Greetings in the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Who is a God like You, pardoning iniquity and passing over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in mercy. He will again have compassion on us, and will subdue our iniquities. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea. (Micah 7:18-19)
God created the heavens and the earth. Then God created all living creatures. Among His creation, human beings were so special because God created human beings in His image. God’s special love was always on His most precious creation – human beings, and He always had the greatest pleasure on them.
Adam and Eve were the first man and woman. God placed them in the Garden of Eden. They enjoyed the blessed relationship with God, but soon Adam and Eve followed their own desire and sinned. Suddenly the most blessed relationship with God was turned into the most fearful. The sin severed the blessed relationship with God, the Ever-Loving Father, and they fell. In the darkness, Adam and Eve hid themselves from God. However, God, with love, came to Adam and Eve, who were hiding from God. God gave an opportunity to confess their sin to mend the broken relationship. But they didn’t admit their sin. Instead, they just blamed at another person and the serpent, and continued staying in the darkness. It was a truly sad moment. There was no other way except sending them away to the outside of the most blessed place – the Garden of Eden.
However, it was not the end of the story. God had His most precious salvation plan so that the broken relationship would be restored. Like children who truly don’t understand parents, the descendants of Adam and Eve did not understand the God’s salvation plan. Instead they continued living their own way. Soon the most terrible sin of all came into their lives – murder between brothers. Cain, the firstborn son, killed Abel, his one and only one brother — Abel. Initially, Cain was just jealous of Abel’s offering to God, because Abel’s offering was better received by God than his. This initial feeling of jealousy did not go away easily. Instead, it got deep into Cain’s heart, and grew and grew. The seemingly innocent jealousy turned into anger of his brother. The anger quickly spread throughout the Cain’s heart. Even while he was sleeping, the anger was growing bigger and bigger.
And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, (Ephesians 4:26)
Cain should have controlled his anger quickly, but it was too late. His anger fully occupied Cain’s heart, which turned into a murderous thought. His intensive anger made him completely forget the beautiful feeling of playing, laughing and talking with his brother. In fact, they were the best friend to each other, but the power of the anger made his murderous monster.
Therefore, Jesus taught His disciples and those who gathered around Him:
But I say, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell. (Matthew 5:22)
Yes, if we are angry with someone, we will be subject to God’s judgement. We should not call someone an idiot. If not, we are in danger of being brought before the court. Most of all, we should not curse someone. If we curse, we are in danger of the fires of hell. What a truly terrifying message for those who quickly become angry!
By the way, is there anyone on earth who has never been angry with another person, never called someone an idiot, or never cursed someone? NONE. We all are equally guilty. There is no exception. Then how to avoid the God’s fearful judgement and the fires of hell? The answer is simple. Nobody can avoid with one’s own might and strength alone. I believe we all have tried at least once not to be angry with someone. How successful was it? When we look back, we know. If a condition is right and the situation supports for us to lose ourselves, then we surely fail. Yes, we become angry with another person. Sigh! Yes, we clearly know we are not capable of overcoming our own anger or our own urge to curse the other person who hurt us or even as little as who just give small inconvenience to us. Then what shall we do?
Apostle Paul shared his own struggle in his heart as follows:
I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? (Romans 7:21-24)
Thus, Apostle Paul lamented, “Oh what a miserable person I am!” He could not overcome his own sinful nature with his own might and strength only. He always failed. But Apostle Paul gave thanks to God who rescued him from the vicious cycle of sinning as follows:
Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin. (Romans 7:25)
Yes, Jesus Christ is the answer, who is Our Savior. He died for our sins to save from the unbreakable sin nature in us. Indeed, the wage of sin is death, not a physical death, but an eternal death, but Jesus saves by giving His forgiveness and eternal life that will never perish. Apostle Paul found this truth, and he rejoiced because his own defeat under the sin natures was completely overturned by Jesus Christ. Before Apostle Paul received Jesus Christ, he lived the life that was destined to the fires of hells, but when he met Jesus Christ, he became a son of the light. He was transformed from a son of the darkness to a son of the light by the power of Jesus Christ. By the way, this truth applies to all. Not just Apostle Paul, whoever believes in Jesus Christ become children of God in the light.
