The next events we witness on our path through Genesis are not easy to see. There’s sadness here, immeasurable grief and pain.
But there’s hope here, too, because God doesn’t leave us alone in the hardest parts of this life. He always, always gives us a chance to take refuge in Him.
We’ve read the family trees. We’ve seen that Cain’s descendants put their roots deep in this earth, making names for themselves and bragging about acts of violence. We’ve seen that Seth, the third son of Adam, is the forefather of men who call upon the name of the Lord, men who walk faithfully with Him.
Years upon years pass…generations of men and women begin to fill the earth.
Then the people began to multiply on the earth, and daughters were born to them. The sons of God saw the beautiful women and took any they wanted as their wives. Then the Lord said, “My Spirit will not put up with humans for such a long time, for they are only mortal flesh. In the future, their normal lifespan will be no more than 120 years.”
In those days, and for some time after, giant Nephilites lived on the earth, for whenever the sons of God had intercourse with women, they gave birth to children who became the heroes and famous warriors of ancient times.
The Lord observed the extent of human wickedness on the earth, and he saw that everything they thought or imagined was consistently and totally evil. So the Lord was sorry he had ever made them and put them on the earth. It broke his heart. And the Lord said, “I will wipe this human race I have created from the face of the earth. Yes, and I will destroy every living thing—all the people, the large animals, the small animals that scurry along the ground, and even the birds of the sky. I am sorry I ever made them.”
It’s not easy to think about God – the Creator who lovingly shaped our earth and everything on it, calling it all good – deciding to destroy all living things. It is not easy to think about God destroying mankind.
We have to know that this was no abrupt conclusion, no hasty decision. What have we seen about the character of God so far?
He made Adam and Eve in His own image. He created an entire home full of everything they needed to thrive. He gave life. He warned men when they were in danger of letting sin take control of them. He was merciful even when they did not listen and allowed sin to enter their hearts, to motivate their actions. He was still there. He still took care of them, even promising that their own offspring would one day crush the enemy. He still gave life even when people chose death.
So how did we get to this point? Because God doesn’t change, we have to know that — even though it isn’t written out in detail – His character stayed true through every generation. This means we can feel confident that He warned of sin, gave opportunities for repentance, showed mercy to those who turned to Him. We can be sure that the offer of life was ever in His outstretched hands.
We can also be sure that this gift of life was ignored, again and again, by this generation of our history. The passage says that every heart was evil. Every desire, every action, every decision was made from a place of greed, selfish ambition, hatred. We can only imagine how this affected every-day life. We can only imagine the violence, the poisonous words, the injury to spirit and body. We can only imagine that no one was safe and that every passing year brought more destruction, more heartbreak.
God looked at this planet He’d formed, at these precious people He loved, and they were incessantly – brutally – hurting each other. There was no peace, no rest, no innocence left among these men and women He’d only wanted to give joy and abundant life. Mankind was destroying each other.
And it broke His heart.
But in the chaos, one man remained fixed on the foundation he’d been given by his father. One man stood his ground and lived according to what pleased God, even while the rest of the world went their own way.
But Noah found favor with the Lord.
This is the account of Noah and his family. Noah was a righteous man, the only blameless person living on earth at the time, and he walked in close fellowship with God. Noah was the father of three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
Now God saw that the earth had become corrupt and was filled with violence. God observed all this corruption in the world, for everyone on earth was corrupt.
So God said to Noah, “I have decided to destroy all living creatures, for they have filled the earth with violence. Yes, I will wipe them all out along with the earth!
Build a large boat from cypress wood and waterproof it with tar, inside and out. Then construct decks and stalls throughout its interior. Make the boat 450 feet long, 75 feet wide, and 45 feet high. Leave an 18-inch opening below the roof all the way around the boat. Put the door on the side, and build three decks inside the boat—lower, middle, and upper.
Look! I am about to cover the earth with a flood that will destroy every living thing that breathes. Everything on earth will die. But I will confirm my covenant with you. So enter the boat—you and your wife and your sons and their wives. Bring a pair of every kind of animal—a male and a female—into the boat with you to keep them alive during the flood. Pairs of every kind of bird, and every kind of animal, and every kind of small animal that scurries along the ground, will come to you to be kept alive. And be sure to take on board enough food for your family and for all the animals.”
So Noah did everything exactly as God had commanded him.
Again, God provided the way of life.
In His just ways, in His faithfulness to the promise He’d made to Adam and Eve, God was not going to abandon Noah.
I’ve often wondered about Noah and his family. In a world filled with violence and corruption, there must have been days when they felt overwhelmed. Afraid. There must have been days when they didn’t know how they would survive. I wonder if Noah thought about what would happen to his family when he died, worried about the lives of his sons and their sons after them.
I imagine there must have been times when he felt alone, like he was carrying the weight of his family’s well-being on his shoulders .
But he wasn’t alone and the future was not hopeless, in spite of how circumstances seemed.
God promised rescue, if Noah would hear and obey His word, from the violence, from the pain, from the unremitting struggle on the earth.
It would come at a great price, at a high cost – but God would use this man and his family to save the human race. As long as even one man was seeking Him, God would be there.
And one day, generations down the line, He would put on flesh and take the judgment of sin Himself – those wages that are death – so that no other man or woman would have to bear it. It’s His way, to provide salvation for us. In His love, He never wants our hearts to remain far from His.
Because God’s children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death.-Hebrews 2:14