I found a web site which lists the oldest people living today. When I checked it I read of a lady who was 115, and another that was 125, and then some lady I think from Peru that was supposedly 140! There was a picture of this lady and, yes, she looked every bit of 140. Of course I am not sure how we can really know she is that old (count her wrinkles like the rings on a tree?), but there is no doubt she is very, very old.
So segue back to Genesis after Cain kills his brother Abel we move on to a ‘a whole-lotta-begetting’ going on. God’s command to “go forth and multiply” was one command mankind took to heart well beyond just knowing their times tables!
But old in Genesis is a relative thing. People in Genesis times lived to be sometimes 800 or 900 years old.
Adam lived to be 930 years old after God created him on the 6th day Genesis 5:5. His son Seth was 912 Genesis 5:8, Noah later on in Genesis we learn lived to be 950 years, and the long in the tooth award winner is .. Methuselah... the oldest man in the history of .. HISTORY. Methuselah was cut down in the prime of life at the age of 969 Genesis 5:25-27
I figure if I eat my veggies, drink milk, get 8 hours of sleep a night along with daily exercise and in only 906 more birthdays I will have Methuselah beat. That will be in the year.. 2928 when I am neighbors with George Jetson.
They say you are only as old as you feel and I find this to be very little encouragement some days when feeling 'Genesis5esque' old. Maybe not Methuselah old, but at least somewhere in the mid 500s. and to think they did not have Ibuprophen.
The other interesting pattern of this was how old people were still.. um.. still.. ‘begetting’. While one of today’s serious society concerns is teen pregnancies, this was not the problem with society recorded in Genesis.
In Genesis 5 it was not unusual for a couple to wait 70 to 500 years old before starting a family. I guess those 500 years were spent playing golf, world travel using up trips to Hawaii, paying off the mortgage(s), credit card debt, or crossing hot yoga off their bucket list.
Maybe women in Genesis 5 wanted a career as a shepherdess, garden mogul, or working as a Mary Kay Cosmetics specialist before settling down and having kids.
Note: This parenting trend even held true even after Noah came onto the scene.
At age 500 Noah had three sons, and when he was about 600 years old when the Lord told him to start his Desert Ark Marina, and from what I read his sons helped with this process.
Ok, so picture this - 600 year old Noah, and his three 100 year old sons building a very big (BBIIIGGG) boat. Five hundred years old!? That would be like Columbus still being around, and working with those old people I found on that web site to build an ark. Of course Columbus may understand boats, BUT.. HE’S VERY OLD AND VERY DEAD, and those people from the website are VERY OLD and will be dead soon enough.
I do believe these stories we read about in Genesis, but in our modern world I have trouble picturing this Old Testament culture. But then again, I suppose IF Noah reappeared in the desert near the city of Las Vegas (aka Sin City), he would most likely sigh and say, “I better get busy building another ark in the desert again because society is certainly going to Hell.” (insert pun here).
Let me close these early chapters of Genesis with a few more images with a Back Pew perspective.
So while it is hard for me to grasp the fact that I am 64.. a Methuselah like age (969) boggles the mind. But like so many things in the Bible, just because I don’t understand does not make it not true.
From Genesis through Revelation I find the evidence and promise of God’s love and grace.
From the Garden to the Flood to the Cross all the way through life today sitting in my Back Pew there is this promise and evidence of a loving God.
May God bless each of you today in ways that are beyond your dreams. I pray you place your faith and hopes in the one true God of our Bibles.
Jeff (Methuselah like aches & pains) Larson
So Adam and Eve leave Eden, and start a family with their two fine boys Cain & Abel. The Bible does not tell us too much about the boys lives, but that Cain liked veggies, whilst Abel tended animals. These both seemed like wonderful career choices as Silicon Valley technology opportunities were limited at this time.
All is fine and good livin' La-vi-la-Genesis until Cain and Able were to bring their gifts to the Lord. God accepted Abel’s gift, but rejected Cain’s. For this Back Pew cartoonist, this provided an interesting moment between these boys debating the health risks of too much red meat.
Admittedly Cain did overreact when his ‘garden salad gift’ was rejected by God by killing his brother. No more Red Bull energy drinks for Cain.
Next, God asks Cain "What happened to your brother?" Of course Cain replies with the now infamous line "Am I my brothers keeper?”
