Summary: The story of Noah is another example of God’s holy character which must punish sin and his overwhelming grace that permits humanity to survive. I begin with a TV commerical from years past about peanut butter cups with Noah and the flood as background.
In Jesus Holy Name April 27, 2008
Text: Genesis 6:5-8,13-18 Redeemer
“Noah: What Happened to All the Unicorns?”
Today our world is colored and shaped through the lens of a camera. Television affects us all. Through television we gain knowledge about our world, our history and geography. We are entertained by National Geographic Specials or the Disney Channel. We gain almost instantaneous information and pictures from Afghanistan, India or anywhere our reporters happen to be.
Commercials can also entertain us and motivate us to purchase specific merchandise. There are always commercials that stay with us longer than others. One of my favorite commercials is an advertisement for Reeses’s Peanut butter cups. It’s a short commercial.
Two men, dressed in mid-eastern clothing, are sitting inside an adobe or stone building. There’s excitement in their voice. One is sitting with a large jar of peanut butter and other is holding a bar of chocolate. They have just made a discovery by combining the taste of the chocolate and peanut butter.
They are very excited and say: “Let’s tell Noah!” The scene shifts to the window where one sees rain pouring down and one hears the clap of thunder. “Well, let’s wait until the rain stops.” The narrator then states: “the world had to wait another 3000 years to discover the taste of chocolate and peanut butter.
The commercial was created with a sense of humor, to encourage you to make a decision. They want you to buy Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. The commercial idea was based on a story in Genesis 6-9. Genesis tells the story of a man name Noah. It is a story about a decision and divine judgment.. (Read Genesis 6:5-8)
Humanity was filled with wickedness. Men and women were consumed with evil thoughts and actions. Your daily newspaper carries the endless evil actions of human beings in our own community. The judgment of God came against evil and all humanity, except for Noah, “Who found favor in God’s eyes.”
Martin Luther wrote: “In the midst of sin and punishment grace intervenes to (save the human race.) God allowed grace to prevail so as to modify His cruel and final threat.”
The story of Noah and the Ark is really a story about God’s judgment against sin and evil behavior, and about God’s grace. God is holy. He can not be contaminated by sin. Holiness describes both the majesty of God and the purity and moral perfection of His nature. Holiness is one of His attributes; that is, holiness is an essential part of the nature of God. God’s holiness if perfect freedom from all evil. We say that gold is pure when all dross has been refined from it. In this manner we can think of the holiness of God as the absolute absence of any evil. (The Pursuit of Holiness p. 26 Jerry Bridges)
When people hear or read the story of Noah and how God destroyed the human race with the exception of Noah’s family, they might think that God is unfair. They might question God’s actions and wonder why a “good “God would destroy so many. This is the devil’s lie. This is what the devil said to Eve. He essentially told her: “God is being unfair to you.” If God is perfectly holy, then we can be confident that His actions are always perfect and just.
Because God is holy he demands perfect holiness in all of His moral creatures. It cannot be otherwise. He cannot possibly ignore or approve of any evil committed. He cannot relax for one moment or wink at sin. Because God is holy, He hates sin. Hate is such a strong word we dislike using it. We reprove our children for saying they hate someone. God hates sin where ever he finds it, in saint and sinner alike. At the time of Noah the whole world had become evil. God simply invokes his righteous judgment.
To again quote Luther: “In the midst of sin and punishment, God allowed his grace to prevail…” and the human race was saved through Noah and his family.
During the past few Sunday’s we have noted from Genesis that the human race can be traced through two fundamentally different approaches to life. The descendants of Cain who chose to live without God and the descendants of Seth, who “walked with God.” While the descendants of Seth were not free of sinful behavior, their choice in life was to “walk with God.”
But as time passed, the separation gradually disappeared until it ultimately culminated in intermarriage between the believers and unbelievers. Abandoned by the restraining Spirit of God, the descendants of Seth eventually chose to turn their backs to God. We see the same reality in our own world. We know of grandparents who were active in their worship of God. But maybe their “baby boomer” children drifted away from God. They drifted away from prayer except in a crisis. The children stopped attending church and SS. They stopped telling their own children about God. And now, the grandchildren, or great grandchildren only hold to the cultural knowledge that there is a “Supreme Being”, but they don’t know much about Him. (or Her).