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Noah: Saving Your Family in a Dark World – Part 2

The curse and the promise.
Read Time: 8 minutes

Noah is introduced to us in Genesis 5:29, and we get a short play on words with his name, which means “rest.” This concept immediately drives us back in time to the curse and Promise in the garden (Genesis 3). Let’s look at the curse first.

Genesis 3:17-19 details this new role, which, after sin would require hard labor to produce and provide food for his family. This change resulted from Adam’s sin, specifically that he did not protect and guide his wife in the face of temptation, which was his responsibility.

Before this curse, keeping the garden in the Edenic state (using Genesis 2:15 language, “to dress it and to keep it”) would have been a much easier task as there were no cigarette butts, paper cups, food wrappers etc., to tarnish the grounds! The only pollutant in the garden was Man. We are not punished for our sins, but by them. The consequences of our sins remain, even when we are granted forgiveness. As a result of their choice, changes in the circumstances and environment were inevitable.

After sin, thorns and thistles become a perpetual nuisance (Genesis 3:18-19) and become a metaphor for all sin. If not tended to, thorns and thistles will overtake a garden much like sin can overtake our life. We must contend earnestly and carefully maintain our lives lest the surrounding weeds overtake our minds and beings.

negative results are not immediate but eventual

This goal is only accomplished by continual Bible reading, study, meditation, and conversation with those of like precious faith. Like sin, the negative results are not immediate but eventual. We do not wake up one day and see a garden full of weeds and thorns any more than we wake up and notice a life of self-service and sin.

Now, let’s look at the Promise. Genesis 3:7 tells us they covered their sin with fig leaves, yet God provided that the covering of sin requires the shedding of blood (v. 21). This is the primary lesson of this chapter in scripture. We can see the hope of redemption through the blood of Jesus prophetically here. In fact, at the crucifixion, what materials were used to make a mock crown for Jesus? Ties to Genesis 3 everywhere!

Fast forward to Noah and see the closing verse of chapter 5 (v. 32) for a significant clue to our topic, one that will clarify a dramatic detail in our story in the following few articles. We are given the note of 500 years, and anytime we have a detail that doesn’t seem to be that important to the flow of the story, the Bible student must always look for an answer to the question, “Why do we need to know that?” 

Chapter 6 begins with “And,” which tells us it is a continuing thought from the previous chapter. The Scriptural stages to get us to this point are creation (chapters 1 and 2), curse and Promise–the covering of sin requires the shedding of blood (chapter 3), the object lesson for this principle (Cain and Abel–chapter 4), and then the book of death (with repeated reference to the phrase “and he died” for emphasis in chapter 5). Read Genesis 6:1 carefully.

When did men begin to multiply? This reference brings us back to Adam and Eve! This process, leading to the eventual judgment of the entire planet, started immediately! Sin creeps in wherever people are. In the Hebrew, the word translated as “men” is “Adam” (and it is singular), so the Hebrew supports this clearly, even if the English skews it slightly.

Women in Scripture are often used to describe the state of spirituality. For example, we refer to the ecclesia as the “bride” of Christ. The example also holds true in the negative; idolatry is referred to in Scripture as adultery and prostitution, for they are seen as going after “other Gods.” This wording describes the state of the Christian world at the time of our Lord’s return in Revelation.

Verse 2 makes this spiritual point. This verse does not mean that all the boys were good, and all the girls were bad. There was evil on both sides of this gender coin. However, remembering that the female represents the group’s spirituality, we see that all was not pleasant in paradise from the very beginning.

The same spiritual challenge plagues the world today

We know the story of Cain and Abel, so it should come as no surprise that the world began to stray from the God that created it immediately. This thought applies to us with the words of Jesus “as it was” setting up the days of Noah to describe these last days, so the clues of yesterday become the warnings of today. Remember the temptation of Eve; she saw, took, and chose. The same spiritual challenge plagues the world today.

So, if the daughters of men represent the spiritual state of the world, who were the sons of God? That is a good question. Let’s go back to the beginning when men began to multiply. In chapter 4:26, after the birth of Enos, we read, “Then began men to call upon the name of the LORD.” Romans 8:14 tells us: “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” Take note of the reference to the spirit of God as it occurs in Genesis 6:3: “My spirit shall not always strive with man.” This result is the divine inspection.

God looked and decided to withdraw his spirit, destroy his creation, and terminate all flesh—very graphic words and painful to consider, given the parent-child relationship. This declaration was not a quick decision taken lightly but rather the inevitable result of children going wayward.

To emphasize this point, what is the only one of the ten commandments stated in the positive? “Honour thy father and thy mother,” which is #5 of the 10 (denoting grace). It is worth noting that the commandments were on two stone tablets. The first four are all to God, plus one to the family. The second tablet included five relating to individual behavior towards others. This depiction supports the theory that we need to put God first, our family second, and business or other obligations in this life third as we set our priority.

One last thought on the divine inspection aspect of this chapter. Consider Leviticus 14:33-45 and the leprous house, knowing that leprosy describes sin throughout Scripture. In short summary, if leprosy was in the house, empty the house. If found in the house’s walls, shut the house for seven days and then re-inspect. If, upon re-inspection, it has spread to the walls, take away the stones and cast them outside the city, scrape and pour out the dust outside the city, then replace the stones.

