I started reading the first few chapters of Genesis last night and ended at Gen. 6:8. The world had become completely corrupt – “the wickedness of man was great in the earth and … every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually…”
How sad and disappointing! God poured His heart into His creation, gave His breath – a part of Himself – to create mankind, and they evolve into this evil generation. God is actually sorry that He’d created mankind and planned to wipe it out – mankind and animals alike. Until…
Amidst God’s broken heart, He sees and finds a glimmer of hope in Noah. Noah found favor in His eyes. Somehow, Noah managed to rise above the depravity of his generation and find favor with God. Noah was not completely corrupt and wicked. Every thought of his heart was not continually evil!
This is sort of a bitter sweet picture. First, after reading the end of Noah’s story, we know that God DOES wipe out all mankind, with the exception of Noah and his kin. God’s judgment is real! That’s a different topic for a different day, but I do think it’s important that we don’t skip over that.
The thing that hits me here, is that Noah was different. He was set apart, just as God asks His people to be (see Rom. 12 & Ex. 19 for example). We’re charged with becoming lights and salt to the earth, to point the world to Jesus. We aren’t suppose to look like the world around us.
That concept is easy to grasp but not easily lived. If I’m honest, I have to fight tooth and nail to live a holy life, especially if the people around me aren’t living holy lives.
My question is this: Should it be so difficult to live a holy life? I don’t have a great answer to that, but I do know that it is easier when I abide in the Father. Why? Because when I strike out on my own, I make the decision to rely on my own strength. When I abide in God, I give my all but God’s grace makes up the difference.
Going back to Noah… the beautiful part of this story is that God saw Noah’s heart and life. He saw hope in His creation; hope worth fighting for and standing behind. Instead of wiping out ALL of creation, God saved this little life raft of people and animals. And from that little group of people comes the rest of the story – a story of God’s redeeming love and plan to make all things right someday. He knows the end of the story; how this epic battle plays out. How encouraging.
The story has a happy ending for God’s people. Right? Yes. As one of my favorite Bible teachers says, “The end of the story is good. God wins.” The rub here is this: Will I choose to live my life like Noah? When God looks at me, is He overjoyed? Does he see hope and beauty in me amidst the depravity of the world?
I hope, at the end of all days, I can look back on my life and rejoice that I stood tall and firm. I hope that when I step into eternity, people will love God more and run harder after Him in holiness simply by thinking of me. I’m not there yet but I choose today to fight for holiness.
If you’ve made it this far, what do you want your legacy to be? How do you want people to remember you when you’re gone? Will you be someone who points people toward God or away from Him? Are you that person? What are three things you can change in your life today to move toward becoming that person? Those are the questions I’ve been pondering since yesterday and I hope they bring encouragement to you, as well.
(Photo courtesy of Wim Vandenbussche.)