God provides mercy amidst discipline.
Genesis(93) (Part of the Origins(91) series)
by Stuart Johns(204) on April 25, 2021 (Sunday Morning(291))
“A century ago, a band of brave souls became known as one-way missionaries. They purchased single tickets to the mission field without the return half. And instead of suitcases, they packed their few earthly belongings into coffins. As they sailed out of port, they waved good-bye to everyone they loved, everything they knew. They knew they’d never return home.
A. W. Milne was one of those missionaries. He set sail for the New Hebrides in the South Pacific, knowing full well that the headhunters who lived there had martyred every missionary before him. Milne did not fear for his life, because he had already died to himself. His coffin was packed. For thirty-five years, he lived among that tribe and loved them. When he died, tribe members buried him in the middle of their village and inscribed this epitaph on his tombstone:
When he came there was no light.
When he left there was no darkness.”
[Batterson, All In, 13]
Diet and exercise
Over a year ago, Judy and I started a diet together
She read a book about living good daily and it included recipes and an exercise regiment
I was already riding my stationary bike every morning and walking about two miles in the evening
In the book, it mentioned that cardio was not necessarily helpful in producing weight loss (that’s exactly what I was experiencing)
The book recommended a 10-minute HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workout
I was skeptical about how a 10-minute workout was going to accomplish anything
I finally gave in and went for broke, combining the healthy eating with the 10-minute HIIT workout
That’s when I started to see weight loss
I knew things were headed in the right direction when one of my sons grabbed my sides one day and said something about my love handles being gone
It wasn’t until I followed the entire recommended plan from the book that I started seeing results
I had to go for broke!
Going all out
Every one of us probably has an example of when we went “all out” for something
Take a moment to think about that scenario
What was trying to be accomplished?
What sacrifices were made in order to see results?
Is it something that is still happening today?
In Genesis 6:13-22 Noah is going to receive two announcements and two instructions from the Lord. The announcements center around the destruction of the world and how it will happen. The instructions tell Noah to build an ark and then who and what to fill it with. We’ll see that Noah obeys completely. Through this passage today we’ll learn that . . .
BIG IDEA – God provides mercy amidst discipline.
GOD (Genesis 6:13-22)
Construction (vv. 13-16)
Announcement (v. 13)
God tells Noah that He is going to put an end to all people
God’s plan is inclusive
No one will escape the coming punishment (except Noah and his family, of course)
God’s destruction doesn’t just include people, but animals and the earth itself
As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, sin is not done in a void
Our sin affects those around us, whether we realize it or not
The Lord is telling Noah that the earth is filled with violence and that violence has corrupted the animals and the earth, too
We know this to be true because of what we see with Adam and his punishment
Genesis 3:17-19, To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat of it,’ “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken and to dust you will return.”
Paul reminds the Roman believers that the earth is corrupt because of humanities sin
Romans 8:20-21, For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.
“The Lord is not acting impulsively or selfishly but in moral outrage against the reprehensible conduct of that generation.” [Mathews, The New American Commentary, Volume 1A, Genesis 1-11:26, 362]
God explains His reason behind destroying all of humanity and the earth also
The earth was filled with violence because of humanity
“Nature is intimately connected with mankind.” [Gangel & Bramer, Holman Old Testament Commentary, Genesis, 73]
God had given Adam and Eve (and all humanity by default) the authority to rule over the animals and the earth
That rule had become corrupt and violent, so the Lord had to destroy all people and the earth
PRINCIPLE #1 – God is just!
This means that God is always fair
He always makes the right decision
In our humanness we may not understand God’s justice, but we can trust that it is fair and right
Many people struggle with God’s justice, because they don’t like to think about judgment, punishment, pain, hurt, loss, etc.
They say that can’t believe in or follow a God who is so violent
They see His punishment as hatred instead of moral outrage
They only want to see God as loving and accepting of everyone
It’s bold of us to believe that we – as finite, sinful people – know better than God – an infinite, sinless deity
It’s arrogant for us to claim that we know better than God, who is all-knowing
God knows our heart (the part of us that thinks and feels) and is able to judge us correctly and fairly
So, the first part of the announcement is that the Lord is going to destroy people and the earth, including the animals
The Lord doesn’t just announce judgment, but He instructs Noah concerning His plan to rescue the earth and restore humanity
Instruction (vv. 14-16)
PRINCIPLE #2 – God is merciful!
God provides mercy amidst discipline.
Mercy is not getting what we do deserve
Perhaps we all have experienced mercy from a parent, boss, teacher, administrator/principal, etc.
