Read This Week: Genesis 7
The Lord told Noah, “Go into the ark, you and your whole family, because I have found you righteous in this generation.” And Noah did all that the Lord commanded him. – Genesis 7:1, 5 NIV
We know the spiritual ramifications of the flood from the last chapter, but it was such a cataclysmic event in human history. It altered the landscape of the earth and the nature of the habitat. It modified the geological constructs of the earth’s terrain and catalyzed the formation of the world’s most impressive mountains, canyons, and valleys. It is even debated whether the water erosion significantly formed the mighty Himalayan mountain range or whether it rose out of the ocean depths when the water came upward. It also impacted the ecosystem in such a way that the life span of human beings significantly dropped. It changed everything.
The flood was a generational event for all time. It affected everyone who came after it. A generational event of such magnitude requires generational circumstances and measures carried out by a generational person. Genesis 7 unpacks the coming of rain and the destruction brought to the world by water. Noah, the man found righteous in this generation, takes instructions from God to build a very large boat or ark to contain a small group of people and a massive number of animals. The ark was approximately 510 feet long and more than 50 feet high, and it had the same capacity as about 450 modern semi-trailers. It was a generational boat and served a physical and spiritual purpose in the story of God. It was the vessel of life, promise, and renewal.
This chapter begins after Noah has completed the ark and is commanded by God to board. He does not go alone. God allows him to take his wife, three sons, and their wives. Noah is also to bring all the animals that God is sending to him so they can be saved. Including the animals on the ark is an often overlooked act of compassion that God shows toward his creation and the things He has made. It reveals the fatherly nature of his character to spare animals in the flood so that they don’t have to suffer. Even in his righteous judgment, God demonstrates tenderness and mercy. He does the same for us in this generation. In spite of the same prevalent nature of devastating sin and his holy right to judge it, God’s grace is expressed through salvation in Christ, and his kindness is seen in the blessings he gives us to enjoy our lives and his creation.
After they are secure and on the boat, the Bible says in verses 11-12 that all the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened. And the rain fell on the earth forty days and forty nights. The text here is almost prosaic in the way it describes the event. The language is poetic, but the truth of it is devastating chaos and destruction. Nothing is lyrical about the earth being destroyed and people perishing in the rising and rushing waters. This diluvian event had a comprehensive impact as the waters are said to have prevailed over all the earth, including the highest summits of the highest mountain. A total picture of ruin.
One cannot help but be moved and overwhelmed by the account of the flood. It is too intense and implicative of too much to not be touched by. It is an occurrence for the ages, and thankfully, God found one man and his family who were up to ask to meet it with His help. People who were found righteous in their generation. We have the same opportunity with the power of the Holy Spirit. We live in crucial times of history. We are witnessing events and circumstances unprecedented in the annals of our society. We have the chance to be found righteous in this generation and be used by God to accomplish great things in the face of disastrous and ruinous events. Like Noah, the Lord can use us to extract His glory from seemingly dreadful conditions.