Daily Update #215

Genesis 6:5-8; 7:1-5, 10.

Today’s reading starts to look again at the world gone wrong. Last week, we read the familiar story of Adam, Eve and the serpent. Now we see that the people had begun to populate the earth. However, looking back to the verses before today’s reading, we discover that some of the spiritual beings (which I mentioned back in January’s talk) decided to disobey God and take earthly wives. The result was a people known as the Nephilim, who were seen as giants with extraordinary powers. Perhaps we would call them superheroes today. Unfortunately, this was not the only result. This union of the spiritual and physical world also opened up the opportunity for much teaching of the black arts or occultism, as we see today.
So we come to our passage today and now we can see that God saw that the people he had created had already rejected him and turned towards the worship of other gods and many evil practices. Indeed, as we read in verse 5, their every thought was “consistently and totally evil”.
It is perhaps hard for us to imagine exactly how God felt about this. Maybe, if we imagine having a baby and raising him/her in the best way to live. Then one day, our child rejects everything we have ever said or taught them and instead pursues a destructive life of violence, drugs, theft, whatever. Maybe we would have a glimpse into the heart of God.
In the NLT version, verse 6 says “So the Lord was sorry he had ever made them and put them on the earth. It BROKE HIS HEART”. This is the phrase, that really struck me in all of today’s reading.  It is often so easy to think that because God is above everything, knows everything, even before it happens, that perhaps he doesn’t get that upset about things. In reality, God feels the pain we cause him when we sin, far more than we could ever imagine or understand.
The ensuing story of Noah and the flood is very familiar to most of us. (Genesis 6:9 – 8:22) So I would like to just focus on a couple of thoughts.
God decided to wipe out the human race that he had created, leaving only Noah and his family, because Noah was deemed to be the “only blameless person living on earth at the time and living in close fellowship with God” (Gen:6:9). Maybe you are thinking that God could have found another solution, did he really have to kill everybody? However, as we look at the story, we see that God actually gave the people plenty of time to repent and change their ways. He could have destroyed everybody immediately. Instead, he commanded Noah to build an Ark. This would have taken a long time. Some commentators believe that it would have taken up to 120 years. That is one very long DIY project!
120 years building an Ark would have given all the people plenty of time to wonder what was going on, question Noah, consider their own lives and seek God.
But even then, after the Ark was built, we see that Noah and his family went into the Ark and were there for seven days before the flood came. (Gen 7:10).  In those seven days, I am sure the people who had been watching Noah must have started to wonder whether anything was going to happen. But it seems that none of them repented. Instead, they carried on with their lives for one more week, until suddenly water erupted from the earth and the rains came and it was too late.
So what can we take from this story today?
Firstly, it is good to realise that we have the immense power to break God’s heart. So we need to take care how we live. Just as we don’t want to hurt those close to us, we need to remember that we can break God’s heart. Fortunately, in the same breath, as his children we can seek and receive forgiveness quickly and completely.
Secondly, as Christians we can take comfort in the fact that just like Noah, we have found favour with God (verse 8) and that through our relationship with Jesus, we are saved, just as much as Noah was saved by entering the Ark.
Finally, we need to pray urgently for those around us, who do not yet know Jesus or have rejected him. The rains and floods came suddenly and were deadly. We are living in a time where a virus has come just as suddenly and as just as lethally. Many have been totally unprepared for death. Our prayers and our witness to others is just as urgent as it would have been in Noah’s time.

Let us pray: Father God, we are living in what seems to be precarious times. We are surrounded by so many people struggling, without hope, without direction. Please help us to pray. Help us to reach out to those we know to show them the hope you have given us and that we now enjoy. It is sometimes hard for us to see what you are doing in the midst of our present difficulties, but we know that you make everything beautiful in its own time and that you will keep us safe in your son Jesus. Amen
Tomorrow’s reading: Psalm 51:1-18