How Low Can You Get?
Gracious Father, help me to be a bearer of hope, a champion of justice, and an agent of reconciliation.
Read Genesis 6:1–22
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“Goodness is stronger than evil. Love is stronger than hate. Light is stronger than darkness. Life is stronger than death. Victory is ours through him who loves us” (An African Prayer Book).
There are many questions raised by this chapter that we just don’t have clear answers to. In verses 1–4, who were the “sons of God”? Were they different from “the Nephilim” and what exactly was the problem with these relationships? We can speculate, but we don’t really know and such speculation can lead us to avoid the obvious lessons of the chapter. There are three things that are crystal clear. The first is that over the years the human race had gone downhill. This was not just a series of minor offenses which have been exaggerated into great wickedness (5). Rather, what had happened was that “every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time” (5). You can’t get lower than that! Second, it is clear that God had not yet finished with the human race. He recognized that it was not going to be possible to bring this generation back to relationship with him and therefore he was going to wipe the slate clean and start again: in effect, a new creation. However, the starting point was Noah’s family, who had been among the original inhabitants. In the midst of the endemic evil, Noah stood out as “righteous”; he “walked faithfully with God” (9). So the chapter’s third emphasis is that it is possible to live in the midst of total corruption without becoming enveloped by it. There is no evidence for the old chorus’s claim that “Mr. Noah pleaded so” with his fellow humans, but he did hear and heed the words of rescue that God spoke to him. The sentence of judgment and destruction is hard to hear, but sometimes the only way forward is with a new start.
In verses 8 and 9, what do we learn about Noah’s character? In what ways does the phrase “walked faithfully with God” (9b; 5:24) help you in your discipleship journey?
God of justice, help Christians today to follow Noah’s example in standing out against violence, injustice and corruption and in walking faithfully with You.
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