Sin, Grief, & Grace: Genesis 6 Part 2

Posted: January 15, 2011 in Devotionals

“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. And the LORD was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. 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.”

                                                                                                                                                         Genesis 6:5-8

The problem of evil is one that has long perplexed a lot of people. If God exists and he’s good and all-powerful, then how come so many terrible things happen in this world? I remember being asked that question by a teenage guy about 2 years ago. I could tell by the tone of his question that he refused to believe that there was a good God who was loving and in control of everything given all the evil in the world. Or at least if such a God did exist, he was doing a terrible job at the command and certainly wasn’t worth worshipping or obeying.

Now….my intention is not to get bogged down in this question of evil…I simply want to point out a few things from Genesis 6 that might help us to understand it a bit more. Genesis 6:5 informs us that the sin and evil that had entered into the world in Genesis 3, continues to spread and escalate. Adam passes the baton of sin and death to each generation that comes after him. And sin isn’t just something outside us that happens around us or to us….it’s in us. It’s in our hearts. It’s in the way we’re wired. Verse 5 says,

“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. “

Sin is pervasive (wide- spread) and deep-rooted in the human heart. And what we have to understand is….while all people aren’t as bad as they could possibly be (even the worst of us can do nice things, good things, helpful things), there isn’t a part of us or what we do that isn’t stained by sin. It’s not just that we have dirty hands (do sinful stuff)….we have dirty hearts (sinful, evil, rebellious). So before we start pointing the finger at God for all the evil in the world…when need to stop and ask ourselves, “how do we contribute to the evil in the world? How do I contribute to it?” It’s important that we see that.

Next…notice that the text says, God “saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth….” He saw it…he took notice of it. It wasn’t hidden from him. Even the intentions of man’s heart were exposed before God. That’s a scary thought. Think about the random things that run through your mind or the sinful intentions that no one else can see. God sees it all. And this text teaches us at least two things: 1) God cares and 2) He’s committed to judging sin.

He cares… The LORD isn’t indifferent to the wickedness and sin of humanity. He doesn’t look down and then quickly look away as if all the terrible things that are happening aren’t actually happening. He sees it….and he’s grieved by it. It brings sorrow to his heart. The LORD looks down and his heart is full of grief at the sight of people he made in his image living in sin and disobedience to him. Ask yourself: Would God be grieved at how I live? My thoughts, my actions, etc.

And lest we think that the LORD just sits in the clouds, feeling sad over our sin, notice what he determines to do in response to the sinfulness described in chapter 6. Verse 7 says,

“ 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.”

The LORD determines to destroy everything because of the sinfulness of man. This is a picture of the LORD’s judgment of sin. We once again see how seriously the LORD takes sin. He always judges sin. Always…He will not allow it to go unpunished. It’s important for us to remind ourselves of this reality. Judgment is coming. Genesis 6 tells of the God’s coming judgment in Noah’s day and we can rest assured that it will come again.

But in the midst of all this talk of sinfulness and coming judgment we learn of one man who finds, “…favor in the eyes of the LORD.” Noah. Noah is said to be blameless. He walked with the LORD. He was shown grace by the LORD. The LORD made a covenant with him and his family and commanded him to build an ark. God’s grace shines through yet again…

  1. Samamfafa says:

    Do you think in Noah’s day they were as bad as we are now? And after God destroyed them they started over and we’re at the same point again? I’m not sure if that makes sense…but I’m sure you can figure it out. 🙂

    • For starters…thanks for taking time to axe a question. As getting you an answer that’s tough. It’s tough to say exactly who’s worse: us or the people in Noah’s day.

      Here’s what we know about the situation in Noah’s day…1) there was some sort of inappropriate sexual stuff going on between the sons of God (whoever they are) and the daughters of man (verse 1-2). If you compare the Genesis 6:2 to Genesis 3:6 you’ll notice that the wording is very similiar. In 6:2, the Sons of God see the daughters of man (they were good looking apparently) and they took whoever they chose. In 3:6, Eve saw the fruit looked good, so she took it and ate it. In both cases…something that is good and given by God is taken and used in a sinful way.

      So there’s that. 2) Then Genesis 6:5, gives us this idea that things are just generally bad. Wickedness and evil are widespread. 3)Lastly, in Genesis 6:11 we’re told that the earth was corrupt and full of violence. So yeah…it was pretty bad…but it sounds a lot like stuff that goes on now.

      it’s totally possible that things are as bad or worse than they were then. The only thing we know is that the LORD promised to never wipe out humanity with a flood ever again….even if it was worse now.

      Long-winded…but basically…there’s no way to know for sure.

      good question though!

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