So there you have it. Adam, Eve, a Garden neglected, and two boys that fight. God's creation is certainly off to a fine start.
Sin and the fall of man was inevitable, and was the result of man's free will choice just as our sins are.. but moving from apple eating to murder was a big jump on the sin meter.
The consequences of sin for Adam & Eve was they were evicted from The Garden of Eden, and now for Cain became a homeless wanderer.
THE GREAT NEWS is that neither Adam's eating apples, Cain killing his brother, or any other creative sin devised in the heart of man is beyond the redemption found in GOD'S GRACE.
My prayer is we all learn from these Genesis lessons of free will rebellion gone horribly bad. Most of us I like to think will never commit murder, but our sins great and small are all selfish rebellions of emotions and ignorance fly in the face of God's will.
When this happens, Repent and accept God's free gift of grace. If we don't repent we will be like Cain.. a homeless wanderer of this Earth and missing the greater purpose and a greater connection with God intended for each of us.
Jeff (not a murderer, but still a sinner) Larson
note: Too many churches today do not teach our sins require repentance. The phrases "I was wrong", and "I am sorry" seemed to be skipped over and replaced with an 'easy grace' , and 'be a better you' message. God's Grace and love is truly AMAZING, but the need to get right with God via repentance cannot be overlooked.
After God created the world He placed Adam and Eve in the beautiful Garden of Eden (aka paradise), and in the center of this garden was the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil Ge 2:17 which Adam and Eve were forbidden to eat of its fruit.
Next, Genesis 2:19-20 Now out of the ground the Lord God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him.
So Adam did his best Dr. Doolittle imitation and talked to the animals naming them one by one. What a daunting task. But realizing 'in the beginning' the streaming library on Netflix was limited, there was no Sunday football, AND.. this task from God was assigned before Eve arrived with her unending 'Honey Do Lists' leaving plenty of time to name a 'couple' animals.
THE GREAT SNAKE INFESTATION of 6000? Genesis 3:1-7 Ok, there was just one Snake, aka Satan but he tempts Eve into eating the forbidden fruit (Ge 2:17) and sharing it with Adam.
So they both eat the apple, and suddenly feel a draft like never before cuz they were big time naked!
Naked and Uncomfortable like a Discovery Channel docu-series, and more uncomfortable than a hippy in 1967 holding his a DRAFT notice from Uncle Sam!
For the hippy, he burned his draft card and headed to Oh Can-a-daaa Eh!, to hide from Uncle Sam while 6000 years before this Adam & Eve naked in a draft and so head off to hide from God.
In the Garden there was no Old Navy, Walmart, or even Good Will to pick a wardrobe from so Adam & Eve being naked went for next ‘obvious??’ line of clothing.. FIG LEAVES?
Ge 3:7 Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.
But.. this 'Fig Leaf' line of fashion was short lived due to Leaf blight, squirrels, and the fact that Fig Leaves were not at all flattering. No woman in 6000 bc when asked how she looks, wants to hear the words.. "You look like a SHRUB".
And now seeing the bigger picture outside of the world of fashion, Adam & Eve realized life would never be the same. Sin caused a host of irrational emotions in Eve like .. "Adam, am I am the only woman in your life?"
Ge 3:8-9 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”
Naked and Afraid Adam & Eve were playing 'Hide & Seek' with God. This is where the age old 'Blame Game' was first used. First Adam blamed Eve, Eve blamed the snake, and the snake did not have a leg (literally) to stand on! and God was not amused. Ge 3:12-13
Their crime was dubbed the ORIGINAL SIN resulting in the Snake being cursed, while Adam and Eve EVICTED from the Garden all while you could hear Willie Nelson playing 'On the Road Again' in the background. Ge 3:24
In the weeks to follow a forensic investigation corroborated the entire Genesis 3 account.
Note: Since this 'original sin' our own flawed nature continues to compromise the paradise God intends for us. Maybe not a Garden of Eden paradise but certainly we live in a world stunted by sin. Adam & Eve chose to disobey God, ate the forbidden fruit and then hid from God. While we may not live anything close to Paradise, the 'sin parallel' is the same.. our willful choice that separate us from God, and we hide!
