Genesis 7:1-24 “A Flood of Judgment”
Genesis 7:1-24 “A Flood of Judgment”
Sunday PM August 13, 2000
Intro. When we study the flood of Noah we face many questions and challenges. The teaching of this story is a grave and serious teaching. The flood points us to the holiness and wrath of God who must punish sin; yet we also see the mercy and grace of God. We see the suddenness of Judgment falling on the people who had heard Noah for 120 yrs preaching but who refused to listen. If you saw the movie back in the late 60’s, The Bible(?) and saw that flood scene- it has stuck in my mind all these years, a scene of people panicking, beating on the door of the ark, begging Noah to open the door which had been shut by God. The flood story also points us to the future judgment of the world and therefore gives some impetus to spread the gospel.
I. Was There An Actual Worldwide Flood?
This issue is debated even in the conservative evangelical circles while the world quickly denies it and calls it another myth in the Bible that is borrowed from other ancient myths in Mesopotamia.
The scientific evidence is pretty clear that virtually every piece of land was once or even many times under water. As a child in OK our school took a field trip to the mound in our home town and there I found hundreds, maybe even thousands of shark’s teeth, one of the most common fossils to find in the field. I was startled to learn that OK had once been beneath the ocean! But as to evidence of a single massive worldwide flood of judgment, the scientific evidence is not as clear. A flood of worldwide proportions would have seriously altered the geologic strata and changed the environment. You could make a strong case for saying the flood was certainly possible even if you have no firm scientific proof.
But there is other proof that the flood really occurred. First of all, the Bible says so, and if God can create something from nothing He can certainly make a worldwide flood! But going on the basis of the Bible, while good enough for we who believe, is not enough to convince a lot of skeptics who do not believe. Is there other evidence?
As an historian I can tell you that there is plenty of evidence for a worldwide flood. Let me read some of James Montgomery Boice’s commentary on the flood that details how many other cultures have flood stories……
That so many diverse cultures should have a common myth with so many similar details is truly astounding! This to me is pretty convincing proof! The biblical account is of course to be distinguished from these other accounts in that the biblical account does not include crude or silly details; the Genesis account is very sober and to the point, avoiding the fantastic.
II. Was God’s Wrath Just?
If the flood is for real, as we believe, then surely it was a horrible event that killed millions probably. Think of it, every human being except Noah’s family died. Young and old, men and women, the mean and the nice, the rich and poor, all alike died, drowned in the flood waters. Just like when God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, God killed them all. People do not like that kind of God. People avoid reading the OT because of things like this. Judgment is not a comfortable subject nor a pretty picture.
Is God’s wrath just? Was it right of God to kill all those people? This question is asked because people are naturally self centered as a species. We care not that thousands of cattle are slaughtered every year so that we can eat meat, and think of all those hogs and chicken, turkeys and fish that are killed every year. The universe is not focused on humans; we are not the center of the universe. We are not the ultimate life form. God is the center of the universe; He alone is the creator and the ground of our existence. God makes all the rules and determines right from wrong. His purposes are supreme; he establishes justice based upon his own holy character.
Man owed God everything yet rebelled against God. God’s judgment of man was this: “every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time.” God’s law was broken by every human and things were going from bad to worse, it was not going to get better. So God’s judgment was to destroy man.
The reason we don’t like that is that we know not the holiness of God and we are blind to our own depravity. The paradox of man is that we are the ultimate creation of God, we are created in His own image, yet we are desperately wicked and deserving of eternal hell. We are guilty of offending an infinitely holy God and deserve death. God does not owe us a life. This is utterly humbling, we need to realize how completely at God’s mercy we are, how weak and sinful we are and how glorious and holy God is.
Ezekiel 18:4, 25-29; Romans 3:10-18, 23; Heb 9:27
III. The Suddenness of God’s Judgment.
Matt.24:36ff when the rain started to fall the people began to wonder, “Could Noah have been right?” As the rain picked up and it rained harder and harder I imagine several of Noah’s neighbors, probably those who gave him the most grief began to walk toward Noah’s place. The creeks and streams were beginning to look full, big puddles were filling the roads. They got to Noah’s house and called out but no one answered. They began to search his house and barn, but no Noah. His kid’s houses were empty too. They walked out to his big boat, the Ark. They had seen the strange parade of animals and had been in awe of how the lion and the lamb went on board together. Now they are getting seriously worried. They reach the ark and find the door shut, the ramp is up, and they cannot reach the door. As the water rises the people get some things together and try to reach the door as they climb up on the barrels and tables. Though they beat and pound on the door, though they cry out with voices fraught with panic and fear, they get no answer. “Noah! Please open the door! We are sorry for making fun of your boat! We are sorry for all the mean things we said. Forgive us Noah! Tell us about your God Noah, just open the door and let us in.” Panic and anger come together and people once again start to curse Noah and Noah’s God. They get some tools and start to attack the ark, trying to chop their way in or at least to puncture it so that not even Noah can survive. But the ark is strong for Noah built it according to the Lord’s instructions.
As the water rises people have fled to the hills, but perhaps a very few remain near the ark until the last person falls into the water as the ark floats off its platform. Inside the ark Noah and his family hear the last of the screams and the pounding fade away as they feel the boat shift and move as the flood picks it up. The screams of the dying make them realize the awfulness of sin and the glory of God’s grace. They tearfully thank God for his great salvation and hug each other.
Judgment was announced for about 120 years, plenty of warning had been given, sermon after sermon had been preached. Noah had had many a conversation with those unbelievers who laughed at him. Now, the swiftness of the judgment of God was breathtaking.
In Luke 16 is the story of the rich man and Lazarus, death came quickly, unexpectedly. He opened his eyes in hell!
Hell is a terrible reality that is scorned today! Hell is hot and it is forever. Hell is darkness, loneliness, hopelessness, burning agony, torture by the demons perhaps who are themselves being tormented. Separated from the love of God but bearing the awful holy gaze of God the Judge forever and ever.
IV. God’s mercy Is Great
Only Noah and his wife, his 3 sons and their wives and perhaps some little ones (not counted) were preserved from the wrath of god.
Rev.7:9ff in heaven there is a great multitude of redeemed who have been saved by the wonderful grace of God.
Conclusion: 1) Be grateful to God for our salvation; 2) Show gratitude in worship, discipleship and obedience; 3) Share the love of Jesus with others before it is too late! 4) Live in light of eternity!