Genesis 6:5-8 (NIV): 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. The Lord was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain. So the Lord said, “I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth–men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air–for I am grieved that I have made them.” But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.
For many centuries, God continually called to mankind to try to draw their hearts back to Himself after the rebellion and sin of Adam and Eve. But all through that time their wickedness and rebellion only grew stronger, and the hearts of the people only grew harder. They were so focused on the fulfillment of their own desires, the working out of their own agendas, that they had no room in their hearts for the God who had created them and who loved them.
Finally, it reached the point where there was no hope left. The hearts of the people had grown so hard, they had established so many things in their lives and in their societal structures that directed their minds and hearts away from God and His ways, that He knew that they would never turn back to Him. It was only then, after the point of no return had been passed, that God determined to wipe them out and start fresh.
And He actually had someone that He could begin again with! Out of all of those sin-darkened hearts, one man shone like a bright start in a black night: Noah. Noah had walked with God from his youth, going against the tide, not caring about the scorn that others showed when he wouldn’t join them in their sin and dissipation. As the hearts of the people moved further and further away from God, Noah’s heart remained steadfast and true.
It grieved God deeply to have to destroy mankind, the pinnacle of His creation. He had poured so much of Himself into them. He loved them with His whole heart, and was working a plan to redeem them, to restore all that was broken in them. But if there was going to be any hope for their redemption, for the redemption of the whole of creation, there had to be a fresh start, a new beginning. So God selected Noah, the seed from which a fresh beginning for all humanity would spring. And through Noah’s radical obedience, that fresh beginning was made.
Father, thank You for Your passionate love for us – love that doesn’t give up until no hope is left. Love that, even then, looks for a way to keep You plan moving forward. Thank You for Your righteousness and Your holiness that will never simply sweep away the righteous with the wicked, but will preserve them from Your judgment, even if there is only one! Amen.