Tag Archives: Noah

“God said” in Genesis

Studies in Genesis 1

And God said … (Genesis 1:3 ESV)

Ten times in Genesis 1 the words “God said” are used to denote God’s deliberate action in creation (see Genesis 1:3, 6, 9, 11, 14, 20, 24, 26, 28, 29).

It is fitting God use the words “God said” in the first chapter of Genesis. Not only does using this phrase establish God as deliberately and actively working in creation but it also shows God’s continued presence in what He has created. He does not simply wind up the universe and let go becoming an absent builder or disinterested observer. What He has begun He will see to completion, involved in every step.

Here are other times the phrase “God said” is used in the book of Genesis.

After God created Adam He determined it was not good for him to be alone (see Genesis 2:18).

When God confronted Eve and the Serpent it was with deliberate intent to show their rebellion (see Genesis 3:13-14).

When God ejected sinful Adam and Eve from the garden it was to deliberately keep them from the Tree of Life (see Genesis 3:22).

God deliberately chose Noah, directing him to build an ark for a specific reason. “And God said to Noah, ‘I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence through them. Behold, I will destroy them with the earth’” (Genesis 6:13 ESV; see also Genesis 8:15; 9:8, 12. 17).

When God chose Abraham and made a covenant with him it was to deliberately show the lineage of His Son Jesus Christ. “And God said to him, ‘Behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations’” (Genesis 17:3-4 ESV; see also Genesis 17: 9, 15, 19; 21:12).

When God chose Jacob and changed his name to Israel it was to affirm the lineage and genealogy of His Son, Jesus Christ. “And God said to him, ‘I am God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply. A nation and a company of nations shall come from you, and kings shall come from your own body’” (Genesis 35:11 ESV; see also Genesis 35:1, 10).

When “God said” at creation He meant for all time.

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God Separated Light from Darkness

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day. [Genesis 1:1-5 ESV]

When God created He made something out of nothing. Before He created even the inconceivably smallest particle of matter did not exist. But God exists outside of the physical universe. Then God spoke, acted, created, began creating, and there was something.

God created all physical reality with order and precision, having no defect. Yet, within these verses we see the reality of darkness and light. Before God did anything else in creation He created light. He separated the darkness from the light. Notice there was darkness over the all the earth. By this I think He means the physical planet upon which we live before the planet was habitable.

Yet, He didn’t just create. God created the universe, the earth, and people with His image, pointing to Himself. All of the evidence of creation shows the Creator at work. But God has revealed more about Himself in Scripture which we could not understand through simple observation of the physical universe. A finite mind cannot comprehend an infinite being.

Since God is omniscient  His eternal foreknowledge knew intimately the reality of coming sin and the resulting separation of those He created from Himself. Perhaps sin had already been introduced into eternity through the rebellion of Lucifer and the expulsion of those angels who followed him.

In Scripture darkness is a symbol for sin. Light is a symbol of righteousness and perfection. Separation is a theme in Scripture. God cannot allow any sinful person or thing in His presence. He separates from Himself that which does not conform to His exact, perfect standard.

From the beginning God has shown the reality of separation, light from darkness, and the truth of the righteous being set apart from the unrighteous. Separation is always from something to something different, from sin to something greater, something not sin. Separation from sin means separation to righteousness. But first those who sin must be separated from Him who cannot sin.

When Adam sinned he was separated from the place created by God for him and his enjoyment. He, and all who followed were also separated from God, unable to have the intimate relationship for which they were designed.

Cain killed Abel, separating his brother from life and himself being separated from his people. Others joined him, a group of separate people who did not follow God.

Seth was born and through him God chose to send His Son.

Then the “sons of God saw that the daughters of man were attractive. And they took as their wives any they chose” [Genesis 6:2 ESV]. Do not think these were angels. They were not. God’s sons were the line of Seth and the daughters of men were of the line of Cain. The marriage of the godly with the ungodly corrupted and further separated all from their relationship with God.

The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” [Genesis 6:5 ESV].  But God separated for Himself Noah and seven others.

Then God separated for Himself one of Noah’s sons, Shem

Then God separated for Himself Abram from all of the pagans of the world. Then God chose for Himself Isaac, not Ishmael. Then God chose for Himself Jacob, who would become Israel, not Esau. Israel was separated from the world to serve God and to bear witness of His righteousness. Even Israel sinned and parts of the nation were separated from the rest and exiled.

Sin corrupts all it touches but God’s Spirit recreates, taking away the sentence of separation. His light cannot be extinguished.

God kept His promise to the sinful world. From the beginning He determined to send His Son to take upon Himself the sentence demanded by justice for sin. Israel was chosen not because they were sinless but because of His eternal determination of the genealogical line through which Jesus would descend. All of creation points to Him.

He is the light of the world and reveals the truth of separation and the gift of restoration.

Noah

But God remembered Noah and all the beasts and all the livestock that were with him in the ark. [Genesis 8:1 ESV]

There is only one place to find peace and that is in God’s presence. However, in a world rebelling against God, surrounded by people who care nothing for the One who created them with an eternal purpose, none want to seek out that peaceful place. If there is peace in the world it is a false peace, a counterfeit, a lie designed specifically to fool people into believing something which is not true.

The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the LORD was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. [Genesis 6:5-6 ESV]

God decided to blot out all people from the face of the earth. This means the physical death of all men, women and children. Since the penalty for sin is death there were none who did not deserve to die. They faced His wrath and found no where on earth to escape judgment. They were not at peace with each other. They were not at peace with God.

Yet, one man found favor in God’s eyes. “But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD” [Genesis 6:8 ESV].

How did God describe Noah? “Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God” [Genesis 6:9 ESV] If there were none righteous, if all were intent upon evil, how could Noah be found righteous? I think the answer is in the phrase “Noah walked with God.”

Like Enoch before him, walking with God means not walking with the world, rejecting the thinking, emotions and willful decisions to rebel against God. This does not mean either Enoch or Noah were sinless. They recognized their sin, realized the consequences of their sin, which brings separation from the One who created them. Walking with God means they consciously relinquished control of their selves to Him against whom they were rebelling. Noah found favor because the thinking of his heart was focused upon his God.

Noah’s ark is a favorite Sunday school story. Flannel graphs and coloring books and cute illustrations are filled with a smiling Noah and smiling animals. Some will show people laughing at the man building the strange boat far from any water. Conveniently left out of this story is the horrible death of all but eight. Left out of these stories is any recognition of the justified wrath of a holy God against those who consciously rejected Him, even hated Him. If these are the images we are placing in our children’s minds then I wish none of them had gone to a Sunday school where God is mocked. We do not teach the absolute devastation caused by sin by putting smiles on the faces of animals.

Noah and his family spent 100 years building the sanctuary needed to save some. When his family entered the ark and God shut the door and it began to rain, and water flooded the earth until the highest mountain was 20 feet under, all of the rest of the people and animals died. The ark was the only safe, peaceful place in the world, surrounded by destruction and death. It was safe and peaceful only because God decided to make it so.

God decided to save Noah. He and his family were just as deserving of death as everyone else in the world. God did not need to save the animals. He’s God and can make new animals. We do well to remember it is God who makes the decisions. But, it is we who must walk with Him.

God, in Christ, decided to offer Himself for our sin. We, like Noah, are required to obey. If there is no peace in this world, only turmoil, death and sin, then we must seek peace only in Him. In the middle of a world which hates God, which finds pleasure in rebelling against Him, which entices us to follow it and not Him, we do well to consciously and deliberately, seek Him.

For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, because they formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water. Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him. [1 Peter 3:18-22 ESV]