Thursday, January 02, 2014

Genesis 4-7 The favour of the LORD

From Genesis 4-7
Gen 4.1-2 Story; Adam and Eve have children Cain and Abel
Gen 4.3-16 Story; Cain and Abel's offerings, Cain kills Abel, God punishes and protects Cain
Gen 4.17-24 Story; Cain's generations and Lamech
Gen 4.25-26 Story; Adam and Eve gave birth to Seth and people begin to call on the name of the LORD

Gen 5.1-3 Story; The generations of Adam. Adam fathers a son in his own likeness.
Gen 5.4-32 Story; Adams line, including Seth, Enoch and Noah
Gen 6.1-4 Story; The sons of God take wives and the LORD limits the time his Spirit abides in humanity
Gen 6.5-9 Story; The LORD is grieved at evil humanity, but Noah finds favour

Gen 6.9-10 Story; Noah's generations. Noah is righteous man. He is blameless and walks with God. He has three sons.
Gen 6.11-22 Story; The LORD unveils his plans to destroy corrupt humanity and save Noah and his family
Gen 7.1 Story; The LORD instructs Noah to go into the ark, because he sees Noah as righteous
Gen 7.2-16 Story; Noah, his family and all the animals go into the ark. The LORD shuts them inside.
Gen 7.17-24 Story; The flood comes and everything dies.

Passage and comments
This kind of passage stands out to me because of the contrast in people displayed. This is the introduction to the story of Noah and the flood.

[5] 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. [6] And the LORD regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. [7] 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.” [8] But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD. (Gen 6.5-8))

One group of people are described as having the thoughts of their hearts continually evil. Noah on the other hand is described as finding favour with the LORD. The passage continues;

[9] These are the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God. [10] And Noah had three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth. (Gen 6.9-10)

What strikes me in this passage is the name given to and the positive portrayal of God’s people. Yes at times they do the wrong thing, but the authors of scripture seem often willing to focus on the faithfulness of God’s people rather than their sin. The passage continues;

[11] Now the earth was corrupt in God's sight, and the earth was filled with violence. [12] And God saw the earth, and behold, it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth. [13] And God said to Noah, “I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence through them. Behold, I will destroy them with the earth. (Gen 6:11-13)

And God sets in motion his plan to save Noah and his family from the coming destruction. Noah found favour in the eyes of the LORD.

Story of Israel
Moving forward, there is a bit of ground to cover before we get to the story of Israel. Soon God will call Abraham and from him will come his offspring. God also has a plan to save them, we will see this through various covenants and the promises associated with them. But sadly they don’t always measure up to Noah’s example. They too need someone to save them - from themselves!

Story of Jesus
If we zoom further forward and have a look at Jesus. We find it in Jesus’ mission is to save sinners. Once he brings them into his kingdom they are occasionally called ‘righteous’ just as Noah was. In part because they are expected to live in accordance with their new identity and with Jesus as their king.