Doing something wrong
Every one of us has done wrong in the past
When we get caught or confess on our own, our hope is that the person who is in authority over us will extend grace and mercy to us
Our hope is that they will give us something we don’t deserve (grace) and not give us what we do deserve (mercy)
In a work setting, we hope that our boss will not fire us, but give us a second chance
We may deserve to be fired, but they don’t fire us
Instead they give us a warning and perhaps additional training
God is providing mercy and a second chance for the earth and humanity through Noah and his family
So, the Lord gives Noah instructions about building an ark
God instructs Noah to build an ark
The Hebrew word for ark is used 14 times in Genesis
Seven times in the construction passage we are looking at today
Seven times in the passage talking about the waters subsiding (Gen. 8:1-14)
The only other place that the Hebrew for ark is used in the Old testament is in Exodus 2:3-5
This is the story about baby Moses and how his mother saved him from Pharaoh’s order to have every Hebrew baby boy thrown into the Nile
Moses mother got a papyrus basket (ark) and covered it in tar and pitch and put Moses in it
It’s incredible how many similarities there are between Noah’s story and Moses’ story
The wood he is to use has been given two names in our modern translations
Cypress or Gopher wood
The reason for the two names is because the meaning of the Hebrew word is uncertain
This is the only occurrence of the Hebrew word in the Old Testament, so we don’t have any other context with which to compare it
Cypress wood would be a good guess, since we know that it was used by ship builders in ancient times as a rot resistant wood [Waltke, Genesis: A Commentary, 135]
It was some kind of substance that made the ark waterproof
We’re not given any additional information about the make-up of pitch
God not only told Noah what materials to use, He also gave him the dimensions and layout
Dimensions and layout
450 feet long
75 feet wide
45 feet high
[show two images to give idea of the size]
It was most likely a flat bottomed barge-like boat that was designed for flotation and not navigation
There is no mention of a rudder or sail, which would have been used for navigation
Noah and his family had to rely on the Lord to carry them along
This is true for us today as we go through life’s storms (we can trust God, by faith, to carry us through – to be our Navigator. We can leave it in God’s hands and watch Him do the miraculous)
Now we know the dimensions of the ark, but what else do we know about it?
It was to have a roof over it
The reference to completing it to within 18 inches of the top is probably to allow for ventilation and light
It was also a way for Noah to release the birds after the flood waters stopped rising
The door on the side was to allow for the loading of the ark
We know that God is the One who shut the door once everything was inside
There were three levels to the ark (lower, middle, and upper decks)
The dimensions for the decks are not given in Scripture
PRINCIPLE #3 – God provides wisdom and guidance.
God provides mercy amidst discipline and with His mercy He also provides wisdom and guidance to accomplish His purposes
He gave Noah specific instructions on how to build an ark that would preserve he and his family’s lives and the lives of a pair of animals of every kind
God can and will do the same for us
As someone who was righteous before God and blameless among his peers, Noah knew that he could count on God to provide wisdom and guidance as he faced the total destruction of humanity and the world
We may not be facing the total destruction of humanity and the world, but the storms in our life can be very overwhelming and difficult to navigate
Storms of life
Relational challenges (family, friends, neighbors, coworkers)
Financial challenges (loss of job, unexpected bill, more bills than money, etc.)
Health challenge (no insurance, not enough insurance, medical debt, chronic pain, surgery)
Spiritual challenge (doubting God, questioning your faith, hurt by someone who claims to be a follower of Jesus, etc.)
As we pursue holiness (righteous and blameless) we will know that we can trust God to provide wisdom and guidance through those storms
God will provide just what we need, right when we need it
He will provide next steps and support through His Word, prayer, and other believers
#1 – My Next Step Today Is To: Trust the Lord to provide wisdom and guidance through the difficult storm I’m experiencing.
This concludes the first cycle of announcement and instruction and what we see next is additional information concerning the first announcement and instruction
The same information is communicated again with more details and additional information
Covenant (vv. 17-21)
Announcement (v. 17)
The Lord announces again that He is going to destroy all life – everything that has the breath of life in it
Everything that has the breath of life would include humans, animals, creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air (Gen. 6:7)
The creatures in the waters would be safe, because more water wasn’t going to be a problem for them
As in verse 13, we see the justice of God
The way in which the Lord was going to destroy all life is now mentioned
This is additional information that gives us more detail to verse 13
The Lord is going to bring floodwaters on the earth
We won’t spend time today explaining how that happened, because it will be explained later in chapter 7
In verses 18-21 we see additional information about how God will extend His mercy in order to accomplish His plan and purpose
Instruction (vv. 18-21)
Covenant (v. 18a)
This is the first time in the Old Testament that the Hebrew word for “covenant” is used
A covenant is an agreement between individuals who already have a relationship and involves both obligations and benefits [Waltke, 136; Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, Old Testament, Genesis-Deuteronomy, 45]
Example of marriage
The marriage relationship is a great example of a covenant
In most cases, aside from arranged marriages, there is a period of time when a man and woman get to know each other (dating/courting)
Then there is the commitment phase when the man asks the woman to marry him (engagement)
Finally, there is the covenant ceremony, which binds the man and woman together (wedding day!)
