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Grace in Preparation for Judgment – Genesis 6:9-9:29

The story of Noah reveals the motion of grace in preparation for the coming judgment.  The grace is revealed in both the scenes of the story as well as the emotional response of God.  The seeds of grace are planted in God’s favor over Noah.  God’s anger over the wickedness of Man is footnoted by his favor with Noah.  His grace is gradually revealed through his specification over the ark and his protection of Noah, his family and creation.  Finally, when judgment begins to subside, grace becomes fully revealed and is further extended to all Man.  Once again, as it was when it was revealed to Noah, the rainbow, the revelation of God’s grace to all Man, is revealed in preparation of the coming judgment.

The Art will be visible once we have at least five pieces to show.

Genesis 6:9-9:29

New American Standard Bible (NASB)

These are the records of the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his time; Noah walked with God. 10 Noah became the father of three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

11 Now the earth was corrupt in the sight of God, and the earth was filled with violence. 12 God looked on the earth, and behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way upon the earth.

13 Then God said to Noah, “The end of all flesh has come before Me; for the earth is filled with violence because of them; and behold, I am about to destroy them with the earth. 14 Make for yourself an ark of gopher wood; you shall make the ark with rooms, and shall cover it inside and out with pitch. 15 This is how you shall make it: the length of the ark three hundred cubits, its breadth fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits. 16 You shall make a window for the ark, and finish it to a cubit from the top; and set the door of the ark in the side of it; you shall make it with lower, second, and third decks. 17 Behold, I, even I am bringing the flood of water upon the earth, to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life, from under heaven; everything that is on the earth shall perish. 18 But I will establish My covenant with you; and you shall enter the ark—you and your sons and your wife, and your sons’ wives with you. 19 And of every living thing of all flesh, you shall bring two of every kind into the ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female. 20 Of the birds after their kind, and of the animals after their kind, of every creeping thing of the ground after its kind, two of every kind will come to you to keep them alive. 21 As for you, take for yourself some of all food which is edible, and gather it to yourself; and it shall be for food for you and for them.” 22 Thus Noah did; according to all that God had commanded him, so he did.

Then the Lord said to Noah, “Enter the ark, you and all your household, for you alone I have seen to be righteous before Me in this time. You shall take with you of every clean animal by sevens, a male and his female; and of the animals that are not clean two, a male and his female; also of the birds of the sky, by sevens, male and female, to keep offspring alive on the face of all the earth. For after seven more days, I will send rain on the earth forty days and forty nights; and I will blot out from the face of the land every living thing that I have made.” Noah did according to all that the Lord had commanded him.

Now Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of water came upon the earth. Then Noah and his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives with him entered the ark because of the water of the flood. Of clean animals and animals that are not clean and birds and everything that creeps on the ground, there went into the ark to Noah by twos, male and female, as God had commanded Noah. 10 It came about after the seven days, that the water of the flood came upon the earth. 11 In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on the same day all the fountains of the great deep burst open, and the floodgates of the sky were opened. 12 The rain fell upon the earth for forty days and forty nights.

13 On the very same day Noah and Shem and Ham and Japheth, the sons of Noah, and Noah’s wife and the three wives of his sons with them, entered the ark, 14 they and every beast after its kind, and all the cattle after their kind, and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth after its kind, and every bird after its kind, all sorts of birds. 15 So they went into the ark to Noah, by twos of all flesh in which was the breath of life. 16 Those that entered, male and female of all flesh, entered as God had commanded him; and the Lord closed it behind him.

17 Then the flood came upon the earth for forty days, and the water increased and lifted up the ark, so that it rose above the earth. 18 The water prevailed and increased greatly upon the earth, and the ark floated on the surface of the water. 19 The water prevailed more and more upon the earth, so that all the high mountains everywhere under the heavens were covered. 20 The water prevailed fifteen cubits higher, and the mountains were covered. 21 All flesh that moved on the earth perished, birds and cattle and beasts and every swarming thing that swarms upon the earth, and all mankind; 22 of all that was on the dry land, all in whose nostrils was the breath of the spirit of life, died. 23 Thus He blotted out every living thing that was upon the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky, and they were blotted out from the earth; and only Noah was left, together with those that were with him in the ark. 24 The water prevailed upon the earth one hundred and fifty days.

