The Genesis account of Noah is one of several Ancient Near Eastern stories about the flood. God selects a righteous man for an impossible mission that won’t happen for some time. How many of us could conceive of doing something (build an ark) to survive an event (the flood) that had never happened before? And then to claim that God told you to do it? That is exactly what righteous Noah did; he did not argue with God or debate an alternative plan. No, Noah set out doing exactly what God instructed him to do because the plan of God is perfect and will accomplish God’s true mission – cleansing and restoration. I pray that these readings and reflections will guide your thoughts and meditation toward the God who cleanses and restores us. From that I also pray that we might learn to listen to God’s call and to honor God above all things. May we learn to be faithful.
Monday: read Genesis 6:5
Genesis says that all of humanity was bent toward evil; it filled their hearts and infiltrated their actions. In the creation story God “saw” good and now God “saw” evil, the opposite of what God created. But the writer goes on to say that God does not act suddenly or arbitrarily. God continues to watch each of us and God sees good and bad in our lives. Do you find it comforting that God is patient, not acting hastily to correct us?
Tuesday: read Genesis 6:6-7
The sinful inclination of humanity grieves God but not to the point of God acting in anger or judgment. The Genesis writer portrays God regretting the creation particularly of humanity but God is not portrayed as powerless or inactive. Actually God is driven to action and the action is surprising. While we may read the flood story as destruction we should really read it as God cleansing the earth of corruption. In baptism we speak of the power of the water and the Spirit to cleanse instead of destroy. Reflecting upon your own baptism, how does the power of God to cleanse speak to you?
Wednesday: read Genesis 6:11-12
Humans have struggled with the theodicy question since the moment paradise was lost. We continue to ask the question “why do bad things happen to good people?” Even in the flood story we must understand the innocent suffer with the guilty because humans have already sown the seeds of their own destruction. What story or headline this week illustrates this point for you; that innocent people suffer along with the guilty?
Thursday: read Genesis 6:17
Noah moves into God’s vision and plan based upon a promise – basically that God would spare Noah and his family. It is evident that Noah is called by God to this task because Noah already has a firm relationship with God; Noah was and continues to be a worshipper of God. Many of us want to do something significant with our lives; we want to hear God’s calling but can’t. How much of that could be due to the fact that we don’t fully worship God with our lives?
Friday: read Genesis 8:1
“God remembers Noah.” The waters came, the flood has covered the earth, and the ark precariously resides above the cleansing of the earth. The first verse of Genesis 8 could make it seem like God was so focused on the cleansing that Noah and the ark slipped God’s view. Or that God was so deep in grief over the cleansing of the earth that God temporarily lost sight of Noah and the ark. There are times in our lives where we feel like God has temporarily lost sight of us but the promise is that God will never leave, forsake, or totally forget us. Are you troubled by this or do you find comfort in this?
Saturday: read Genesis 8:20
Noah, his family and the animals come out of the ark after the waters had receded. Noah proceeds to build an altar and then sacrificed to God some of the clean large animals and birds. If you think about it Noah sacrifices to God part of what was needed to repopulate the cleansed earth. But Noah does not see it that way; Noah honors God for God’s provision and rescue and it cost something to do that. The lesson is that we need to learn to give to God generously understanding that in giving we actually gain more than we do when we hoard resources. Honoring God takes precedence over our objectives or ideas. How are you honoring God in your life and through the church? What is it literally and figuratively costing you?
Prayer focus: evil, injustice, and destruction that resides in our own hearts; water as a symbol of cleansing; God sees and God remembers us, especially when we feel far away; honoring God should be our first priority.
Blessings for the journey.