OT19 | Eden to Exile

NT Connect: Hebrews 11:7; 2 Peter 2:4-10 

Weekly Reading: Genesis 6-10

Noah’s Faith and God’s Faithfulness

The Flood is an account of God’s judgment. Genesis 6:5 records how “The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” God looked over the earth and saw that people’s every intention “was only evil continually,” and the earth was filled with violence (6:13). God in his holiness could not stand the evil of the world, and he was grieved further by the fact that people in their sin were destroying each other – the very people he created. He would not stand idly by, but he sent the flood to cleanse the earth from all wickedness.

In the midst of God’s judgment, Noah exemplifies what it means to trust in the Lord. The author of Hebrews reflects on Noah’s response to the Lord and says that it was by faith that he obeyed God and constructed the ark. By his faith, Noah “became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith” (Heb. 11:7). Noah shows us what it looks like to trust the Lord. Peter elaborates on Noah’s faith and the lessons for us today. He teaches us that in the account of Noah, we learn that “the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials” (2 Peter 2:9). We can trust him because we see that he is a God who protects his people. He rescues the godly, and he promises  “to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment” (2 Peter 2:9). He rescues those who trust in him, and he punishes those who reject him. We can trust the Lord.

The Flood also highlights two key truths: God is faithful, and humans will fail. The second of these truths becomes quickly apparent. Genesis 9-10 is filled with allusions to the first creation. Noah is in a new garden and his family receives the same command as Adam and Eve: “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth” (Gen. 9:1; compare Gen. 2:28). Yet, a new creation does not fix the problem, for in Genesis 9:18-29, it becomes clear that even Noah and his family will not keep sin from the earth. What humanity needs is not a new place to live but new hearts.

As the story of Scripture unfolds, we will see that in his faithfulness, God will give his people new hearts. Genesis 9:8 introduces us to a keyword in this regard: “covenant.” God’s covenant is his promise, and the rest of Genesis will begin to unpack through the story of Abraham that God will be faithful to his promise no matter what. “If we are faithless, he remains faithful” (2 Tim. 2:13). Ultimately, God keeps his promise through Jesus Christ. In Christ crucified, God judges our wickedness and rescues those who have faith in him.

John Morrison