Knowing the name of the oldest man in the Bible may well be good, just in case you find yourself in a pub quiz. But knowing why he is the oldest man is perhaps more significant. In Genesis 5 we find that Methuselah was 969 when he died, but it is only when we look carefully at the family members around him that we find out why God allowed him to live for so long.
By the time we arrive at Methuselah we find that human beings had thoroughly corrupted their way on the earth, they no longer walked with God and God was grieved that he had ever made them. His heart was filled with pain. But, rather than reacting, God sent His people a prophet, a man named Enoch. Enoch walked with God and it was he who became Methuselah's father, giving his son a most important name. Methuselah means, "When he dies it will happen": in other words, when Methuselah dies God's judgement will come. If you follow the figures, Enoch was one of the youngest fathers of his day. He was only 65 when he became Methuselah's dad, and for 300 years he taught his son how to walk with God before God called him home. Methuselah was 187 when he became the father of Lamech. So, for 113 years Enoch was also able to teach Lamech. Lamech was 182 when he became the father of Noah, which means that Methuselah was 369. Lamech died at the age of 777, when Methuselah was 964 and Noah was 595. Five years later, Methuselah reached the ripe old age of 969 and God finally called him home. Noah was now 600, and in the 600th year of his life he entered the Ark. When Methuselah died, God's judgement came.
Why did God allow Methuselah to live for so long? Because He is patient, and wants no-one to perish, but every one to come to repentance. God gave Methuselah a long life to give His people time to return to Him. Our God is a very patient God indeed. How much do we reflect His character?
Genesis 5:18 - 7:7
2 Peter 3:9