Summary: After expulsion from the Garden of Eden, man began to multiply greatly. So did his wickedness and evil. It was so bad, God decided to destroy the earth and every living thing on it. But in the middle of it all, there was still grace to be found. This
After the events in the garden, the Bible tells us Adam and Eve had three sons, one of which murdered his brother, as well as other sons and daughters. On writer has commented that with man’s extreme longevity of life, and with the population growth roughly the same as today’s rate, the population of the Earth could have been in the billions in Noah’s day. Hence the phrase, “when men began to multiply on the face of the earth” in verse 1.
Yet in verse 2, the mood turns dark and foreboding. We are told that “the sons of God saw the daughters of men” and that they “took them wives.” The term “sons of God” (bene elohim, used of angels in Job 1:6, 2:1, 38:7) could either refer to fallen angels who decided to take human form and unnaturally reproduce with the “fair” “daughters of men.” It could also speak of the Godly children of Seth who were “seduced to the dark side” and left behind the Godly influence for which they were chosen. In either case, the result was a fearsome line of creatures who were called “giants,” or nephilim, and were “mighty men” and “men of renown.” They brought a wicked and evil environment such as not yet been equaled. After all, even Jesus said, “As it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.” Luke 17:26 Can you imagine the evil and wickedness? It was so bad that we apparently haven’t equaled it yet!
God was so discouraged, pained and sorrowful over the state of the creation. It had gotten to a place that “EVERY imagination fo the thoughts of his (man’s) heart was ONLY evil CONTINUALLY” in verse five. In fact, the Bible says that “it repented the Lord that he had made man” and that “it grieved him at his heart.” While 1 Samuel 15:39 does tell us that God does not change, this is really expressing the deep sorrow over what his creation had done to itself, similar to a parent expressing sorrow over a rebellious child. When we sin, we grieve God’s heart so.
So God decided that “his days shall be one hundred and twenty days.” Similar to Jonah declaring God’s judgment within a certain period of time, God here gives man a deadline to straighten up and fly right. God shows his great patience in allowing mankind the chance to change. But man ran out of time and the floodwaters judged the world. Your time may be running out. Turn to God for forgiveness. You cannot see God’s stopwatch, and there will be no bargaining for more time in the end.
We leave this point seeing man in as sad a state as he has ever been. So much sin, wickedness and evil, that God decided to judge his whole creation with the destruction of water.
In the midst of the muck and mire of evil and sin, there comes a bright ray of hope and cheer in verse 8: “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.”
This is the first mention of that amazing word in the entire Bible. It means that he was well favored and precious in God’s eyes. Isn’t it precious that in the middle of sin and death that there is always amazing grace?
Phillip Yancey tells of a British conference on comparative religions. There were experts debating what single belief was unique to the Christian faith. Was it the mind-blowing doctrine of incarnation? How about the impossibility of bodily resurrection. Finally, C.S. Lewis walked in and asked “What’ the rumpus about?’ Once he was told they were discussing Christianity’s unique contribution among world religions, Lewis said, “Oh, that’s easy. It’s grace.”
The whole idea of God’s unconditional love being extended to us with no strings attached seems to go against every instinct and knee-jerk reaction that we have as humans. Hindus, Buddists, Muslims, Dianeticists and all the world’s other religions provide requirements for approval. Only Christianity declares that God’s love is freely given.
IT IS GRACE THAT FREELY GIVES US SALVATION. “For by GRACE are you saved through faith, and not that of yourselves, it is the gift of God.” Ephesians 2:8. God looked down on man in the garden, a pitiful, sniveling, poor excuse of a creature for trying to pass off his bad choices and rebellion on another, and extended grace, setting down the guidelines for salvation through the shed blood of the Messiah. Before God showed Adam and his wife the act of shedding blood, and while He was still acting as judge and pronouncing punishment for sin, He was explaining His plan of grace, saying that the woman’s seed would bruise the head of the serpent, Satan. THAT is unconditional love.