I’ve made it a goal to sit down at least once a week, read one chapter of the Bible, and pull out as much as I can from it, to see what God has taught me and to find out what he’s going to teach me next.
Today, I’m reading chapter 6 of Genesis.
Then the Lord said, “My Spirit will not contend with man forever, for he is mortal; his days will be a hundred and twenty years.” –Genesis 6:3 NIV84
There are a couple different interpretations as to what this verse refers to, as many believe that this refers to the maximum length of a man’s life from that moment forward (since people at one point lived for hundreds of years).
I, however, interpret this as part of the story of the Flood, setting the stage. As the population grew, God saw how the hearts of men were turning away from him. At one point, he made the decision to wipe the world clean. Yet, he stopped and decided to give humanity time to turn back to him. He gave them 120 more years to repent and return. He wanted them to have every chance, every opportunity, to turn from the wicked ways of the world and walk in the grace of God once more.
The Lord saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. The Lord was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain. So the Lord said, “I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth—men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air—for I am grieved that I have made them.” But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord. –Genesis 6:5-8 NIV84
The people were no longer his. God had created them, provided for them, given them everything they needed, and yet they still turned away from him. Even the righteous bloodline of Seth had mingled with the bloodline of Cain, and nearly all eyes were turned away.
God had given them so many more chances to turn back to him then he had to, but still, all had turned away from him. All but one.
You want a picture of God’s mercy? Every single person on the Earth had hardened their hearts against God, to the point God knew they would never repent. He was going to completely wipe out the Earth and everything in it. Except, there was one man. One single individual on the entire planet, who was still faithful. Still righteous. Still a follower of the Creator.
And because Noah was faithful, God was also faithful. He set plans into motion to save the Earth, for the sake of only one.
So make yourself an ark of cypress wood; make rooms in it and coat it with pitch inside and out. This is how you are to build it: The ark is to be 450 feet long, 75 feet wide and 45 feet high. Make a roof for it and finish the ark to within 18 inches of the top. Put a door in the side of the ark and make lower, middle and upper decks. –Genesis 6:14-16 NIV84
God never asks you to walk through life aimlessly, without direction or purpose! He always provides “instructions” and guidance in the form of the Bible and wise leadership! But God’s instructions are also often very specific, just like the instructions for the Ark. If we don’t follow them to the letter, we put the integrity of the structure in danger.
But I will establish my covenant with you, and you will enter the ark—you and your sons and your wife and your sons’ wives with you. –Genesis 6:18 NIV84
The story of Noah is Biblical proof that God can use one single person to change the world.
In Genesis 6, we find that God shows mercy and gives us plenty of opportunities to repent and turn back to him, we find that God is faithful to those who are faithful to him, we find that God provides us instructions and guidance for this confusing life, and we find that God can do amazing things, things beyond human comprehension, through any of his faithful children.