A careful reading of Genesis 5 shows that Methuselah, Noah’s grandfather, died the year of the flood (he was 969 years old). And Lamech, Noah’s dad, died 5 years before the flood at the age of 782.
It’s not clear whether Methuselah died in the flood or happened to die the same year as the flood. But, it sure is a striking “coincidence” in timing (I don’t believe in coincidences – I believe in GODincidences). Moreover, Genesis 3:22 establishes that people grow more sinful as they grow older, which is why God did not want us to attain eternal life in our fallen, mortal condition. At 969 years old, Methuselah had a lot of time to rack up a lot of sin. Plus, the contrast between the descriptions of Methuselah and Enoch (his father) is telling – Enoch is described as enjoying a close relationship with God throughout his life and being taken by God (never dying) at a young age: 365. Methuselah is simply described as dying at 969. Also, there’s a pattern in scripture (and in life) of the righteous being followed by the unrighteous (i.e., Enoch being followed by Methuselah). While it’s not a rule, it sure happens a lot.
Finally, when Genesis 6 explains why God picked Noah to survive the flood, it says Noah was the only blameless man on earth, that all others were corrupt and totally evil, and that Noah was like Enoch. The strong implication, of course, is that Methuselah and Lamech (who were alive at the time) were corrupt, totally evil, and not like Enoch. So far all these reasons, I think it’s likely that Methuselah died in the flood.
WOW. Can you imagine how Noah was mocked by his grandfather, father, aunts, uncles, brothers, and sisters while he was building the ark? Can you imagine Noah being in the ark while most of these people died in the flood?
It’s clear from this passage that sometimes we will be called to do things for God that require sacrificing our relationships with those for whom we care the most because of our relationship with Him. What obedience! But can you imagine what would have happened if Noah had picked his relationship with his family members over his relationship with God?