For the majority of this year, we will continue to follow along the Biblical storyline using Unfolding Grace as our guide. This week we turn to chapter 2 of the book, but don’t worry if you don’t have it. Simply read Genesis 6-9 in your Bible. In preparation for your reading, I will borrow from Unfolding Grace below to set the scene. There in the chapter introduction, we read:
“This story introduces us to twin realities that will be woven together through the fabric of Scripture: God’s just judgments and God’s gracious covenant-promises. God is just, so He must judge sinners. Yet He also abounds in mercy and remains committed to His plan to rescue His people and renew all things. Through the flood we see His devastating judgment; through His covenant with Noah we see His abounding mercy.”
Wednesday, January 13th
Larger Portion of Scripture - Genesis 6-9
Focused Passage for Reflection - Genesis 6:1 - 7:1
Reflecting on the Text:
I love action thrillers! I know what’s coming, but somehow I still get sucked into the suspense. At the darkest moment, when all hope seems to be lost, the hero comes in at the very last second and saves the day. Maybe it’s the action that draws me in. Maybe it’s the suspense. Or maybe, I just love a good hero story.
Genesis 6 has all the makings of a great action thriller. The moment gets no darker than Genesis 6:5. “The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” Phew! That sounds a bit harsh, doesn’t it? It sounds like the text or the Author of the text is trying to beat a dead horse as He describes how “bad” the people have gotten. At first, it sounds like it, but then we realize that the text is describing more than an occasional sin action. It is describing sin as a state of being. In other words, it is painting a picture of total depravity. With that in mind, more than describing a dark moment, this verse is describing the darkness of the sin nature.
So in v. 7, the Lord proclaimed judgment over all His creation, saying He would “blot them out”. At that point in the story, it certainly seemed like all was lost. But v. 8 offers a glimmer of hope with the words, “But Noah…” Could this Noah be the hero who could come in and save the day?
He seems to fit the part. He was righteous, blameless, and walked with God. Verse 22 tells us “he did all that God commanded him.” He was all of this, and there is much for us to learn from Noah about Godly living. He trusted God’s Word when it seemed to make no sense and others ridiculed him for it. He faithfully obeyed God and led his family in that obedience. Yes, we can learn much from Noah and his testimony of faithful living. But hero?
It won’t be long before we will see him in chapter 9, drunk, passed out, and naked. He was a good man, but not a perfect man. He was used by God, but he was not the hero.
Let’s go back to Genesis 6:8. “Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.” Favor is grace. Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. He was a man in a state of grace. And this state of grace is mentioned before the description of his blamelessness and obedience, as faulty as that blamelessness and obedience would at times prove to be. Rather than a hero, Noah was a faulty grace recipient whom the Lord blessed and used for His good purposes. And praise the Lord, He still blesses and uses faulty grace recipients for His good purposes! But who is the hero?
To answer that question, we must go further back. Do you remember our mention of Genesis 3:15 last week? There, in the beginning, God promised a Redeemer. The Redeemer would come from the seed of the woman and would eventually crush the head of the serpent. Noah was not the Redeemer, but through him, the Lord kept alive the family tree. He re-created creation, fallen though it was, and through Noah continued the line of the woman that would eventually lead to the Redeemer.
So we look back, then we look forward. Through Noah, we eventually look to Jesus…the one true Hero of God’s unfolding story of grace.
Questions for personal reflection:
How does Noah’s obedience challenge you to grow in obedience? Where do you sense God’s call on your life to grow in obedience, and how does the story of Noah’s obedience encourage you to continue?
As you come to see the true Hero in the story by getting a glimpse of God’s creative plan for preserving the line of the woman, how does it impact the way you read Scripture? How does it impact both the passion and the direction of your worship?