“Thus all the days of Methuselah were 969 years, and he died.” — Genesis 5:27
Impatience has been one of my greatest weaknesses. In my overblown eagerness, I have often thought I could drive my car a hundred miles before God could start His engine! Then, ten miles down the road when He found and lifted me from the ditch, I asked, “What took you so long?”
It always seemed strange that although God took only six days to create the world, He sometimes took six years to answer my prayers. Many of the delays of God are described in the Bible, but I have learned more from four specific delays than I can digest in a lifetime of study. Over the next few days, think about how God’s delays in our life produce such blessing.
Long ago when the world was young, when foreign countries were unknown and the inhabitants of the earth lived in a very small area, there lived a man named Enoch. He was not a recluse, but he loved to walk in the country with God; he appreciated excellent company!
When he was 65 years of age, his wife gave birth to their first child, and the gift changed the father’s life. Prior to the arrival of the baby, Enoch lived with God; after, he walked with God (see Genesis 5:21-22).
Possibly the mother was surprised when the father called his son Methuselah. The name had never previously been given, and probably has been used little since. Enoch was a prophet who foretold the outpouring of judgment on the earth (Jude 14-15), and the arrival of his son deepened his convictions.
The common meaning of Methuselah’s name is “It shall not come till he die.” It can hardly be a coincidence that, from the names and years mentioned in the fifth chapter of Genesis, the devastating flood of Noah’s day began in the year that Methuselah died.
Methuselah lived 969 years and some of his contemporaries surely thought he would never die. The length of the patriarch’s life was an indication of the mercy of God. Judgment would coincide with the death of Methuselah, and therefore, the longer he lived the greater became the opportunity for sinners to repent. God moved slowly in this delay in order to proclaim His mercy!
Have you ever thought about the fact that the reason for God’s slowness in your life is that He might show you mercy? Or to show others mercy? What we want so quickly could harm so quickly. What might seem to be rejection (because of delay), just might be protection.
God’s desire to show mercy to us was demonstrated through the gift of His Son for us. His patience with us is that we might repent and experience His mercy. His slowness keeps open the door of opportunity for a lost and dying world to come to Him.
When the answer doesn’t come as quickly as we think it should…remember His mercy!