This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! (2 Corinthians 5:17)
God is always love and long suffering. God came to Cain who killed his own brother. Cain soon realized how terrible he committed, and the consequence of his sin. When Cain was sent away by God due to his terrible sin, Cain cried out to God for His help. God, who was merciful, promised Cain God’s protection from all dangers. Yes, God’s love and care did not stop on Cain when Cain cried out for Gods’ help, although he was a terrible murder.
Adam and Eve received another son, Seth. After having Seth, Adam continued living till 930 years old while had other sons and daughters. God was continuously with Adam and Eve, and God provided HIs guidance and protection. As God initially blessed, God blessed Adam and Eve’s descendants, and they multiplied in the world. However, the sin nature was also continuously growing with human beings. Sins multiplied in the world also.
God observed the extent of human wickedness on the earth, and he saw that everything they thought or imagined was consistently and totally evil. So God was sorry he had ever made them and put them on the earth. It broke his heart. Anybody who loved someone before know feeling of heartbreak when the person whom we dearly love rejects our love and turning into a person who even doesn’t know us while behaving completely opposite without returning our love. In short, it is a really heartbreaking.
Thus God said, “I will wipe this human race I have created from the face of the earth. Yes, and I will destroy every living thing—all the people, the large animals, the small animals that scurry along the ground, and even the birds of the sky. I am sorry I ever made them.” However, Noah found favor with God because Noah was not like the others. He was faithful to God and he made all efforts not to follow the others who were in the world at that time.
Then God gave a command to Noah to build an arc (i.e., a large boat):
“Build a large boat from cypress wood and waterproof it with tar, inside and out. Then construct decks and stalls throughout its interior. Make the boat 450 feet long, 75 feet wide, and 45 feet high. Leave an 18-inch opening below the roof all the way around the boat. Put the door on the side, and build three decks inside the boat—lower, middle, and upper.” (Genesis 6:14-16)
Noah heard God’s voice, but it was completely absurd at his first glance. Building a huge arc in the middle of a dry land, but Noah continuously listened to God.
“Look! I am about to cover the earth with a flood that will destroy every living thing that breathes. Everything on earth will die. But I will confirm my covenant with you. So enter the boat—you and your wife and your sons and their wives. Bring a pair of every kind of animal—a male and a female—into the boat with you to keep them alive during the flood. Pairs of every kind of bird, and every kind of animal, and every kind of small animal that scurries along the ground, will come to you to be kept alive. And be sure to take on board enough food for your family and for all the animals.” (Genesis 6:17-21)
Upon hearing God’s command, Noah who was truly faithful to God did everything exactly as God had commanded him. However, people were against Noah and ridiculed about his ark building in the middle of a dry land. Despite of this, Noah continuously gave out the warning received from God by telling an upcoming huge flood. Nobody heard. The sky was blue. There was no sign of coming of a huge flood. Everything looked good to their eyes. To their eyes, Noah was lunatic. Building a huge ark in the middle of a dry land is completely illogical. But as we know, in reality, the flood was coming. Nobody wanted to pay attention to the truth of the impending judgement. Does this sound familiar? We preach the God’s message, but few people are actually willing to listen to the Gospel — God’s salvation that comes through Jesus Christ rather than dying for our own sins to the eternal death.
As the set time came, God told Noah to bring all his family and animals into the ark.
So Noah did everything as the LORD commanded him. (Genesis 7:5)
Noah exactly did as commanded, and he was 600 years old when the flood covered the earth. He went on board the boat to escape the flood with his wife and his sons —Shem, Ham, and Japheth—and their wives. However, the people did not pay attention to what Noah said and what Noah and his family were doing.
For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. (Matthew 24:38-39a)
People were enjoying banquets and parties and weddings right up to the time Noah entered the ark. People didn’t realize what was about to happen. As foretold, the flood actually came. All the underground waters erupted from the earth, and the rain fell in mighty torrents from the sky. Such a heavy rain had never seen before. The water started covering the ground, and then the water level started raising up while shallowing up things on ground. Those who did not believe got perished with all other living things with breath. The rain continued to fall for forty days and forty nights.
Those who did not hear the warning all perished with the other living things on the earth. Only were the animals in the boat were saved from the flood, which were pairs of every kind of animal—domestic and wild, large and small—along with birds of every kind.
