As we settled down to our second session in our series on Noah, we asked the question why did the God of love send a flood? Paul took the challenge of guiding us through this very tricky question!
How well do you know the story? You might have read it in books or a children’s Bible, seen in films or picked it up from Sunday school, but how well do you know the story?
To make the point we started off with a sink or swim quiz, sink if it was false swim if it’s true. Have a go, and see how well you do:
- Noah and his sons built the ark together
- The ark took 120 years to build
- Noah and his sons were ridiculed by people who thought he was crazy
- Noah preached to his neighbours to get them to change their minds
- Noah took more than 2 of some kind of animals into the ark
- Noah was on the ark for 40 days and nights
Our challenge is to be like the Bereans in Acts 17, constantly reading scripture to check whether what we see, think and hear is actually true.
God is not like us. He doesn’t think like us and his logic and reason are not like ours. His values and perspectives are not the same. He sees a lot of things, some things He says are good, some of the things He sees displease him.
Now because God doesn’t think like we do, He will sometimes ask us to do things that might not be comfortable for us, maybe to talk to someone or even to give our lives for Him. We must remember that God isn’t like us. We all tend to make God like us, maybe a bit cleverer, bigger and more powerful, but we all have a habit of making God in our image rather than allowing Him to be God.
In Romans 11:33-34 Paul writes that we cannot understand how God thinks, no matter how much we read our Bible or trick ourselves, we can never fully understand God – if we could he wouldn’t be God!
With all that in mind why would the God of love send a flood? Let’s dig into it. There are three main reasons, of which we will look at one tonight and the other two will come up in the next session as we look at God’s grace.
What does the Bible say in the story of Noah? In Genesis 6:5 we read the reason for the flood: ‘The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time’.
What kind of feelings does God have?
- Jealousy – Exodus 20:5
- Love – John 3:16
- Anger – Matthew 21:12
- Upset – John 11:35
- Regret – Genesis 6:5
- Hate – Probers 6:16-19
- Devastated – Jonah and Nineveh
How does God feel when we sin? Sad, disappointed, does it depend on the sin?
The story of Noah is a powerful story of God’s emotions. In Genesis 6:12 God sees His creation being corrupted – it is almost as if God saw what He had made was being undone. In Genesis 6:6 we read that God is grieved that He made man and His heart is filled with pain.
This is the first time in the Bible that there’s an emotional reaction to sin – God gets angered by sin, but His first response to sin is grief/pain. He suffers when we sin. This story is not about an angry God taking vengeance. It is more like a wounded artist dealing with the rejection of him by the beings he has made. A rejected creator being treated with contempt by the ones he created.
When we read Genesis 6 we see that God is not just dealing with human sin, but also with the sins of fallen angels – the Nephilim – the sons of God. These fallen angles were having sex with women, it was detestable to God – there was an imbalance that needed to be redressed.
Before the flood the world was drowning in sin. By his very nature, God cannot and will not leave sin. Sin is serious and it ruins our relationship with God. Just read what Jesus said about it in Matthew 5:29-30
God hates sin and so should we. Sin is our enemy. It destroys our relationship with God and we must avoid it at all costs. We must take it seriously. We tend to look at sin hypocritically. ‘Others do the serious stuff – murder, stealing, adultery etc. but the things I struggle with are natural’. We often joke and are cool about sin, but Jesus tells us to take it seriously – sin will screw up your relationship with God.
The question we should be asking is not ‘what can I get away with’ but instead ‘how far can I get away from sin??’
God is a righteous God who delights in good and hates evil. When He saw his creation ‘every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time’. God cannot tolerate evil; it is the absolute opposite of the just and loving God that He is. So God sent a flood. This is not at odds with his loving nature but directly as a result of this love that He is just and righteous, not allowing evil in his presence. It should make us stand up and take notice that God is not in the business of messing with sin. People are still sinful, chasing after their own pleasures, God is still the same (read Matthew 25:31- 4 and Revelation), that is why He sent his son, that whoever believes in him will not die but have eternal life.