A few days ago my friend Steve’s facebook status was something about how being at Lowe’s was somewhat of a religious experience for him. Several people, including me, posted comments to his status. Some of the comments were analogically clever (not mine) about tools and possibilities. Some comments were just snarky (yes, mine). Steve responded with his own comment saying something like Lowe’s is the only place Noah could get enough gopher wood to build that ark.
That got me to thinking about old Noah.
Genesis 9 says that after the flood Noah lived 350 years and that he was 950 when he died. According to my math, that means he was 600 years old when he finished building the ark. Without any help, mind you.
Can you imagine building an ark all by yourself right now in your life? At your age and in your current physical condition?
Me either. And I’m not even 100 yet.
How did a 600 year old man do it?
That got me to thinking about all the other people in the Bible that lived multiple centuries. Adam lived 930 years. Adam’s son Seth lived 912 years. Enoch lived 365 years. Moses was 120 when he died. Methuselah lived 969 years, for heaven’s sake.
Why don’t people live that long anymore? Google has all kinds of different answers for that question. Scientific climatic changes caused by the flood. Measuring years by fruitfulness rather than by the actual number of sunsets and sunrises. God time vs. human time. Inaccuracies in oral histories from the tendency to over exaggerate for emphasis. On and on.
The truth is, I don’t think anyone really knows for sure.
Here’s my unsubstantiated analysis for why we don’t live hundreds of years any more: It’s just too hard now.
I think God’s original plan for man did not include death. I think the original plan was that we would all live longer than Methuselah and in God’s company, forever and ever, amen. I think every day we lived that way would have gotten better and better. Sweeter than the day before, if you will. It’s not hard to imagine living hundreds or even thousands of years like that.
But we messed that up with that original sin issue and all.
Praise God for the sacrifice of Jesus to bring us back to the living forever in God’s company plan. In the meantime until I can see Jesus face to face, I’m here living on this earth.
Living on this earth is not like riding a bicycle. It does not get easier every day that you do it. No wonder He told us to become like little children. It was a lot easier then. He knew it would get harder with every birthday.
Yeah, I can learn to tolerate some things easier with a little practice. I can do a little preparation to make some things more manageable. I can find some laughter and some joy along the way and some funny people to share it with.
Overall, though, it’s tough. I face more and more challenges with every single day that I live. I get especially bothered by the challenges that I face that are beyond my ability to do anything about. Throw a few other people and relationships in there with all their separate issues, and voila, you’ve got a recipe for shortening anyone’s years.
A few of the people that are blessed with being a part of my situations and circumstances really add to my personal challenge. It happens often. Someone will say or do something that makes me think they have absolutely lost their mind. I think to myself, “What in the world were they thinking!?” That thought progression always leads me to go a little further towards another conclusion: perhaps they are not the looney tune; maybe it’s me. Every single time that brings me back to the fact that I am truly a stranger and an alien on this earth. This world is not my home.
I am reminded of that almost every single day.
Which makes me oh so thankful I don’t have to live to be 969.
Which makes my 40’s not look quite so bad.
And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:3-4