Doom. Filmmakers are obsessed with it. Apocalyptic movies delineating the many disasters that could bring about the end of the world abound. Some of them wax poetic – great acting and cinematography combine to send an absolute chill down your spine as you watch the worst possible event play out on a screen before you. You wonder what you would do if it were you facing the end of the world.
The people alive in Noah’s day were past wondering what they would do because the end of the world was staring them right in the face. Genesis 7 unfolds almost like a movie about their doom. At first, everything is normal. Then this weird man named Noah decides to build an ark. This would have been no big deal, but then animals begin to enter the ark. It’s crazy. No one goes and hunts down the animals – they enter by themselves. By the calm, mysterious power of God, seven pairs of each kind of clean animal, seven pairs of each kind of bird, and one pair of each kind of unclean animal enter the ark. They just walk in. And then so do Noah and his family.
And then it begins to rain. People begin to panic. They start to howl and scream. One of the worst scenes in history plays out as water pours from the heavens and bursts from the ground (verse 11). It rains and rains and rains for more than a month (verse 17). Then it stops. In the movies there’s always some dirty, straggling survivors left behind to dramatically survey the damage. But when God sent this flood, everyone died. No one outside of the ark survived. Only Noah and his family were around for the aftermath. For five months all they could see was water (verse 24).
The Treasures Within
Don’t Look Away
Reading this chapter is like watching the news cover a terrible natural disaster, only worse, because this time, no one lives. It’s hard to stomach. It’s almost easier to lightly skim this chapter and move on to the part where normal life begins again. It’s almost easier to pretend that this massive amount of death never really occurred. But God does not seem to want us to do that.
In fact, it is as if He, through the author of this chapter, purposely seeks to remind us of the destruction. Four separate times (verses 4, 21, 22, and 23) God reiterates that every single living thing died. Why? Why is this important? Why is it repeated so much? It’s really depressing!
But unlike the cruel, senseless, and random disasters portrayed in the movies, this destruction had a purpose. God destroyed everyone alive in order to eradicate their sin and the intense, widespread suffering that came with it. This was God’s goal from the beginning (chapter 6). This is one of the first examples of God doing exactly what He said He would.
God wants us to take notice of this. He loves us dearly, therefore He pulls no punches in His campaign against sin. He doesn’t mince words. He doesn’t back down. God declared war against the deadly, poisonous power of sin and He will see this fight through till the very end.
A Sea of Parallels
The idea of “the very end” of sin almost seems like a pipe dream. Yet the noise of this first battle against sin is filled with promise of the final battle and the end of suffering as we know it. In Noah’s day, he and his family are locked in the ark (verse 16) and wait an entire week (verse 10) before the flood begins. In the last days, God’s people will similarly be shut up – in prisons, in the wilderness – and will breathlessly wait for the Second Coming. Just as every living sinner died in Noah’s day, the Bible assures us that there will be complete destruction of sin in the last days. Just like the ark was lifted high above the earth (verse 17) in Noah’s Day, in the last days the righteous will be lifted high above the earth and all the death upon it.
It’s almost as if we have a secret message lying before us in the Bible. In invisible ink, between the lines on the page, God has written into this chapter a prophecy and a promise: Sin. Gone. Suffering. Erased. Stay tuned. It’s coming soon! Make the decision the people in this chapter failed to make. Each and every one of them had the opportunity to get on the boat. It would have been so simple. It is just as simple in the last days to believe in and accept Jesus. The end of the world is coming. What are we going to do?
God’s Message To Us
“We’re waging war against sin – and we can win.” The final battle against sin isn’t here yet, but another battle is: we can fight sin in our own lives. When I choose to do stupid things, things I know God hates, I suffer. And it pierces God’s heart because He hates to see me suffer. So He comes close to me. He kneels down next to me and whispers to me, “Choose Me instead of sin. We will fight together against it. It is impossible to lose when you fight with Me.” The same God who directed hosts of animals into a huge boat and the same God who kept that same boat afloat and the people in it alive wants to fight with us. This is my ark. This is your ark. We have to get in!
How does this chapter make you feel? What battle against sin are you fighting today? Do you think you can win the battle when you fight with God? What message do you think God has for you in this chapter?