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Sunday, September 15, 2013

God Regrets, Human Sinfulness And God's Favor

I have been reading the book of Genesis. It is the book of beginnings, that's what the word "Genesis" means. It comes directly from the first sentence in the Hebrew Bible: "In (the) beginning God created..." This book tells us about the beginning of creation including man and woman. But it also tells us the beginning of sin. Ironically, it is also the book the tells us the end of humanity. Yes, it tells us about the judgement of God in what we call The Flood. As I write we are reading in the news about flooding in some parts of the US but this was a universal flood. There is no time to discuss the evidence of this world-wide flood because I want to focus on why the flood came and how it relates to our walk with God.

So I jump to Genesis 6. Sin had already entered humanity. The Earth was populating quite fast this due to the longevity of individuals (Adam lived over 900 years and Methuselah lived almost 1,000 years). With this came the propagation of sin as well. We often think that our times are bad, but the Bible says that, "When the Lord saw that man’s wickedness was widespread on the earth and that every scheme his mind thought of was nothing but evil all the time, the Lord regretted that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart." (Genesis 6:5-6 - HCSB)
God "regrets" making man. This is an expression to show how God felt about man: ""The repentance of God is an anthropomorphic expression for the pain of the divine love at the sin of man, and signifies that "God is hurt no less by the atrocious sins of men than if they pierced His heart with mortal anguish"" (Calvin).

His heart was grieved and so He decides to exercise judgment on mankind: "Then the Lord said, “I will wipe off from the face of the earth mankind, whom I created, together with the animals, creatures that crawl, and birds of the sky — for I regret that I made them.” (Genesis 6:7 - HCSB) This shows us how bad the world had gotten. Every "creature" or person had become corrupted in the sight of God (see verses 11-12. There is also another explanation to why such corruption. Some say that Genesis 6:1-3 refers to intermarriage between angelic beings and humans which would was an aberration of God's plan. Letting this continue would have been even worse). It is important to note that the standard for morality is God not man. I am sure that people then did not think they were so bad. They might have seen themselves as "progressives". What matters is how God sees us. He is the ultimate Good. He defines good and evil. When He says it was really bad, we know it was, to the point of exhausting God's patience (resisting The Spirit, see 6:3).

In the midst of of all, one man found God's favor (Genesis 6:8): 500 year old Noah. One man. "Noah was a righteous man, blameless among his contemporaries; Noah walked with God." (Genesis 6:9) This man lived in sharp contrast to his contemporaries. There was no doubt that he had fellowship with God even when others didn't. Notice that it doesn't say he was religious. I am sure many people were religious. He walked with God and his life was "right" before Him. Imagine the ridicule he must have faced for so many years including the time of building the ark. People must have laughed really hard about such a "fool" building the biggest boat for a time when rain did not exist. Yet, when God called Noah to build the ark, he obeyed Him (Genesis 6:22). God calls all believers to be obedient to Him, not to the culture and not to a person. Our loyalty is to HIM. God established a covenant with Noah (Genesis 6:18). Out of his lineage He would bring a new start for humanity. All believers in Christ are part of the New Covenant. We can have an eternal relationship with God through the death and resurrection of Christ. A life of faith in Him.

Noah's faith is an example for us: "By faith Noah, after he was warned about what was not yet seen and motivated by godly fear, built an ark to deliver his family. By faith he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith." (Hebrews 11:7 - HCSB)
It is no doubt it is difficult to live for God nowadays. It is becoming increasingly more difficult but it is not impossible. We may be feel or be lonely in our walk with Him. It is possible we will also experience persecution when our lives show the contrast between living for God and living for self and pleasure (wickedness). We'll be laughed at, ridiculed, called names and ostracised for our beliefs.

Yet we can walk with God. We can walk in faith. We can walk in righteousness. We can walk blameless before God. God is with us. Our walk of faith will not be easy, but we are in good company. Let's remember Noah.

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