GOOD NEWS IS.. God's Grace is as they say AMAZING. He will accept us back after any big or small prodigal moments when we truly repent. BUT please note.. God will not be mocked.. an insincere whoopsie attitude towards our sin habits move us further away from the safety and blessings found in God's Grace. No one wants to be EVICTED by God.
My prayer is we all pursue God with a greater love evidenced by our obedience. He desires the very best for us, and to realize His Word is a light to guide us in this dark world.
Jeff (sometimes weedy garden) Larson
Most everyone agrees after a quick cursory glance and a collective cringe the year 2020 was not good. Then 2021 was another dumpster fire year with record inflation, COVID is still being COVID, along with a society that cannot even agree that there are two genders or if gender is a fluid state of being. ARGH!
So I am praying for a 2022 and not even shooting for a good year. I would settle for the dumpster fire to be put out.
But for today let me bring you back to simpler times IN THE 'very' BEGINNING when God created .. it was good! Let's review.
Genesis 1 - In the beginning, God spoke the universe into existence. Some witnesses claimed they heard a loud crackling sound like thunder. Kind of a BANG, a really really BIG BANG!
Note: I am not here to discuss Old Earth v New Earth theories. This would be above the pay grade of this cartoonist, but what I will say again is ..
God created and it was GOOD!
Genesis 1:1-31 To summarize, this daunting project was completed in 6 days where Day 1: DAY , NIGHT , the SKY were spoke into existence by our Almighty Creator.
Those first 6 days His creation included the sun, stars, land, waters, and all the creatures in the sea and on land were created.
Genesis 2:1-3 Then fast forward to 7th day and God rested. He did not even watch football. In contrast I installed a bathroom floor in our town-home recently and I rested on the 5th, 6th, and 7th days and while it turned out nice it was not Hubble Telescope spectacular like God's Universe.
This creation story is all recorded into the Bible book of Genesis. While many Cosmologists believe the Big Bang was the creation of EVERYTHING from NOTHING followed by billions of years of random collisions and explosions resulted in our ever expanding universe, all the planets including Earth including life with all it's complexities.
Ok, I believe you can collide a chocolate bar with a jar of peanut butter and end up with a Reeses Peanut Butter Cup.. but this Universe has too moving parts + complexities that are bound together with rules and order for me to believe EVERYTHING came from NOTHING.
Important Note: I believe most Cosmologists 'do drugs'. Just my opinion.. with a smirk.
I choose instead to believe there must be an intelligent design behind creation. I believe in a divine creator that exists outside the confines of time and space. I believe this Intelligent Design is described in the Bible Book of Genesis.
May God bless each of you greatly in your pursuit of truth.
This is important stuff, and a foundation for life. If there is a God then the pursuit of Him is a greater science than can be found looking through any microscope, telescope, or on a petri dish
Understanding our Creator is to go boldly beyond any Star Trek five year journey exploring his creation.
So no matter if you are in the 6,000 year old Young Earth Camp, or you believe in a 4.5 billion year Old Earth let's agree God created and IT WAS GOOD, maybe even GREAT.
.. and certainly better than 2020, or 2021. Just sayin'
Jeff (Big Bang when he falls down) Larson
If you sneeze, I will politely respond "Bless you." If you sneeze again.. you are on your own as I adhere to a strict one blessing per sneezer rule. This is not negotiable.
But sneeze blessings are not the topic of the day instead a Father’s Blessings, and ultimately God’s blessings. These blessings I want, and like I say often in The Back Pew .. ‘BlESSED beyond my DREAMS’. I want Prayer of Jabez supersized blessings.
It seems just like a chapter ago Isaac was just a boy, but now in Genesis 25 Isaac is all grown up and with his wife Rebecca has twin boys. The first to enter the world was Esau, and right on his heel literally (Ge. 25:25) was Jacob.
These boys were like so many brothers as they were very different from each other. Esau grew up to be a scruffy/hairy outdoors type who loved to hunt. Jacob on the other hand was not scruffy, and liked to hang out in the kitchen with maybe a reputation as a mamma's boy.
The Father's Blessing
Next we are introduced to the power of the Father’s Blessing, and especially the blessings set aside for the first born in this case.. by beating brother Jacob in the 'birth canal dash' was scruffy/hairy Esau.