For forty days the floodwaters grew deeper, covering the ground and lifting the boat high above the earth. As the waters rose higher and higher above the ground, the boat floated safely on the surface. Finally, the water covered even the highest mountains on the earth, rising more than twenty-two feet above the highest peaks. All the living things on earth died—birds, domestic animals, wild animals, small animals that scurry along the ground, and all the people. Everything that breathed and lived on dry land died. God wiped out every living thing on the earth—people, livestock, small animals that scurry along the ground, and the birds of the sky. All were destroyed. The only people who survived were Noah and those with him in the ark. And the floodwaters covered the earth for 150 days.
But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and livestock with him in the boat. He sent a wind to blow across the earth, and the floodwaters began to recede. Yes, God, who was merciful, ended His judgement. Upon God’s command, the underground waters stopped flowing, and the torrential rains from the sky were stopped. So the floodwaters gradually receded from the earth. After 150 days, exactly five months from the time the flood began, the boat came to rest on the mountains of Ararat. Two and a half months later, as the waters continued to go down, other mountain peaks became visible.
After another forty days, Noah opened the window he had made in the boat and released a raven and a dove to see if the water had receded and it could find dry ground. But the dove could find no place to land because the water still covered the ground. So it returned to the boat, and Noah held out his hand and drew the dove back inside.
After waiting another seven days, Noah released the dove again. This time the dove returned to him in the evening with a fresh olive leaf in its beak. Finally, Noah saw a new life was spring up after the flood. Noah was so happy. His patience was paid off.
Noah also knew that the floodwaters were almost gone. He waited another seven days and then released the dove again. This time it did not come back. The dove found a place to live.
Noah was now 601 years old. On the first day of the new year, ten and a half months after the flood began, the floodwaters had almost dried up from the earth. Noah lifted back the covering of the boat and saw that the surface of the ground was drying. Two more months went by, and at last the earth was dry!
Then God said to Noah,
“Leave the boat, all of you—you and your wife, and your sons and their wives. Release all the animals—the birds, the livestock, and the small animals that scurry along the ground—so they can be fruitful and multiply throughout the earth.” (Genesis 8:16-17)
After the flood, God blessed Noah and his family along with the animals saved through the flood. As God blessed, the world again become full of living things and we, human beings as we see now.
So Noah, his wife, and his sons and their wives left the boat. And all of the large and small animals and birds came out of the boat, pair by pair.
Then Noah built an altar to God, and there he sacrificed as burnt offerings the animals and birds that had been approved for that purpose. Yes, the first thing that Noah did was building an alter to God and worshipped God by sacrificing an offering and thanksgiving to God. Then God was pleased with the aroma of the sacrifice, which was offered by Noah with his greatest thanksgiving from the deepest part in his heart. The terror of the flood was now passed away, and he returned to the ground where he used to live. All animals returned to the earth as they used to live. Only was the difference no more evil people who used to be plenty covering the surface of the world. Before the flood, everything people used to think or imagine was consistently and totally evil. However, the flood destroyed all who were evil and kept doing vicious things while resisting God’s warning message. Now God put Noah and his family on the world in which all evils were swept away by the flood.
God was so pleased with Noah, his faith, his thanksgiving and the sacrifice to God. God said,
“I will never again curse the ground because of the human race, even though everything they think or imagine is bent toward evil from childhood. I will never again destroy all living things. As long as the earth remains, there will be planting and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night.” (Genesis 8:20-22)
What a comforting God’s promise! God made a covenant that there would be no more of the same flood that destroyed all living things on earth. Instead God blessed Noah, his family and all the animals saved through the flood. God also told his future patience on human beings although they might be bent toward evil again from childhood. In fact, God was right. Please look around the world, how much different from the time right before the floor? Sigh! Not much as we can see.
“Yes, this rainbow is the sign of the covenant I am confirming with all the creatures on earth.” (Genesis 9:17b)
Additional to the blessed covenant, God gave a sign. God would place a rainbow to remind His blessed conversant. It was the sign of God’s love given to Noah, his family and all living things with breath. Like a rainbow placed in the clouds after rain, it was a forever and never changing covenant of God, manifesting His Love which will stay with us forever. Who is our God? Our God is love, long-suffering, merciful and gracious. He lavishly pours out His blessings on us, and forgives all our sins whenever we come to Him and confess our sins. Thus, we love to come to God as His beloved children no matter what we did and happened in our lives whether we are in joy, sorrow, success, failure, trouble and suffering from our sins. Why? Our God is Love and His always loves us. Yes, His Love never changes toward us.
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever. (1 Chronicles 16:34)