“The reason God repeatedly wipes out people for sin throughout history is to give examples of His ultimate judgment that is coming at the very end.”
In 2017 the Oroville Dam in California threatened the lives of nearly 200,000 people. One night an alarm was sent out to towns downstream of the dam on the Feather River to evacuate. In one massive exodus, roughly 188,000 people instantly gathered whatever was necessary and fled. Bridges, highways, gas stations, and roads were clogged with panicked people trying to escape the looming danger of a dam about to break loose.
The earthen dam is the biggest of its kind in the US at 770 feet tall. The high water levels due to heavy rainy season had engineers worried that the weir capping the dam would come loose and careen downstream causing a 30 foot tidal wave and destroying everything in the towns downstream.
What’s amazing to me is the response of the people. The alarm was sounded. Their lives were in danger. They heeded the alarm and fled to save their lives.
If only people had responded this way in Noah’s day. If they had, a fleet of arks would have had to have been built. In Genesis 6 God tells Noah that a flood of divine judgment is going to break loose on the world. He is going to flood the earth with water and destroy all life. Noah was instructed to build an ark.
FIRST: GOD’S GRIEF OVER MAN’S SIN
God’s judgment of man’ sin is related to God’s grief over man’s sin. Notice what God says in verses 6 and 7, “….” He was grieved, his heart was filled with pain.
The word for “grieve” is translated in some versions as “repented”. The KJV reads, “And it repented the LORD that he had made man”. The NASB says, “And the LORD was sorry he had made man on the earth.”
The word in the Hebrew is “Nah-HAM”, and it means “to be sorry” or “regret” or “console oneself.” More fundamentally it means “to sigh”, which is that sigh of regret. God’s heart was heavy with pain and grief.
Don’t get too stuck on dicing and splicing the meaning of God “grieving” the fact He made man. Don’t think it means God didn’t realize man would get that bad, like he rolled the dice hoping for the best while not knowing how it would all turnout on the earth. He is eternal and omniscient. He knew all this would happen. He knows the end from the beginning.
The larger point you have to see is the reason God is grieved by sin: He is holy. His grief over sin is because He is holy. He has a holy animosity towards sin – an utter displeasure with it. There is absolutely nothing in Him that allows Him to just go along with it. Actually, there is something about God that makes Him violent towards sin. (Drowning the world is violent!) That something is His holiness.
APPLICATION: If we have a concern for pleasing God then the idea of “grieving” God will certainly grieve us. Our sin grieves God. Sin brings his heart pain, because God is holy and He therefore hates sin. It is not enjoyable for Him to see it happening. Like Lot in Sodom…. Like the NT says about the Holy Spirit, “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit…get rid of all bitterness, rage, malice, brawling and slander” (Eph. 4).
God is both patient with sin and impatient. He suffers it far longer than He is obligated to (patient), and yet because of His holiness He burns with righteous anger towards it and therefore He won’t suffer with it forever (holy impatience).
SECOND: THE FLOOD WASHES THE WICKED AWAY
The flood washes the wicked away. Notice the violent language God uses:
- 6:7, “I will wipe mankind from the face of the earth”
- 6:13, “I am going to put an end to all people”
- 6:17, “I am going to bring floodwaters on earth to destroy all life under the heavens, every creature that has the breath of life in it.”
- Or like Jesus said in Matthew 24, “The flood came and took them away.”
God is telling Noah that He is going to kill everyone on earth. He’s going to use a global flood to do it. If you think about it, its like God was going to “baptize” the earth and wash all the filth off it. Which is what Peter talks about in 1 Peter 3. Turn there with me and follow along in verses 20-21. [READ] Notice how it says Noah was saved through water. Interesting. I would have thought it would read “Noah was saved FROM water.”
How did the water save Noah? Because the water washed away all the wicked people from the earth. Noah was saved from having to continue living in the midst of that godlessness any longer. The whole context of 1 Peter 3 is standing firm in your faith when wicked people attack you for your faith and do evil things to you for your faith. When evil wants to drown righteousness it makes the cost of standing in righteousness go up and up. Like Lot in Sodom his righteous soul was tormented having to live every day with that wicked generation of his. What could bring him relief? What could save him? What would take him out of this ugliness or what would take this ugliness out from his sight? The answer? The floodwaters.
THIRD: GOD’S HAS AND HE WILL AGAIN WIPE OUT SINFUL PEOPLE.
God has a history of dealing severely with severe sin. Throughout the Scriptures you see God wiping peoples out for their wickedness. Turn with me to:
- Sodom & Gomorrah (Gen 19:24-28 and 2 Peter 2:)
- Canaanites (Dt 7:1-2, 16; 20:16-18)
- End Times Babylon (Rev 18:21)
- Current heavens & earth (2 Pet 3:5-7 and 10)
WHY does God do these things in history? Why not wait until the very end, the final judgment? Second Peter 2:6 tells us. Turn and read with me….
The reason God repeatedly wipes out people for sin throughout history is to give examples of His ultimate judgment that is coming at the very end. The Flood, Sodom and Gomorrah, Canaan, Babylon, etc are all preview, sneak-peeks, “trailers” you would even say, of the big show, the big Day of judgment that is on the calendar and is coming. “God has set a day” Acts 17 says, “when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. And he has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead.” The greatest judgment of sin God has performed so far actually is the judgment of sin at the cross of Jesus Christ.
APPLICATION: Have your sins been punished at the cross of Jesus Christ? If they haven’t then you will be punished for them yourself. Jesus Himself, personally, suffered the penalty of punishment for your personal sins at the cross. You do NOT want to pay for them yourself. You DO want to believe in Jesus today as the one who paid for them for you.
APPLICATION: This is why God continues to be patient with you. God warns of judgment, giving time for repentance. Second Peter 3:9 says, “God is patient, not wanting anyone to perish, but all to come to repentance. No one took Noah seriously. No one stopped and considered why Noah was building the ark. No one did some self reflection and thought to themselves, “Hey, we are pretty bad around here. We do a lot of bad things as human beings. This guy Noah might know something.”
FOURTH, GOD FOLLOWS THROUGH ON JUDGMENT
Then God follows through on judgment. Look at 7:17-24 again with me…..[READ]
Noah spent many years (up to 75 according to AIG) building the Ark. However long it took Noah was known as the crazy boat guy. People looked at what he was doing, what he dedicated his life to, what he was building, and they shook their heads. He was preparing for something globally catastrophic that God was bringing. They however were going on like nothing was ever going to change. Jesus said in Matthew 24 (turn with me there)…
“As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood people were eating and drinking marrying and being given 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 away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.”
Not Noah. Noah knew what was coming. And he was getting ready. He didn’t care what they thought because he knew they wouldn’t be around long.
APPLICATION: What are you building? Does this world that is under God’s judgment look at you too and shake their head? Do they see what you have dedicated your life to and what you are preparing for and laugh as they walk away thinking you’re nuts, thinking the world will always go on as it always has? What are you building with your life? Are you building the kind of life that demonstrates you know and you understand God’s judgment is coming on this world?
CONCLUSION: FAITH OBEYS
I want you to see two verses: 6:22 and 7:5. Noah obeyed God. He did everything God told him to do. And he was saved.
God is going to send judgment on this earth again. There is a dam that will break loose and destroy everything downstream of it.
But He is not telling you to build an ark. God is not telling you to be a better person. He is telling you to go to Jesus. He is the ark. You must go to Him so that you can survive the floodwaters of the coming judgment. Do the one thing God is commanding you to do right now: believe on the Lord Jesus Christ