Before the covenant ceremony, a relationship has already been established
Hopefully the husband and wife have discussed their expectations concerning obligations and benefits within the marriage relationship (this should be accomplished through premarital counseling)
There were two basic covenants in the Ancient Near East [Gangel & Bramer, 82]
This was a covenant between equals
Abraham and Abimelech (Gen. 21:22-32)
Isaac and Abimelech (Gen. 26:26-33)
Jacob and Laban (Gen. 31:44-54)
This was a covenant between a superior and inferior (i.e. – king and vassal)
God and Abraham (Gen. 15:18)
God and the nation of Israel (Ex. 19)
God and Noah (Gen. 6:18)
“God is faithful to keep His promises, and as God’s covenant people, the eight believers had nothing to fear.” [Wiersbe, 45]
God provides mercy amidst discipline.
Filling the ark (vv. 18b-21)
We’re told that Noah, his wife, his sons, and their wives would be on the ark and safe from the floodwaters
This was God’s benefit for them as part of the covenant He had made
God’s obligation was to protect them and sustain them during the flood
Part of the obligation for Noah’s family was to take care of the animals and gather the necessary food for the ark
Noah was to bring two of every kind of living creature into the ark
Every kind of bird
Every kind of animal
Every kind of creature that moves along the ground
The pair were to be male and female, which would be important after the flood, to repopulate the earth
Noah and his family were to keep them alive (another important part for after the flood)
All of the animals, creatures, and birds would come to Noah
[show picture from Evan Almighty]
God would be the One who directed the animals to Noah
Noah and his family would not have to go out and track down and capture a pair of every kind of animal, creature, and bird
Noah and his family not only experienced God’s faithfulness, but also His sovereignty as the animals came to them
Obviously they would need food during their stay on the ark
Another obligation for Noah and his family was the gathering of food for themselves and the animals
The covenant between God and Noah required that Noah do a couple of things – build an ark and fill it with animals and food
In verse 22 we see that Noah obeyed
Compliance (v. 22)
Noah followed all of the commands of the Lord
PRINCIPLE #4 – God is pleased when His people obey completely.
We see Noah’s character once again
His righteousness is evident through his obedience
God knew that He could trust Noah to complete everything He had commanded him to do
How about us?
Can God trust us and count on us to complete everything He has commanded us to do?
God has commanded us to go and make disciples of all nations (Mark 16:15; Matthew 28:19-20)
How are we doing as a body of believers at Idaville Church
I’m looking forward to the revival services to see how God will work supernaturally in the lives of those He is drawing
God uses us as individuals to accomplish His commission
Who are the six people you are praying will come to the revival services
Is God prompting you to share the Gospel with someone now?
Has God called you to be a missionary or a pastor?
Is there someone who is lonely or in need that God has been prompting you to reach out too and help?
Have we been obedient to God’s commands for us?
#2 – My Next Step Today Is To: Be obedient to do everything that God has commanded me to do.
Are you trusting God to provide guidance and wisdom through the difficult storm you are experiencing?
Will you obediently do everything that God has commanded you to do?
Are we accomplishing the Great Command and the Great Commission as a church?
Are we preparing to reach our community with the Gospel through the revival services in May?
“In the 1880s, if you wanted a good life with a good job, you moved to Johnstown, PA. The Pennsylvania Main Line Canal came through town, so that brought jobs. So did the Pennsylvania Railroad. And the Cambria Iron Works. Families were moving in from Wales. From Germany. Not to mention there are beautiful mountains, covered with forest, all around town. And right through the town runs the Conemaugh River.
In fact, the area is so beautiful, the country’s richest people—Andrew Carnegie and Andrew Mellon—would come out from Pittsburgh to hunt and fish at a private club up above town, where an old earth dam had been modified to make a fishing lake for them.
On May 30, 1889, a huge rainstorm came through and dropped six to 10 inches of rain. Despite that weather, the next day the town lined up along Main Street for the Memorial Day parade. The Methodist pastor, H. L. Chapman, said, “The morning was delightful, the city was in its gayest mood, with flags, banners and flowers everywhere ... The streets were more crowded than we had ever seen before.”
And then the old dam miles above town collapsed, releasing almost four billion gallons of water. When that wall of water and debris hit Johnstown 57 minutes later, it was 60 feet high and traveling at 40 miles an hour. People tried to escape by running toward high ground. But over 2,000 of the 30,000 people in town died. Some bodies were found as far away as Cincinnati, and some were not discovered until 20 years later.
The Johnstown Flood remains one of the greatest tragedies in American history, behind only the Galveston Hurricane and the 9/11 terrorist attacks. And in every one of those cases, life was fine. Until it wasn’t. In a moment, in a way that was unexpected and most people were not prepared for, something cataclysmic occurred, and people were swept away.”