The Lord saw that humanity had become thoroughly evil on the earth and that every idea their minds thought up was always completely evil. 6 The Lord regretted making human beings on the earth, and he was heartbroken. 7 So the Lord said, “I will wipe off of the land the human race that I’ve created: from human beings to livestock to the crawling things to the birds in the skies, because I regret I ever made them.” 8 But as for Noah, the Lord approved of him. 9 These are Noah’s descendants. In his generation, Noah was a moral and exemplary man; he walked with God. 10 Noah had three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth. 11 In God’s sight, the earth had become corrupt and was filled with violence. 12 God saw that the earth was corrupt, because all creatures behaved corruptly on the earth. 13 God said to Noah, “The end has come for all creatures, since they have filled the earth with violence. I am now about to destroy them along with the earth, 14 so make a wooden ark. Make the ark with nesting places and cover it inside and out with tar. 15 This is how you should make it: four hundred fifty feet long, seventy-five feet wide, and forty-five feet high. 16 Make a roof[ for the ark and complete it one foot from the top. Put a door in its side. In the hold below, make the second and third decks. 17 “I am now bringing the floodwaters over the earth to destroy everything under the sky that breathes. Everything on earth is about to take its last breath. 18 But I will set up my covenant with you. You will go into the ark together with your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives. 19 From all living things—from all creatures—you are to bring a pair, male and female, into the ark with you to keep them alive. 20 From each kind of bird, from each kind of livestock, and from each kind of everything that crawls on the ground—a pair from each will go in with you to stay alive. 21 Take some from every kind of food and stow it as food for you and for the animals.” 22 Noah did everything exactly as God commanded him. Genesis 6:5-22 CEB
How do we reconcile this mess we humans made six chapters into the scriptures? Maybe we simply state the obvious: made fearfully and wonderfully, given a big job and special relationship with God – humanity still broke down into a cesspool of greed and gluttony. Oh, how I can relate. Much like the apostle Paul in the book of Romans, I grieve the awareness that my knowledge of my Creator’s disposition towards me is not enough to save me from myself. I, like Paul, beg for something more. I just don’t know what that is…and, as grateful as I am to Noah for being “moral and exemplary” in his walk with God, I cannot say the same for myself. Do you remember when you were a kid, and the adults would all talk about how Santa would only come for good children and the naughty ones would get a piece of coal? Did you ever think, “I bet this year it’s coal for me!”? Perhaps the least surprising thing in the scriptures to me is that people can really be disappointing. The greatest gift in this passage is the consistency of God’s faithfulness. He’s making a covenant with Noah. God regrets making humans, but despite this sorrow, he is a God who brings life from death. He revives dried bones. He does not allow the frailty of humanity to cloud his judgment – if but one man is faithful, he shall be sheltered and restored.
Today, can we try to forget the old naughty or nice message that parents have used to manipulate their children’s behavior? Instead, remember this: God is consistent, even when we are not. Because of who God is, we GET TO, as a privilege, walk with him. Can you dare to dream how our daily living choices might change with this framework of privilege (as opposed to punishment)? Remember this truth, for tomorrow we will venture into a conversation about disappointment.