The Drumroll of Death

Detracting from my usual content, this post will explain a piece of artwork that I created in response to my church’s first “Call to Artists” program, focusing on our current series on Genesis. This piece was chosen by my church’s art committee and was on display for a few months. I thought of the most impactful passage we covered, and I interpreted what it meant to me visually. This post is about the Drumroll of Death in Noah’s genealogy.

The Bible has many genealogies listed out, and usually we gloss over them because they’re boring or repetitive. But the thing is, there’s a message in all of scripture, even the genealogies. They’re not just historical accounts, they speak to the reality we face every day. Noah’s genealogy is no exception. Consider a small snippet from his lineage:

After the birth of Seth, Adam lived another 800 years, having more sons and daughters. Adam lived a total of 930 years. And he died. – Genesis 5:5

When Seth was 105 years old, he had Enosh. After Seth had Enosh, he lived another 807 years, having more sons and daughters. Seth lived a total of 912 years. And he died. – Genesis 5:6-8

When Enosh was ninety years old, he had Kenan. After he had Kenan, he lived another 815 years, having more sons and daughters. Enosh lived a total of 905 years. And he died. – Genesis 5:9-11

When Kenan was seventy years old, he had Mahalalel. After he had Mahalalel, he lived another 840 years, having more sons and daughters. Kenan lived a total of 910 years. And he died. – Genesis 5:12-14

This continues on and on. And he died, and he died, and he died. Adam’s life, the first human being, is reduced to a simple statement in the end: “and he died.” The only thing of note to happen in this genealogy is Enoch, who walked faithfully with God, and is described to have been “suddenly taken away.” No one else is mentioned to have walked with God, or accomplished anything noteworthy of God’s story. This lineage continues on and on, it is a drumroll of death. One after another, eventually everyone succumbs. All around us today, people live and die. It’s a sad reality that most people do not walk faithfully with God. Is this all there is to life? Living and dying over and over for countless generations?

But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord. – Genesis 6:8

Suddenly, a new name appears with a long, impactful story. After hundreds of years, a man named Noah finds favor in the eyes of God.

Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God. – Genesis 6:9

In that generation, only Noah walked with God. In our generation, will we be a part of the sea and the drumroll of death? Or will we walk with God? My family experienced a lot of loss over the past couple of years, so this topic was not an easy one. Yet there is a light and encouragement that our lives can have an incredibly fulfilling purpose in Jesus Christ. When we die, will our work preach righteousness?

“Just as it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of Man.” -Luke 17:26

For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them in chains of darkness to be held for judgment;

If he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness;

If he condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly;

And if he rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the depraved conduct of the lawless (for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard);

If this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials and to hold the unrighteous for punishment on the day of judgment. – 2 Peter 2:4-9

There is an uncountable sea of people throughout history that did not walk with God, and it’s a sobering thought. I wanted to convey the seriousness of this through something visibly dark and eerie. Noah amongst the sea of godlessness and sin throughout the history of the world, The Drumroll of Death:

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