So the LORD said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them.” But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD.
Our actions have consequences. Unfortunately, our sin—even when we’re forgiven by God—usually does too.
Earth has been covered with a blanket of sin since the days of Adam and Eve. God wanted to be close to His children, and He created a perfect home for us, but Satan sought to separate us from God. Humankind, being imperfect, has fallen further and further from our Creator since then.
Only three chapters into the first book of the Bible, the first two humans on the planet had disobeyed God. One chapter later a child of theirs committed murder against his own brother, not to mention greed and jealousy. Now, only six chapters into Genesis, God is ready to destroy all of mankind because people were so wicked.
This isn’t to say that God gave up on His children quickly—as a matter of fact, he even counseled Cain (before the murder of Abel) that sin was crouching at his door, and he needed to rule over it. Many generations and hundreds of years passed before Noah and his sons entered the scene.
Nothing was to be done but to wipe the face of the planet clean and start over, so in God’s perfect wisdom, that was what He decided to do. Yet, He didn’t abandon those who loved Him and followed Him.
He didn’t give up on Noah.
Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God. And Noah had three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth. Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence. And God saw the earth, and behold, it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth. And God said to Noah, “I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence through them. Behold, I will destroy them with the earth.” (Genesis 6:9-14)
I can only imagine how Noah must have felt as he listened to the Creator of the whole world speak. His heart must have been racing in his chest as he listened to God’s plan for cleaning up the mess the people had made of what was once perfectly designed by His own hands.
I’m sure Noah had a hundred emotions.
I love God and I try my best to follow Jesus. I certainly wouldn’t claim to be blameless in my generation like Noah was, but I try hard. Even with my best efforts, I still fall short of the glory of God on a daily basis. Since we know that Jesus was the only truly sinless human, we know that Noah, no matter how righteous, had made a mistake or two in his lifetime to feel bad about.
When I’ve sinned, I have always felt terrible about it. When I see the consequence of my sin, not only do I feel sad, I also feel angry at myself, afraid of my situation, confused about how to repair it, hopeless, and above all—I feel guilty.
Have you been there before? If I asked you what your regrets are or if there are any chapters in your book you wish you could erase, I’m sure one or two might come to mind. But, we can’t take back our mistakes. We have to live through them and learn from them. That’s what Noah had to do, as well.
Make yourself an ark of gopher wood. Make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and out with pitch. This is how you are to make it: the length of the ark 300 cubits, its breath 50 cubits, and its height 30 cubits. Make a roof for the ark, and finish it to a cubit above, and set the door of the ark in its side. Make it with lower, second, and third decks. For behold, I will bring a flood of waters upon the earth to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life under heaven.
Everything that is on the earth shall die. But I will establish my covenant with you, and you shall come into the ark, you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you. And of every living thing of all flesh, you shall bring two of every sort into the ark to keep them alive with you. They shall be male and female. Of the birds according to their kinds, and of the animals according to their kinds, of every creeping thing of the ground, according to its kind, two of every sort shall come in to you to keep them alive. Also take with you every sort of food that is eaten, and store it up. It shall serve as food for you and for them.” Noah did this; he did all that God commanded him. (Genesis 6:14-22)
One of the first steps, after realizing we’ve sinned and praying for God to forgive us, is to humbly accept the consequences we might face on this earth.
You see, when we do wrong, the forgiveness God is offering us through Jesus is for our soul. It’s a “big picture” forgiveness for our eternal life. He promises on the day of judgement His sheep (those who belong to Him) will be separated from the goats (those who deny Him). In other words, although we haven’t lived perfect, sin-free lives like Jesus did, we belong to Him because we love Him and we’ve accepted Him as our Savior. However, that doesn’t mean we’ll always be forgiven by others so easily for that sin while on Earth.
When we do wrong, we have to own up to what we’ve done, humble ourselves, and accept the judgements or consequences of our actions.
