Genesis 6:1-22, Matthew 3:7-17, Psalms 3:6-8, Proverbs 1:29-33
OT: “When the Lord saw that human wickedness was widespread on the earth and that every inclination of the human mind was nothing but evil all the time, the Lord regretted that he had made man on the earth, and he was deeply grieved. Then the Lord said, “I will wipe mankind, whom I created, off the face of the earth, together with the animals, creatures that crawl, and birds of the sky — for I regret that I made them.” Noah, however, found favor with the Lord.” (Genesis 6:5-8 CSB)
It’s easy to read and write about the “happy” parts of the Bible: the promises of blessing and reward. It is not so easy to read and write about the negative parts of the Bible. No one wants to hear about the consequences of not following the Lord’s ways – they just want to hear about the promises. Well… there are negative promises in the word as well. Yet, even in the negative and “ugly” parts of scripture, I still see God’s mercy, compassion, and unrelenting faithfulness to His covenantal promises. This passage is no different. If you look at the Hebrew language in this passage, you see that humanity’s ever-increasing trend toward wickedness grieved God, and it both pained Him and angered Him. That is the heart of a righteous Father: consequences for poor choices must be allowed to occur – but it pains you at the same time to see the children you love suffer the consequences. In this passage you see God’s justice, but you also see His unrelenting faithfulness to the promise He made way back in the Garden of Eden – and he found a worthy man to carry forth the promise in Noah. God found a way to be just and faithful at the same time.
NT: “And don’t presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that God is able to raise up children for Abraham from these stones. The ax is already at the root of the trees. Therefore, every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.” (Matthew 3:9-10 CSB)
Through the old covenant with Israel, God intended to fill the earth with His glory as the nation of Israel served as a nation of priests reconciling all of mankind to God. By and large, Israel forfeited that call and chose to be more concerned with elitism and status than mercy and grace. That didn’t stop God in His unrelenting faithfulness to see salvation come to all the world. Though the axe was being laid at the root of the Old Covenant, and New Covenant was being established that would be open to all who place their faith in God and live according to His will, word, and ways. God would remain faithful to His promise to mankind in spite of mankind’s tendencies toward unfaithfulness. He made a way even when the way appeared to be closed.
Proverbs: “Because they hated knowledge, didn’t choose to fear the Lord, were not interested in my counsel, and rejected all my correction, they will eat the fruit of their way and be glutted with their own schemes. For the apostasy of the inexperienced will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them. But whoever listens to me will live securely and be undisturbed by the dread of danger.”” (Proverbs 1:29-33 CSB)
The consequences of rejecting God’s wisdom are destruction – either in this life or the life hereafter. It’s not God’s desire – it is the way that path leads. It grieves and pains God to see His creation choose go that way. But if you choose to walk in God’s wisdom and submit yourself to His leading, you can live securely and without fear – because even though God’s way may lead you through dangerous and challenging times, His wisdom, and leadership, and grace will bring you out the other side alive.