Bible Book: Genesis
Chapter: 6
Verse: 5 – 8
Genesis 6:5-8
When reading the story of the flood from the viewpoint of humanity it seems to be simply another description of a major catastrophe. One cannot help being reminded of the recent newsflashes of the earthquakes in China. It is unimaginable!
But the story of the flood is more that a description of a major catastrophe. It is a story of God’s mercy for one family in the midst of death. There are many such stories of God’s concern woven into the story of the flood in Genesis 6-9.
It is important that we hear these stories when we read Genesis 6-9. However, I think it is even more important that we understand the background against which this well-known story is told.
We find this in Genesis 6:5-8. Here we see the extent and dreadfulness of unbridled sin. And we see how profoundly God is touched by the sins of man. Genesis 6:6 has been described as “one of the most moving verses in Scripture”. It says that God “was sorry” and “it grieved him to his heart”. Compare the NIV translation: “The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain.” God’s reaction, his heart is described in tangible human terms. It is as if the author of Genesis asks, does the story of the flood break your heart? Is the thought of all the drowning people too much to bear? Then you should know that the sight of humanity drowning in the flood of uninhibited sin is even more unbearable for God, our Creator.
God is not absent from what happens to humanity. Our sins, our misconduct, the way we treat one another, our hardships grieve God deeply.
God’s compassionate involvement in humanity’s failures and misfortunes turned the story of destruction into a story of deliverance. It became a story of God’s grace in the midst of judgment. The author of Genesis presents it to us as a story of God’s new creation of humanity. It was not the end – it was actually a new beginning.
To think about (or discuss): Is it possible that what we may experience as “the end” can be a new beginning for God?
Author: N du Toit (Ds)
Language: English