of our hands caused by the ground the Lord has cursed.’NIV
Life for Adam and his descendants was hard. But in the midst of this, God promised them rest. Noah led the human race, by God’s grace, through the threat of extinction.
We also face difficulties and must work hard in this life. Life in a fallen world is not easy. This passage foreshadows Jesus who came to give us rest. God promises comfort and rest for his chosen people, despite the fallen world we live in.
Genesis 4:17-22 tells us that Cain’s descendants were successful. They built cities and it lists their achievements and acquired skills. Seth’s line on the other hand had no achievements mentioned.
In the world’s eyes, Seth’s line was not special. Success in the world’s eyes, and success in God’s eyes are very different.
In the end only one thing matters: to belong to God’s chosen race. This is true success!
Genesis 5 Genealogy Name Meanings
God has a purpose and plan in everything. Could it be that he even had a purpose and plan in the names of this genealogy? Many think so. It does seem too convincing to be mere coincidence.
Here are the Old Hebrew meanings for the names listed in Genesis 5:
Kenan: sorrow / mourn / to possess
Mahalalel: the blessed God / the shining one of El (God)
Jared: shall come down / descends
Enoch: teaching / to train
Methuselah: his death shall bring / his death shall send
Lamech: despairing / poor / made low
Noah: rest / comfort
If you were to put the meanings of these names together in order, you get what is referred to as an allegorical interpretation:
Man (is) appointed mortal sorrow; (but) the blessed God shall come down teaching (that) his death shall bring (the) despairing rest.
God Chose You Before the Foundations of then World
Genesis 5 is not so boring after all, is it? This incredible passage shows us just how in control our great God is and it renews our confidence that nothing is overlooked or missed by God. Living in a fallen world – a world that seems to get increasingly more dark and repulsed by the truth – it can be difficult to keep our eyes fixed and focus on the path ahead.
But we are God’s chosen race, and we are called to be his light to the rest of the world. In him we find our true purpose, and in him we will experience true success!
Enjoying God: Experience the Power and Love of God in Everyday life by Tim Chester. We believe in God, we serve God, we trust God, but would we say that we experience God on a day-to-day basis? Do we really know him personally? What exactly does a relationship with God look like? In this book, Tim Chester discusses how God relates to us in our day to day lives and how we should respond. The more we interact with God and understand how awesome he is, the more we will experience the joy of being known by the Creator of the universe.
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