19–25 February 2016.
We human beings are such a mystery! On the one hand, the Bible tells us that God created us according to his image, to have value and dignity, and to stand just below God in honour. Not even the angels have the image of God – just us! But before we get too proud, the Bible then teaches us that we human beings are also completely bound by sin. Regardless of how hard we try, we are all stained by sin. Our hearts and minds and every action all stand under sin’s frustrating power. So how can we understand ourselves? We are noble images of God, and yet also terrible sinners. That sounds confusing!
In the story of Noah, even God struggles to understand this! Chapter 5 begins by proclaiming the good news: God created us in his image and he blessed us (5:1–2). But then in the very next chapter, in 6:5, we hear that human beings are so evil that every thought in our hearts is always wicked. This situation is so bad that, according to 6:6–7, God looked at our sin and was so upset that he repented of ever creating people. God is so upset at how things have gone that he wants to give up on the whole project and put an end to it all.
But then God sees Noah and thinks that maybe, maybe there is actually someone left who is not a terrible sinner. So, as we know, God makes a plan to save the good Noah and his family and many animals with them, but to destroy everyone else.
The only problem is that God’s plan doesn’t work. Sin doesn’t get destroyed, and Noah and his family are hardly long out of the ark before they fall victim to drunkenness, rage, and sexual evils (9:20–27) – terrible sins which tear Noah’s family apart. In the end, in 8:21, God simply has to confess that being full of wickedness and sin is just the way we human beings are.
So does that mean we should live in fear of God trying to kill us all again? No. This is where we see God’s wonderful love and mercy. God promises Noah and all us human beings that even though we are hopeless sinners, he will still always love us and care for us. He will be our perfect God, even if we aren’t so perfect.
Pastor Stephen Lakkis