Thursday, January 8, 2009

Rest for the weary

...and called his name Noah, saying, "Out of the ground that the Lord has cursed this one shall bring us relief from our work and from the painful toil of our hands."
Genesis 5:29

hammock2 The name Noah sounds like the Hebrew word for "rest", hence the disruption from a litany of genealogical information in this chapter to pause and consider the human element. Lamech represented generations of people since Adam who had to live with the consequences of the curse on sin. Life was hard. There was painful toil and work. And Lamech, like most parents, found relief in family. As he held a young newborn in his hands, he hoped to God for relief from life's hardship through the joyful experience of this new son.

There is a pathos to this little one verse commentary. You see how hard life was for Lamech, and the generation that he represented. You also see the hope that he had that life might be easier for him with his children, and better for the next generation after him. But there is also a bit of a tragic hope here, for the physical son might be a blessing and might bring some relief, but it would not be the true rest that Lamech held out hope to see. In fact, the story of Noah in the next chapter explains that the generation in which Lamech hoped for relief from sin's curse, actually became the most judged generation to date. God would wipe humanity (save Noah and his family) from the face of the planet. This was hardly the "rest" Lamech desired.

Life is hard, no doubt. But placing hope in a human reliever to that pain is never successful. God did use Noah. And in a sense, Lamech's lament was a bit of a prophecy. But true relief would only come in the One Who would bruise the serpent's head... the ultimate deliverer, the One who truly came to bring rest. It is Jesus Who could invite all those who were weary and heavy-laden to come to Him. He gives rest. We rest in the Savior Whose yoke is easy and burden is light.

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