Essentially this is what God was doing to his leprous house in the days of Noah. We want to be part of the house built to the glory of God, not the house torn down and cast outside the city as unclean.

Back to Genesis 6. There are two camps on the planet at this time. One is following the spirit of God, and the other is not. The line of Enos (or rather Seth as Abel’s replacement) is calling on the things of God and trying to live God’s way, while the line of Cain is living in a way that is serving their own flesh and proud of it (read Genesis 4 for content).

In time, these two lines meet in marriage, which creates the downfall. All marriage requires compromise. Two people becoming one requires change, including give and take. However, determining what color the walls or furniture should be is not on the same level as choosing to serve God. When our service to God and the values of our God are open to compromise, we inevitably will get weaker spiritually and closer to the lust of our flesh as we devalue the commands of the Father and replace them with the thinking of men.

120 years of warning are noted

Something else is embedded in this third verse. Here, 120 years of warning are noted. I wonder if that number has anything to do with the prior math clue of 500? Hold the thought and continue to verse 4. The word “renown” is the Hebrew shem or the name (James 2:7). “Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called?” We are all called to take on the name of our Lord in baptism and be one with the Son at the marriage supper. Living up to the name we are called to will be critical to that objective. Knowing is not enough. We must know and do!

The word giants in Hebrew is “Nephilim.” The only other usage of this word is twice in Numbers 13:33, clearly referring to men of war in the promised land. It does not necessarily mean they were big people, but that they were strong and mighty warriors. Giant is relative. I am a giant today in some countries at 6’4” and 250 lbs. On an NFL offensive line, I am puny. As an NBA center, I am a dwarf.

The point is that they were bigger and stronger than the Israelites, which scared them. Moses wrote both Genesis and Numbers, so we have continuity. More evidence that these were mighty warriors is found in Genesis 6:4. “Sons of God” or those following God’s way (line of Enos) vs the “daughters of man” (singular Adam again in the Hebrew) following the way of flesh (line of Cain). They get married and compromise doctrine and life choices, creating distance from God.

Remember the phrase “married and giving in marriage” from our previous article? As they inter-married, they got farther and farther away from the Truth as given in the garden. And then they had kids! How many rocky marriages get better when kids come into the picture? Children are wonderful, but to suggest that having them does not add stress to a young family would be ridiculous. Along with a child’s cute and cuddly demands comes the additional benefit of lack of sleep and urgent attention required for survival. This situation will add stress to even the best relationships.

Pay particular attention to the timing. They get farther away from God and closer to the world around them and decide to have children. This development is a recipe for disaster! The Hebrew calls them mighty men of the name. This same designation is used in Numbers 16 to describe Korah, Dathan, and Abiram as they gathered together against Moses and Aaron, challenging the authority of God and his servants. These men, like those in Genesis 6, were proud men building their own name, not men of God. A great object lesson for this is the Tower of Babel, the next story after Noah.

Genesis 6:5 continues the divine inspection and commentary. God saw this all along, and the time came for action. The majority of the population ignored his established order of things, preferring that which was “right in their own eyes.” Isn’t that what we all do? Who among us intentionally does that which is wrong in our own eyes? Recognizing this natural tendency allows us to combat it and make sure that the thinking of the Father is getting its proper, primary place in our hearts and minds.

We compare this to our day when we see the sordid news outlets and social media that appeal to our own personal bend, inflating the pride of our life rather than humbling ourselves before the Creator of heaven and earth. Verse 6 adds that “the LORD was sorry” (RSV) as the Father was disappointed in his children. His name has been disgraced. He created humankind to “fill the earth with his glory,” but now, it has become a testament to the glory of man. I wonder what he thinks about his children today.

What are we doing right now to represent his glory in our life? His objective was glory. What He saw was corruption and violence (chapter 6)—people following their own way on a broad path that leads to destruction. Verse 7 gives us the righteous judgment. “Destroy” in the RSV is “blot out.” The time for repentance is past! This verse is the reverse order of Genesis 1, essentially undoing creation.

This statement is God’s message to Noah to prepare him for the impending devastation, not unlike the signs of the times in these last days.

Hebrews 11:7 says that he was “warned of God.” What is his response? We have been warned the time is coming. What is our response? For a moment, put aside our plans and ideas; what are we doing to be numbered amongst the faithful? The time to act is now.

In contrast to the world’s mess, Genesis 6:8 states, “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.” What an epitaph! For the rest of our time together, we will primarily focus on what he did to find grace, something we all want for ourselves and our families.

Genesis 6:9 gives us the first snapshot as to why he found grace,

“Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.”

He was just (or balanced), and he was complete or upright (the Hebrew meaning for perfect). He was just and upright because he walked God’s way.

And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. (Joshua 24:15).


Dennis Bevans,
Austin Leander Ecclesia, CA

Suggested Readings
If you have ever felt alone in your walk to the Kingdom, the Scriptures are loaded with examples to show us we are not.
What could a story about a man and his family approximately 4,500 years ago do to help me today? Doesn’t everyone already know about Noah and the Ark?
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