Noah had to do just that. He had to face the consequence of the sin of man, and he had to obey God no matter how hard it was for Him to do. God put a pretty lofty task in front of him. He had to build this large ark exactly as The Lord commanded him, fill it with animals, and prepare for the flood, knowing that every living human besides himself and his family would soon perish.
In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the windows of the heavens were opened. And rain fell upon the earth forty days and forty nights. (Genesis 7:11-12)
God did exactly what He said He would do. Water fell from the sky and burst up from the deep for forty days and forty nights. As the ark floated off the ground, rising higher and higher over the tops of hills, then trees, then mountains, I’m sure Noah wondered if it would ever end until it finally did.
And all flesh died that moved on the earth, birds, livestock, beasts, all swarming creatures that swarm on the earth, and all mankind. Everything on the dry land in whose nostrils was the breath of life died. He blotted out every living thing that was on the face of the ground, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens. They were blotted out from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those who were with him in the ark. And the waters prevailed on the earth 150 days. (Genesis 7:21-24)
It Could Have Been Different…
All of the sin and the sinners were blotted out. Harsh? Yes, but I think it’s important to remember that these people deserved their judgement…not necessarily because of their sins, but because they had vivid, visible, undeniable proof of God and yet made the deliberate decision to deny a relationship with Him.
God wanted to walk with them the way He walked with Noah. And, these people probably weren’t atheists. They weren’t denying the existence of God. They simply chose to follow Satan instead.
Proof of the Creator is still everywhere, but back then God was undeniably visible among human life. Angels were walking the earth, marrying human women and having children with them. (Yes, I know this theory is debated by some, but it’s a possibility based on Genesis 6:2.) Nephilim, actual giants, were the heroes of the day. Plus, the history of all creation was relatively recent so “stories” of God speaking life into existence were still current headlines. It was impossible to deny the presence of God, so turning against Him was a deliberate betrayal.
But God remembered Noah and all the beasts and all the livestock that were with him in the ark. And God made a wind blow over the earth, and the waters subsided. The fountains of the deep and the windows of the heavens were closed, the rain from the heavens was restrained, and the waters receded from the earth continually. At the end of 150 days the waters had abated, and in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat. And the waters continued to abate until the tenth month; in the tenth month, on the first day of the month, the tops of the mountains were seen. (Genesis 8:1-5)
God remembered Noah. The stench of sin on earth had been washed away. When we do wrong, the stench of our sin can also be washed away. As a child of God, we can be totally and completely forgiven of our sin. God can make us as white as snow. He separates our sin from us as far as the east is from the west. This is the ultimate forgiveness, because we are not paying the price we owe for our sins.
However, being pardoned of the eternal consequences of our sin doesn’t mean we won’t face certain ramifications while living on this earth.
Many people believe the story of Noah’s Ark and the Great Flood are examples of God’s judgment on the earth, and while it is a lesson for us about the consequence of sin, I also believe it’s a case study of God’s mercy, forgiveness, and love. It’s a historical account of God giving people a second (or millionth) chance.
Those who looked God in the eye and made the deliberate decision to deny a relationship with Him were washed away by the flood, but for Noah, who was righteous, blameless and walked with God, along with his family, another chance was given.
It’s the same for us today.
You and I are not perfect. We sin and we fall short of the glory of God. We make mistakes from time to time, and we might even be held accountable for it by those we’ve wronged… But, if we love God, and we try our best to be righteous, blameless, and most importantly that we walk with God, we can be forgiven of our sins and saved. You and I have an eternal life with our Father, the Creator of the universe.
What sins in your life have you faced consequences for in the past?
How were you humbled by this?
Are there any sins in your life you feel convicted of that require your attention?
My advice? When you’ve sinned and have to face the consequences of that wrong, handle it humbly and with grace. Learn from your mistakes, accept the lesson, and forgive yourself. We all make mistakes and have regrets.
AND AGAIN… It isn’t our place to judge others for their sins. Don’t be a jerk.
We aren’t perfect, and guess what… Jesus loves us anyway.