The Flood and the Promise

“The Lord observed the extent of human wickedness on the earth, and he saw that everything they thought or imagined was consistently and totally evil. So the Lord was sorry he had ever made them and put them on the earth. It broke his heart” (Genesis 6:5-6, NLT). As we come to Genesis 6, we are confronted with a series of challenging questions. Has God completely lost control here? Does God literally regret His actions? Implying that He made a mistake? No… God hasn’t lost control. He still has a plan. But God desperately wants us to see that His heart is deeply affected in the wake of our choices. “It broke His heart…” God stood broken-hearted at the sight of mankind’s cruelty. Humanity had passed the point of no return. God’s creation had so violently rebelled against its Maker that complete destruction was the only option left.

“But Noah found grace in the sight of the LORD” (6:8). In the midst of human depravity, Noah alone remained faithful. So God instructed Noah to build a gigantic boat, with meticulously exact directions and dimensions. “So Noah did everything exactly as God had commanded him” (6:22). I like how we don’t read about Noah’s reaction to God’s instructions or what he was thinking as he embarked on a 150+ year construction project. We just read that he did it! His obedience and trust in his Creator were unwavering. “By faith Noah respected God’s warning regarding the flood-the likes of which no one had ever seen-and built an ark that saved his family. In this he condemned the world and inherited the righteousness that comes by faith” (Hebrews 11:7, The Voice).

For an entire year, the floodwaters covered the earth, until God’s cleansing work was complete. When Noah and his family finally stepped off of the ark, Noah’s very first act was to worship his Creator! God responded by making an everlasting promise: “I have placed my rainbow in the clouds. It is the sign of my covenant with you and with all the earth” (9:13). God makes big promises, friends! And the best part about it is He keeps them! Not based on how well you or I behave, but simply because He made a promise! And amazingly enough, where else do we find this rainbow in Scripture? Revelation 4:3 tells us that the rainbow is an inseparable part of God’s own throne! As one commentary put it, “It is staggering to see God, in His glory, setting so close to Himself a reminder of His promise to man… The rainbow is a reminder (in the midst of such supreme sovereignty) of God’s commitment to His covenant with man” (David Guzik, Commentary on Genesis).

In closing, I would just like to share a little of the beautiful rainbow promise in Isaiah 54:9-10 from The Voice. May you take the time this week to meditate on God’s enduring promise in your life:

[T]his is like the time when Noah lived.
        I promised that I would never again destroy the world by a flood.
    So now I am promising never again to be so angry
        and punishing as I was when I sent you away.
Even if the mountains heave up from their anchors,
        and the hills quiver and shake, I will not desert you.
    You can rely on My enduring love;
        My covenant of peace will stand forever.


So says the Eternal One, whose love won’t give up on you.


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