One of the most popular stories of the Old Testament is the “Story of the Flood.” Children’s book about Noah use smiling animals, cute pictures, and vibrant colors. Too often this can paint the story as fiction and not fact. Some smart scientists propose that the fossilized record can be explained by a cataclysmic deluge that covered the whole world. We won’t talk how they are conveniently railroaded out of the mainstream scientific community as simple-minded
Neanderthals. The reality is that the flood happened. Other artists depict how it may have been. One painting shows people and animal alike scrambling to a mountain top with the waves crashing around them. A mother is attempting to save her children. A lion is attempting to be king of the mountain. Then other pictures show the fear in people’s eyes as they tread water when the land is all gone. There is a surreal sadness that washes over the story of Noah and the flood. Real people die. Estimations of how many people died in the flood range from 4-15 billion.
1 That is so many people. Sin is real and God states it emphatically in this section of the Old Testament. 3 The LORD said, “My Spirit will not struggle with man forever.” People were rejecting the work of the Holy Spirit to create and sustain faith. There is a point at which God will say, “Thy will be done.” He will not fight that rejection forever. The root cause for this outright rejection of the true God was the sinful nature passed down from generation to generation.
The first people, Adam and Eve, were created in the image of God, which the Bible describes as people being holy like God is holy. Their will and desires were completely in line with God’s will and desire. There was no sin. They weren’t robots because true love is not a forced love. They had the free choice to love God all on their own. But they chose rebellion, they chose themselves, they chose to gratify their cravings instead. The image of God, perfection alignment with his desires and will, was ruined. Genesis 5 starts with, Adam...became the father of a son in his own likeness, according to his own image, and he named him Seth (5:3). All people were then born in the image of their sinful parents. Some remained believers in God’s promise that one person would come to redeem the sinful world and return the people to a state of perfection. Moses describes how the believers began to intermarry with unbelievers.
2 The sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful, and they took as wives for themselves any of them they chose. Slowly the believers became victims of unbelief.
God describes what this sin looked like on the earth at the time of Noah.
5 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. This broke God’s heart. All those people. They were so alone because they didn’t have God. God knew that he was the only one who could fulfill their need. He ached to see them abandon him for the earthly pleasures, choosing themselves and their own appetites yet again.
The people who lived at the time of Noah were probably extremely smart yet couldn’t see their own sin and corruption. We are no different. We often don’t want to see it. We would rather think of ourselves as really good, nice people. We can become so blind by our sinful nature. This blindness to our condition can lead to isolation away from God and his
word. I’m not that bad, so who needs God. Isolation worsens sin. One shocking example of isolation was a shocking discover in a small town in Illinois in 2014, Christmas day. A neighborhood was shocked that one of their own neighbors was found dead. Most shocking thing is that the coroner said that Sunantha Simmons was dead for more than a year. Her family came to visit from Japan and found her in the garage. She died of natural causes but no one knew. It should have been obvious. Signs to the house that things weren’t right. The porch was littered with boxes, the front yard had overgrown with weeds. We want to
accusingly ask, “What were the neighbors thinking? Did no one care enough to check on her?”
1 Answers in Genesis estimates 4 billion. Others guestimate as high as 15 Billion. http://amunrud.com/noah/population.html
Earlier this year we were all forced to self-isolate. Stay home and stay safe. We are now beginning to see the psychological effects of that as reports of mental disorders, suicide, self-medication, etc. are all on the rise. Let’s not extend that by isolating our sin from God as if we don’t need his grace in our life. You are not alone. God does not leave you alone. God does not include you in with the rest of the wicked, even though he has a right to. Just as God assessed that all the minds of all people were sin all the time before the flood, he saw the
same thing after the flood with Noah and his family (Gen. 8:21). He sees the same thing today with all people including you and me. God’s patience is remarkable. For over 4000 years, we still haven’t seen a gigantic flood to wipe the earth clean. God, in his amazing patience, forgives you over and over and over again. He does not leave you alone. Noah was not alone. He had his family. God gave Noah a community. Even though it was a small community of 7 others, it was the church. God gives you a community. The church is not perfect but she is
beautiful. She is because she is the bride of Christ, robed in his perfection righteousness. We are his because of what he has done. Christ pursued us, purchased us through his life and death. We are all in the same boat. Noah and his family are a beautiful picture of the church. If you flip a church building upside down and it looks like the bottom of a boat. God gave us the church to be a people that gathers. When everything is done with the virus, we will all
be able to gather again, whether it is done and we are in heaven or it is done and we can continue worshiping. We will gather in our boat that will help keep us safe. The only difference between Noah and us is that God didn’t command us to hunker down and wait for it all to be over. God told us to toss the life preserves over and gathering in as many as
possible. There is no community like the church anywhere. No other community is as transformational because no other community is formed on Christ. While people connecting around a dinner table, fighting over the turkey drumstick is good, nothing is better than your Christian community of believers that points to God’s gift of relationships, people
connecting around Christ is what changes the human heart. Enjoy the beautiful awkwardness of Christian community. Embrace the risks knowing that the risks of isolation are much
greater. To avoid being destroyed by your sin, come out of the darkness of isolation. Be here, be honest, be forgiven, be encouraged.
You can go and visit the Ark Encounter in Kentucky. If you do, you will see this massive piece of wood that is a picture of God’s grace for you. The water that flooded the earth saved Noah and his family. That water corresponds to the water in baptism that saves you. You see a baptismal in a church and you think of God washing every sin away in his merciful
grace. You see that big piece of wood in front of church and you think of God’s Son who came to earth to die for you.
You see the wood inside this church building and you are in the boat. Let’s ride out this storm together. Jesus is at the
helm so we are safe.