I am not sure how or why they worked the way they did in the Old Testament, but it seems like the 'Father’s blessing' had the power to make or break the future of the ‘blessee’. It was like winning the family inheritance lottery.. and there were no TAKE BACKS.
The Blessing Plot Thickens
So one day Esau comes in from hunting famished and is met by his brother Jacob. Esau is so desperate for food, that Jacob talks Esau out of his birthright since Esau replies, "what good is my birth right if I die today from starvation."
note: It appears Esau was a great hunter, but a bit of a drama queen.
I don’t know exactly follow how the whole birthright and blessing stuff worked in those days, but I am thinking this birthright transfer should have required a signed agreement witnessed and stamped by a notary public.
ie The first party (Esau) agrees to relinquish his future blessing reserved for the first born to the second party (Jacob) in exchange for one bowl of homemade chicken noodle soup.
Esau sign here
Jacob sign here
Notary sign here
Date enter today's date
I am not sure if today this birthright exchange for soup arrangement would hold up even in front of Judge Judy, but in Genesis 25 it set the stage for the Ol' Birthright SWITCHEROO.
Isaac is very old!
As the story continues, their father Isaac is getting very old, he is nearly blind and his health is failing. Isaac recognizing his days on this earth are numbered and so wants to give his blessing to his first born son Esau before he hears Heaven's Angels singing 'Happy Trails to you'. and 'When the Roll is called up Yonder'.
So Isaac asks Esau to hunt, and then fix him some wild game for him and at that time he will give Esau his blessing.
Well, Rebecca overhears this and wants this blessing to got to her favorite son (and kitchen apprentice) Jacob. So while Esau is out hunting, she comes up with a planso simple, so ingenious, but with more than a hint of .. WHAT?
Mom schemes to put animal skins on Jake’s arms to appear hairy like his brother Esau.
As strange as this sounds.. this plan works and Isaac though he was suspicious thought it was Esau, and in the end gives Jacob THE BLESSING OF THE FIRST BORN. The Ol' Birthright SWITCHEROO is complete!
Of course being a cartoonist, and a dog owner I wonder.. WHAT IF the FAMILY DOG wanders on to the scene before the walking talking/lying carpet remnant Jacob and receives the blessing of the first born?
The Dog is hairy, Esau is hairy, and the gggruff voice it could be Esau with a cold. Hmmm.. WHAT IF?
But I digress as no dog wanders in, and Jacob gets the blessing and skips town just before Esau returns from hunting. Esau fixes a fine dinner of wild game along with a bottle of Desert Merlot. He walks into to see dad ready to receive the blessing of the first born WHEN…
It's like Déjà vu all over again for Dad. -The Prophet Yogi Berra
Isaac exclaims.. “Hey, weren’t you just here?... er..aaaa.. didn’t you already come for your blessing?.. I mean.. I mean.. HEY WAIT A MINUTE!”
HEY, WHAT ABOUT ME?
This is the moment when the light bulb goes on enough for Isaac’s dim eyes to realize.. HE GAVE THE BLESSING TO THE WRONG SON!
I hate when that happens!
Esau is of course distraught and cries out .. “Bless me too!!.. what about me!!??” In response Isaac hold out his right arm limply and says..
“It’s empty.” no blessing for you, but we have some lovely parting gifts.
Ok he did not say those exact words, but Isaac is very clear .. the blessing of the first born has been given.. given to Jacob. Like a winning lottery ticket, THERE WAS ONLY ONE!..
So this caper of the misplaced blessing is over.. without me understanding the blessings of Isaac, except the fact that there are no take backs. The fact is God did intend for Jacob to be blessed as he continues to bless the descendants of Abraham as promised, through Isaac, and now Jacob to continue the promise of a great nation.
Moral of the story for us today? Be faithful like Abraham so that God can bless and use you as part of his plan. Whether you are the first born, that dreaded middle child (kidding), the baby, or you are adopted.. God loves you, and has a plan to bless & prosper all who love and obey Him.
Jeremiah 29:11 "'For I Know The Plans I Have For You' Declares the Lord, 'Plans to Prosper You and Not to Harm You, Plans to Give You Hope and a Future.
Psalms 33:12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance.
May God find us faithful and full of love for the one true God, and blessed by him in ways that are beyond our dreams.
Jeff (first born) Larson
The mutterings on life and faith by cartoonist Jeff Larson