Monday 07 September 2015

Bible Book:

“And the Lord was sorry that he had made humankind on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart.” (v. 6)

Genesis 6:5-8 Monday 7 September 2015

Psalm: Psalm 85


The writer of Genesis offers, on behalf of God, a dim anddepressing view of humanity, as the background to the story ofNoah, who is introduced in the genealogy at the end of the previouschapter (Genesis 5:32). It is particularly striking howsorry God is, so much so that God is "grieved". The writer ascribesdeep human feelings to God. Yet out of this dystopia will comesalvation and a hero - Noah - his story is the main focus thisweek. The darker the picture which is painted now, the brighter theeventual resolution - spoiler alert - when the sun shines on (yetmore!) rain and the rainbow is revealed (Genesis 9:13).

God is also presented as keen to intervene in human affairs,here, and throughout Genesis. The sharing, inexplicably, of allother creatures in humankind's fate is an indication of the scaleof the divine distress. This follows the pattern of the creationstory which treats the animal kingdom as subordinate (Genesis 1:28) to human beings.

Everything is 'doom and gloom' until we come to one of thoseshort, high-powered Scripture verses which are delivered straight -"But Noah found favour in the sight of the Lord" (v. 8). Noah isone of the pre-eminent righteous men (sadly women are often leftunnamed and uncelebrated) in Scripture, a once-in-a-generationfigure and uniquely, in the Old Testament at least, the saviour ofhumanity. He is highlighted, twice, with Daniel and Job in a listof three paragons of righteousness by Ezekiel (Ezekiel 14:14, 20).

In its own way the story of Noah is another creation story,complete with scenes of watery chaos. This new beginning is alsomarked by the Bible's first 'covenant' (or contractual agreementwhich binds two parties) which is mentioned in verse 18 but not putinto place until after the flood has subsided (see chapter 9). Noah, of course, responds to God'schoosing of him and detailed instructions as the reader expects -"Noah did this; he did all that God commanded him" (v. 22). It'sworth noting that this, another short verse, is the entiredescription of Noah's massive building project.

To Ponder

  • What does it mean to you to say that God is "grieved" (v. 6)?How do you share in this concern for others?
  • How do the dystopian parts of Scripture affect you?
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