But God remembered Noah and all the beasts and all the cattle that were with him in the ark; and God caused a wind to pass over the earth, and the water subsided. Also the fountains of the deep and the floodgates of the sky were closed, and the rain from the sky was restrained; and the water receded steadily from the earth, and at the end of one hundred and fifty days the water decreased. In the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, the ark rested upon the mountains of Ararat. The water decreased steadily until the tenth month; in the tenth month, on the first day of the month, the tops of the mountains became visible.

Then it came about at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made; and he sent out a raven, and it flew here and there until the water was dried up from the earth. Then he sent out a dove from him, to see if the water was abated from the face of the land; but the dove found no resting place for the sole of her foot, so she returned to him into the ark, for the water was on the surface of all the earth. Then he put out his hand and took her, and brought her into the ark to himself. 10 So he waited yet another seven days; and again he sent out the dove from the ark. 11 The dove came to him toward evening, and behold, in her beak was a freshly picked olive leaf. So Noah knew that the water was abated from the earth. 12 Then he waited yet another seven days, and sent out the dove; but she did not return to him again.

13 Now it came about in the six hundred and first year, in the first month, on the first of the month, the water was dried up from the earth. Then Noah removed the covering of the ark, and looked, and behold, the surface of the ground was dried up. 14 In the second month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, the earth was dry. 15 Then God spoke to Noah, saying, 16 “Go out of the ark, you and your wife and your sons and your sons’ wives with you. 17 Bring out with you every living thing of all flesh that is with you, birds and animals and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, that they may breed abundantly on the earth, and be fruitful and multiply on the earth.” 18 So Noah went out, and his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives with him. 19 Every beast, every creeping thing, and every bird, everything that moves on the earth, went out by their families from the ark.

20 Then Noah built an altar to the Lord, and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird and offered burnt offerings on the altar. 21 The Lord smelled the soothing aroma; and the Lord said to Himself, “I will never again curse the ground on account of man, for the intent of man’s heart is evil from his youth; and I will never again destroy every living thing, as I have done.

22 “While the earth remains,
Seedtime and harvest,
And cold and heat,
And summer and winter,
And day and night
Shall not cease.”

And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth. The fear of you and the terror of you will be on every beast of the earth and on every bird of the sky; with everything that creeps on the ground, and all the fish of the sea, into your hand they are given. Every moving thing that is alive shall be food for you; I give all to you, as I gave the green plant. Only you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood. Surely I will require your lifeblood; from every beast I will require it. And from every man, from every man’s brother I will require the life of man.

“Whoever sheds man’s blood,
By man his blood shall be shed,
For in the image of God
He made man.
“As for you, be fruitful and multiply;
Populate the earth abundantly and multiply in it.”

Then God spoke to Noah and to his sons with him, saying, “Now behold, I Myself do establish My covenant with you, and with your descendants after you; 10 and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the cattle, and every beast of the earth with you; of all that comes out of the ark, even every beast of the earth. 11 I establish My covenant with you; and all flesh shall never again be cut off by the water of the flood, neither shall there again be a flood to destroy the earth.” 12 God said, “This is the sign of the covenant which I am making between Me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all successive generations; 13 I set My bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a sign of a covenant between Me and the earth. 14 It shall come about, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow will be seen in the cloud, 15 and I will remember My covenant, which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and never again shall the water become a flood to destroy all flesh. 16 When the bow is in the cloud, then I will look upon it, to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” 17 And God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant which I have established between Me and all flesh that is on the earth.”

18 Now the sons of Noah who came out of the ark were Shem and Ham and Japheth; and Ham was the father of Canaan. 19 These three were the sons of Noah, and from these the whole earth was populated.

20 Then Noah began farming and planted a vineyard. 21 He drank of the wine and became drunk, and uncovered himself inside his tent. 22 Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brothers outside. 23 But Shem and Japheth took a garment and laid it upon both their shoulders and walked backward and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were turned away, so that they did not see their father’s nakedness. 24 When Noah awoke from his wine, he knew what his youngest son had done to him. 25 So he said,

“Cursed be Canaan;
A servant of servants
He shall be to his brothers.”

26 He also said,

“Blessed be the Lord,
The God of Shem;
And let Canaan be his servant.
27 “May God enlarge Japheth,
And let him dwell in the tents of Shem;
And let Canaan be his servant.”

28 Noah lived three hundred and fifty years after the flood. 29 So all the days of Noah were nine hundred and fifty years, and he died.

 

The Theme Explained

Before continuing, read the passage above and slowly let the images soak in.  Each image is someone’s personal expression of the theme.  Discover how the images reveal the theme from the passage.


