Imagine this: you and your friends and family are among the (relatively) small number of humans on planet Earth. You guys are all beautiful, healthy (plant-based diets for the win, also no chemicals or pesticides), powerful, and intelligent. You are all going to live for a very long time. What would you do with yourself? How would you live your life? Eat a lot of food? Invent Netflix? Pick up gymnastics? Whatever your little heart desires? If you picked the last one, then you aren’t alone – it’s literally what practically every human living during the time leading up to the flood also picked.
The Bible doesn’t go into a lot of detail about what exactly these practically limitless humans did. We know they married whoever they wanted (verse 2), like some sort of ancient edition of Bachelor in Paradise. We also know that they did a lot of wicked things (verse 5). We know that this deeply troubled and disturbed our Creator (verse 6). So He decided to remedy the situation. He decided to kill everybody.
Well, everybody except a man named Noah. He was the only person who didn’t just do whatever he pleased. He was the only person who decided to do what was right, even when he didn’t want to. God determines to save Noah, his wife, his sons, and his sons’ wives. He gives them an escape route. God is going to cause a global flood, but He wants Noah to build himself a huge boat so that he and his family can float instead of die. God gives Noah very specific instructions for how to make the boat and who and what to bring on it. Did Noah want to follow those painstaking instructions? Maybe, maybe not. He did it anyway.
The Treasures Within
God Hates People?
Nothing has really happened yet, but we already have a big problem. God is trying to kill everyone. After all the time and effort and love He put in to forming us from the dust and teaching us to offer sacrifices and putting marks on us – He’s done? I thought He was our day one. Why is He ditching 99.9% of the human race like this? It’s like God is over humanity now. He can’t still love them. Why would you kill someone you love?
Let’s flip the script. What if you were God? What if you knew everything – including the future? What if you had created these people? What if you were madly, deeply, unconditionally in love with them – in a way words could not adequately express? What if you had to watch your beloved ones slowly become terrible people? What if you had to watch them hurt themselves – physically, emotionally and spiritually? They abuse and kill each other. They are selfish, taking from each other, oppressing the weak, verbally and emotionally abusing each other. There are suicides, there is rape, there is greed. There is hopelessness. What if you know without a doubt that your beloved ones will not stop this downward spiral? These people, the ones you love, are so powerful and strong that they will go on like this, suffering and hurting one another, for hundreds of years. The people you love will be trapped, slaves to this misery, for what will feel like an eternity.
On top of all this, the people you love won’t listen to you when you ask them to do what’s right. They flat-out ignore you when you ask them to do what you know will bring their suffering to an end. They don’t trust you. They don’t talk to you. They don’t spend time with you. And you know that this, above all else, is what will suck all joy and happiness out of their lives. They need you. They were made for you.
What would you do? How would you remedy the situation? The misery will go on for years if you don’t stop it, and you know that these people you love will never listen to you, no matter how much time you give them.
God put the people that He loved out of their misery. It broke Him to watch them suffer. He knew that living while suffocating because of the sin that eats at your soul is no better than dying. God made this decision; this terrible decision that broke His heart, out of love. He doesn’t do anything that’s not out of the greatest love.
An Escape Route
God made a strange decision. It comes from a way of thinking that is completely upside down. How can anything be worse than death? Death means you cannot repent! Death means you’ve run out of time to be saved! Did God ruin these people’s chances at heaven?
Well, He had the power to. But He didn’t. The thing about God’s decision is that it wasn’t a secret, nor was it immediate. God did not cook up an evil plan and then instantly drown everyone. No. He entrusted His message to the one man that He knew would believe it. He asked this man to get ready, so that he could be saved. And then He waited. He waited, knowing that Noah would spread the word. He waited, giving ample time for the rest of the people He loved to make their decision. He waited, lest anyone’s life be cut off without the opportunity to repent. He waited because He loves us. He made this decision out of love.
The Next Flood
God’s decision all those years ago directly echoes another one. God is again going to destroy everyone. He is again going to decide that an eternity of suffering is worse than death. He again has entrusted His message to a small group of people. He again has asked these people to get ready so that they can be saved. He is again waiting.
Jesus is going to come again and when He does, everyone who made the wrong decision will be killed. But God, in His love, is not going to cut anyone’s life off without giving them the opportunity to repent. God has given us what we need to make the right decision. God is urging us to make the right decision. Will I? Will you?
God’s Message To Us
“There is nothing worse than your suffering. It wrenches my heart to see it. Do not suffer.” When God asks us to choose Him, it is to keep us from suffering. When God asks us to obey Him, it is to keep us from suffering. When God wrote the Bible, He wrote it to keep us from suffering. He hates our suffering. He knows it isn’t necessary! He knows how close we are to that first breath of fresh air, that first taste of life beyond the suffering caused by our sin. The only thing standing in our way is our choice. To suffer or not to suffer, that is our question.
There Are Always Questions
- I found so odd the part in verse 2 when the Bible says that “the sons of God saw that the daughters of humans were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose”. The sons of God? The daughters of humans? Who are these groups? Could they perhaps be believers and nonbelievers, respectively? Were these marriages the first instances of unequal yokes?
- In verses 19-21, God is telling Noah what to bring on the ark. He tells him to bring animals and then birds and then…food. Does this mean that the animals on the ark were separate from the food this family was to eat? Could this suggest that Noah and his family were vegetarian?
What do you think? Why did God plan to destroy all creation? Does God do everything out of love? What was God’s message to you with this chapter?