When I first read Genesis 5 in preparation for last week's BSF lesson, I was hardly enthused. At first it seems like a long list of names that are hard to pronounce followed by the hundreds of years they each lived. Who wants to live that long and what does this have to do with me anyway? However, as I sat listening to our teacher, Joann lecture on this chapter, I was completely blown away by the treasures hidden in these 32 verses.
There are a few key things that should be noted from the lineage of Adam's son, Seth especially when it is compared with the lineage of Cain in the preceding chapter. Despite repeated warnings from God, Cain's heart was hard, and his bitterness eventually led him to murder his brother, Abel. His actions and refusal to repent of his sin are passed down for many generations after him and he becomes known as the seed of Satan. The description of his family line include accomplishments in such things as agriculture, music and art, as well as the sins of polygamy and murder. There is no mention of God nor how many years they lived.
Seth, on the other hand, was born as a replacement for the murdered Abel and fulfilled the prophesy that a deliverer (Jesus) would come from the line of Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:15). In contrast to Cain's ancestry, Seth's line does not speak once of worldly accomplishment but only the faith of men like Enoch and Noah. Then the amount of years that each man lived are recorded as a sort of celebration of their lives.
So what does all this mean and what does it have to do with life after cancer? It reminds me that God doesn't care so much about what I accomplish on this earth. What He really cares about is that I call upon His name (Genesis 4:26) and walk faithfully with Him (Genesis 5:24). Then He cares how I pass that down to my kids. It also reminds me that each year counts. If it mattered enough to list how many years each of Seth's ancestors lived, I am willing to bet my years and those of my children matter as well.