The story of Noah is a story of grace supplied in preparation for the impending judgment.  From scene to scene as well as through God’s emotional journey conveyed by his actions and words, one can see that grace has been granted to protect Man from himself.

While many consider Gen. 6:1-8 as the introductory scene to this narrative, it is more or less the backdrop of the narrative.  It sets the stage.  And the stage is such that Man is in a descending spiral of wickedness.  At the end of this prologue, God reveals his grace to Noah, foreshadowing the grace he will reveal to the world.

The scenes of this narrative begin with verse 9 which present an interplay between judgment and grace.  The grace shown Noah is once again restated in verse 9 as he walks with God.  This grace is followed by the judgment upon Man due to his corruption.  Scene 2, the construction of the ark, illustrates God’s grace through the specificity and the planning given to Noah.  Noah is not told to go save himself from the coming destruction, but it is God who ensures that he is saved.  God’s grace upon Noah and creation is sealed with the covenant of verses 18-21.  Noah, having found God’s grace, is now the vehicle by which God reveals his grace to creation.  The same is evident in Noah’s entrance into the ark.  God is in control of the building of the ark as well as the securing of it.

Having given his grace in his protection of Noah and creation, God has prepared the world for the judgment which follows.  The judgment came, but Noah was protected.  The repetition of the prevailing waters and the destruction upon the earth highlight the degree of judgment which came due.

Yet, grace revealed itself once again.  Chapter 8 verse 1, the central turning point in the entire narrative begins the upward spiral that subsides the judgment and re-establishes grace.  The slow diminishing of the waters, the final resting on Mount Ararat, and the multiple attempts with the raven and the dove all attest to the gradual suppression of judgment and the persevering patience of grace.  The indication that it is God’s grace in control of this reversal is God’s command to open the ark and come out.  Noah had enough indication that he could come out, based on the experiments he conducted with the birds.  Verse 11 suggests that Noah himself know that he could exit the ark.  Yet, he waited for God’s command to exit.  The author is illustrating that, even though Noah was going to wait for God’s command, God showed him grace through the hope that came from the diminishing waters, the resting upon the mountain, and the experiments in finding dry land.  Finally, as God was the one who sealed Noah and creation within the ark, it is God who orders him to exit and replenish the earth.

The altar which Noah built and the sacrifice he offered were in response to the grace shown him.  In ironic reciprocation, God then delivers even greater grace.  Though Man is still unchanged in the wickedness of his heart, God makes a commitment to not allow the same judgment to happen again.  In addition, he provides a second covenant, made to Noah, but extending to all Man, symbolized by the rainbow.

Throughout all of these scenes, God’s emotion is evident.  While initially, his anger is seen in his condemnation of Man.  His love and care for Man is equally observed in the detail of his instructions to Noah in the building of the ark.  The establishment of the covenant to protect Noah and creation, balance God’s love for Man with God’s anger over Man’s wickedness.  God’s action in sealing the ark doors, ensuring Noah’s safety, offsets his opening of the waters above and below to allow the destruction of Man.  After the climactic 8:1, in which God remembers Noah, the emotional response to God is purely one of love and acceptance.  He not only directs Noah and the life within the ark to replenish the earth, but his joy over the offering is clear as is his joy in establishing a future covenantal protection for Man.

Thus, grace, first revealed to Noah, extended to creation has now been supplied for all Man.  Once again the cycle of evil is restarted with Noah and his sons.  The curse upon Ham, extending to Canaan, is symbolic of the evil that persists in all Man.  However, God’s grace is now given in the form of assurance that Man has that God will no longer allow their complete annihilation by flood.  The covenant, symbolized by the rainbow, represents God’s grace is extended to all Man in preparation for the eventual decline of Man due to his cycle of wickedness that stems from his heart.

The story of Noah reveals the motion of grace in preparation for the coming judgment.  The grace is revealed in both the scenes of the story as well as the emotional response of God.  The seeds of grace are planted in God’s favor over Noah.  God’s anger over the wickedness of Man is footnoted by his favor with Noah.  His grace is gradually revealed through his specification over the ark and his protection of Noah, his family and creation.  Finally, when judgment begins to subside, grace becomes fully revealed and is further extended to all Man.  Once again, as it was when it was revealed to Noah, the rainbow, the revelation of God’s grace to all Man, is revealed in preparation of the coming judgment.

 

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