Gen. 5:99

Robert Hawker

"And he called his name Noah, saying, this same shall comfort us concerning our work, and toil of our hands, because of the ground which the Lord our God hath cursed."–Gen. v. 99.

I still think, and believe that I always shall think, that holy men of old possessed great superiority of faith to new testament believers, in the attention they paid to the choice of names given to their children. Our choice, for the most part, is from caprice, or respect to our relations or earthly connections; they had an eye to heaven. Thus, in the instance before us, Lamech evidently called his son, Noah, which signifies rest, in reference to "the rest which remaineth for the people of God;" and, as such, had an eye to Christ, the promised seed, in whom alone that rest was to be found. I do not presume to suppose that Lamech thought this child to be himself the promised seed, as our first mother Eve did at the birth of Cain, when she said, "I have gotten a man," or, as it might be read, "the man, from the Lord," Gen. iv. 1. No doubt she considered this, her first-born son, to be the very man, the Ishi promised: and hence, when her second son was born, she called him Abel, which means vanity; thereby intimating, what is indeed true, that every other man but the God-man is but vanity. Poor woman! how sadly mistaken she found herself! But though Lamech had not such high views of his son, as to suppose him the very Christ; yet in calling him Noah, it should seem probable, that he desired, in the remembrance of this child, to keep up an eye to Christ in him as a rest, and his son as a type of Christ, which Noah eminently was. And indeed the latter part of Lamech's observation seems to confirm it: "This same shall comfort us concerning our work and toil, because of the ground which the Lord hath cursed." It would be a strange, not to say an unnatural thought in a tender parent, to take comfort in the prospect of a son's arriving to manhood, to take off all toil and labour from his parents, that they might enjoy ease; which would be the case, had Lamech meant nothing more than the rest of this mortal life. In this sense, indeed, what is the curse here spoken of, and how could the labour of Noah take it away? But on the supposition that Lamech was so well taught of God, as to be looking forward to the day of "Christ afar off," and under the believing expectation of Christ's coming in the fulness of time, who would take away the curse, by being made both "sin and a curse" for his redeemed, he called his son Noah, that he might, as often as he should look upon the child, remember Christ. There is somewhat very sweet and striking in this circumstance, which may serve to explain why the Holy Ghost hath thus caused it to be so particularly recorded. My soul! gather a sweet improvement from this scripture, and do not fail to observe how graciously God the Holy Ghost dealt with the patriarchs, in causing, by so many ways, the one glorious event of Jesus and his salvation to be kept alive, in ages so remote from the accomplishment of redemption. And what hast thou. to comfort thyself with, concerning thy work, and the toil of thine hands? What is thy rest, because of the ground which the Lord hath cursed? Hast thou thy Noah, thy Jesus, who is thy hope, thy rest, thy righteousness? Precious, precious Noah! I would look up to thee, my Lord Jesus, and say, Thou hast comforted me, thou dost comfort me, under all the toil and sweat of brow-in which I eat my daily bread! Thou hast taken away the curse of the ground, and art indeed thyself the whole blessing of it. Thou, blessed Jesus, art the rest, "wherewith the Lord causeth the weary to rest; and thou art the refreshing!" Isaiah xxviii. 12. "Return then to thy rest, (thy Noah) my soul, for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee," Psalm cxvi. 7.



Robert Hawker

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