Summary: The Flood in Genesis is not a fairytale but a fact that should teach us not to be mistaken about God’s faithfulness in His promises to bless and to judge.
The question was asked, “Who in the Bible displayed financial wizardry?” The answer: “It was Noah. While the whole world was in liquidation, he kept his stocks afloat!”
As I did a search on the Internet on “Noah’s Ark”, I came across a webpage where there was a colourful picture of the Noah’s Ark with the title: “Everything I Really Need to Know I learned from Noah’s Ark. Then it was followed by these statements:
Plan ahead. It wasn’t raining when Noah built the ark.
Stay fit. When you are 600 years old, someone might ask you to do something really big.
Don’t listen to critics. Do what has to be done.
Build on high ground.
For safety’s sake, travel in pairs.
Two heads are better than one.
Speed isn’t always an advantage. The cheetahs were on board, but so, were the snails.
If you can’t fight or flight – free flat!!!
We may smile at these statements, but do you know something? What God really wanted Noah and his descendents to know is not mentioned in the list. God told Noah immediately after he left the ark about the conditions under which he and his descendents were to live. Unfortunately, most Sunday school lessons and adult bible studies rarely deal with any of the stipulations of the covenant God made with humanity through Noah. All we learn and remember about the flood story was the sign of the covenant – namely the rainbow; nothing about its content. Nevertheless, I shall leave the sermon on Genesis 9 where God speaks to Noah immediately after the Flood. Rev Orr will be preaching on it.
I believe the story of the God’s announcement, Noah’s preparations and patience during the Flood, here in Genesis 6 – 8, have much to offer us lessons from the faithlessness of humanity, faith of Noah, the Flood and God’s faithfulness.
The FAITHLESSNESS of Humanity
My Spirit will not contend with man forever, for he is mortal; his days will be a hundred and twenty years…. 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. (6:3, 5)
Before the Flood story, the author of Genesis gives us a glimpse of what was the situation and condition. What prompted God the Creator and Preserver to announce His intention to destroy everything that breathes on the earth and in the air?
After the First Murder in Genesis 4, chapter 5 gives us a genealogy, tracing the faithful line of Seth, the “appointed (4:25), all the way to Noah, “the deliverer” (5:32). At the end of Genesis 4, where the results of sin and hatred had permeated Cain’s family, there is hopeful comment about Seth and his posterity. So, at the earliest stages of human history, there were two types of people: those who were faithful to the divine image conferred upon them, and those who were violent and godless; in other words, Seth’s line versus Cain’s line.
The genealogy in Genesis acts like a kind of fast-forward button, bringing in haste the appearance of Noah, who would act as the turning point of human history.
The author of Genesis includes a strange short account about the “sons of God” marrying “the daughters of men” any of them they choose (6:1). Many people readily identify the “sons of God’ as the fallen angels or demons who married human women. If that being true, then we have record here in Scriptures of the enmeshing of demonic and human rebellion against God, which will culminate in the final all out war in the Book of Revelation.
There are others who choose to understand the “sons of God” to be “godly sons” of Seth, meaning members of Seth’s faithful lineage, who intermarried with “worldly daughters”, the evil descendants of Cain. Such intermarriages would have diluted the godly lineage of Seth.
There is still another alternative, which I am more inclined to take. The “sons of God” here could mean those in authority − kings, princes and governors; they abused their position and power against the people by demanding and exercising the right to spend the first night with any woman who is being married. Such practices existed in the ancient world. In ancient times, kings were regarded as sons of deity and that authorities were occasionally designated deputies or representatives of the gods. The phrase in 6:2 that “the sons of God…married any of them they chose” would suitably describe such practices.
If the exercise of the first night is indeed the sin, the guilty ones were then the people in authority. This theme fits well with the progression of sin in Genesis 1 to 11: individuals (Adam and Eve) family (Cain and descendants) community leaders (sons of God) everyone (Flood and Babel).