Genesis 6:5-8: The LORD saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain. So the Lord said, “I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth – men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air – for I am grieved that I have made them. But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD.
Most people know the story of Noah and the great flood. In teaching young children about Noah and the ark we focus on cute animals marching into the ark and living comfortably it seems, side by side with Noah and his family. After Noah and his family are spared, God sends a beautiful rainbow as a covenant between God and Noah and all future generations. God promises to never again destroy all living creatures upon the earth.
For many of us however, this story of the flood is a distressing and terrifying account of an angry God wiping out all of creation. But if you read the text carefully, you will find that God was not angry but rather His heart was grieved and full of pain. Humanity had made a mess of the world and it caused God immense grief that there was increasing evil upon the earth. Scripture tells us that “The Lord was grieved…and his heart was filled with pain” (Genesis 6:6). The world that God had created had descended into evil and wickedness and the heart of God was filled with grief, not anger.
Just as God is about to wipe mankind and all creatures from the face of the earth, we are told that “Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord”. Noah is seems was the kind of person that God was pleased with because he was a “righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God” (Genesis 6:9). Noah was the kind of being that God intended when he created the world and the first humans. He was not a perfect man but Noah lived the kind of life that God intended for his created beings to live. Noah’s heart was not filled with evil and wickedness; he was a good and upright man who sought fellowship with his creator.
Are human beings today any better off than the people of Noah’s time, before the flood? It would appear that we are not much different than those who were destroyed when water covered the entire earth. We continue to do things our own way instead of allowing God to shape us and give us greater focus on living a good and honest life. We follow the things of this world that only serve to corrupt us and distance us from God. In other words, we continue to cause God much grief and pain today.
Let us pray for our world, for all of creation, that we will not continue to grieve God and that we will learn from our mistakes and strive to be the creation that God truly desired from the beginning. May our faithful and compassionate God forgive us all of our many sins.