Monday, June 14, 2010
Sovereignty Series - Noah
Have you ever wondered why God didn't just start over after Adam and Eve sinned? Just hit the creational delete button? Who would have ever known, right? Unfortunately this is man's response to problems, but thankfully it's not God's.
The answer to why He didn't start over is found in Ephesians 1:4 - "...just as He chose us in Him before the foundations of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him..." Before the words "Let there be..." ever came out of the mouth of God, He wrote a book. It's called the book of life and in it He recorded the names of those who would be holy and blameless - just like Him. (See Revelation 20:11-15)
When man chose to believe a lie over Truth, God's chosen were instantaneously cut off from fellowship with Him. Wiping out Adam and Eve would wipe out the genetic pool that would bring His chosen to life. I personally believe that Adam and Eve were in that book as well, for a perfect people had to come from perfect parents, right? So erasing man from earth wasn't an option for a holy God, who cannot go against His Word. His book of life demanded that He continue through with His plan.
But this was not a problem for God. It wasn't a surprise and it wasn't even unexpected. Remember - He is God.
So, God begins to deal with man in general and by two chapters later two of the saddest verses in all of scripture were written: "Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. The Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart..." (Genesis 6:5,6)
So, let me ask you a few questions about those verses. Who exactly was wicked? (man) All men or just some men? (every intent was only evil continually - it was all of them) How bad was it? (God was sorry He made man and it grieved Him)
Okay, so things are pretty bad and in verse 7 God decides to "blot man out" because He was "sorry He made them."
Then comes a wonderful verse: "But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord."
Wait a minute. I thought all men were wicked. I thought all men had evil thoughts in their hearts all the time. How did Noah find favor with God? Is it because of the next verse? "Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his time. Noah walked with God."
Oh, now I get it. Noah was a good guy, so on the earth there was only one option worth keeping and it was this good, righteous guy, Noah. That's why he found favor with God and was saved. Right?
Let's keep it in the order that God wrote it: All men were wicked. But Noah found favor with God. Then, Noah was a righteous, blameless man who walked with God.
That word "favor" means grace. Noah found grace with God. And we all know that grace is unmerited (unearned favor). So what Noah found with God was favor that he didn't earn. He didn't receive favor because he was righteous, but rather he was righteous because he was given favor. Noah was just as wicked as the next guy, but he received the label of righteous.
So how does a sinner become righteous? Through the blood of Christ. Now in Noah's case, it was a future application of Christ's blood, but only Jesus can make a man righteous.
So here's what we've learned. God created man. Man sinned. The cancer of sin spread wildly so that by the time that the population of the world was about what it is today, God was disheartened with the state of man and decided to wipe them all out. Well, not completely because of Ephesians 1. He still had a book full of chosen people that were to be holy and blameless and because He said it was so, He continued to work with sinful man. As a matter of fact, in Genesis 3 He promised a solution, so now He was doubly obligated to complete His plan. So He showed favor to one man. He made a wicked man named Noah righteous and continued His plan through him.
By the way, Noah was in that original book.
And surprise, surprise, Noah followed. God told Noah exactly what to do, and Noah repeatedly "did according to all that God had commanded him..." (Genesis 6:22; 7:5,16) Noah was righteous and blameless - does that mean Noah was sinless? Of course it doesn't, but for a brief moment, in a simple verse, we are given God's perspective on His chosen people. We are given a glimpse of how God sees us when He looks at us. Righteous and blameless. And who exactly is righteous and blameless? Jesus Christ, for when we give our sin-encrusted lives to Him, He gives us His identity - righteous and blameless. This is how Noah looked back then and this is how we look today.
And it's all because of God's grace.
Now, does this story prove that God chose Noah and that Noah was not seeking after God? Well, I'll readily admit that we aren't really given many details, so let's stick with what we do know:
1. every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. (Doesn't sound like anyone was seeking after God.)
2. But Noah found favor with God (God extended grace to one man to continue the human race).
It's a starting place. It's a case study. Stay tuned for more...