Scripture: Genesis 6-9
A fungus spreads through tree roots across 2,200 acres in Oregon’s Malheur National Forest. It is estimated that this honey mushroom, spread throughout the forest, weighs a combined 7,567 to 35,000 tons, making it the largest living organism ever found. Popularly known as the honey mushroom, the Armillaria Ostoyae started from a single microscopic spore. Despite starting invisible to the naked eye, it’s been weaving its black shoestring filaments through the forest for an estimated 2,400 years, killing trees as it grows.
“When you’re on the ground, you don’t notice the pattern. You just see dead trees in clusters,” says Tina Dreisbach, a botanist and mycologist [botanist of fungi] with the U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest Research Station in Corvallis, Oregon.
Researchers found something that looks like white latex paint after digging into the roots of infected trees. These mats of mycelium look like brush-stroked pictures of tree roots themselves, and they draw water and carbohydrates from the tree to provide food for the fungus and, as a result, interfere with the tree’s absorption of nutrients. The shoestring filaments, called rhizomorphs, stretch as much as ten feet into the soil, invading tree roots through a combination of pressure and enzyme action.
Like this larger-than-life mushroom, sin began in a single act of disobedience in the garden but continued to spread, along with its effects throughout the human race. In Genesis 4, Cain murders Abel but even premeditated murder of the innocent isn’t as low as humanity can go; the Bible shows it continuing downward. Lamech, Cain’s great great great grandson, is said to have boasted about two sins, as seen in the second half of Genesis 4. Lamech is unashamed about having two wives (a detour from God’s intent, as seen in Genesis 2:24) and killing a man, though it seems like self-defense. We shouldn’t be surprised that humanity spiraled morally out of control like a helicopter that has lost its tail rotor because once sin entered the world through Adam, people inherited a bent toward sin. Acting towards that sinful bend instead of bending their wills to obey God’s instructions led to the pinnacle of God’s creation collectively spinning out of control as they willingly lost their moral tail rotor. Approximately 1,500 years passed between Adam’s sin and God revealing His plan to judge the world. It is hard to fathom just how far the same creation deemed “very good’ by God at the end of creation week had fallen since Adam and Eve’s initial rebellion in the garden.
The Lord observed the extent of human wickedness on the earth, and he saw that everything they thought or imagined was consistently and totally evil. 6 So the Lord was sorry he had ever made them and put them on the earth. It broke his heart. 7 And the Lord said, “I will wipe this human race I have created from the face of the earth. Yes, and I will destroy every living thing—all the people, the large animals, the small animals that scurry along the ground, and even the birds of the sky. I am sorry I ever made them.”
This paragraph teaches us much about sin. For starters, we see that because of Adam’s and Eve’s original act of disobedience, also known as the original sin, their offspring (all humanity) are creatures bent toward sin. God created Adam and Eve as morally-neutral beings, but through Adam’s sin, sin entered into the rest of the world, and as a result, every one of us as their descendants inherited a sin nature. In other words, we bend towards sin and act on this natural leaning (Romans 5:12, 16). Moses tells us that most of the human race had fully and willfully acted upon their sinful desires or bent.
Secondly, we see the complete hopelessness of man if left to our own and without the effects of God’s common grace. Because of original sin, we are empty of spiritual good before God. The term that describes this condition of fallen humanity is total depravity. Total depravity is the belief that Adam’s sin has affected every aspect of who we are. It is the doctrine that every part of our being has been affected by sin. The fall has affected our intellects, emotions and desires, hearts (the center of our desires and decision-making), goals and motives, and even physical bodies. Paul communicates this fact by sharing his struggle against sin in Romans 7:14-25.
And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t.
Paul’s description of himself when writing this letter to the church in Rome is also accurate about you, me, and everyone else, for that matter, as we look at another verse penned by the Holy Spirit through Paul in the same letter.
For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.
These two verses from Romans tell us that we are sinners by nature and by our actions and the description of the people living during Noah’s day provides a stunning picture of the type of world it would be if God left sinners’ rebellion unchecked.
Thought #1: People are sinners by nature and action (Genesis 6:5).
Thought #2: God will judge sin (Genesis 6:6-7).
I’ve tried to process the weight and scope of how great God’s grief was as a result of how far His once good creation and those made in His image had fallen, and I can’t. All I can say is that sin breaks God’s heart (Genesis 6:6). May you and I utter the prayer that, by His grace and Spirit, help us not to grieve His heart, which loves us abundantly. The other side of that statement is that God does care about our holiness (1 Peter 1:16) because He desires us to imitate Him (Ephesians 5:1), and He is holy (Leviticus 21:8). This truth leads us to another prayer for us to faithfully pray, Father help me to become more like your Son through the refining of your Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:18).
Because God is holy and cannot tolerate sin, there must be some way to judge offenses against Him (Psalm 51:4) and others (Amos 5:10-15). His holiness demands justice for sins that people commit. In Genesis 6:7, the Judge of all the earth (Genesis 18:25) renders his verdict on His wayward rebellious creation. In judgment, God decrees that He will flood the globe, destroying animal life and people. Yet God isn’t going to wad up His creation entirely and throw it into the trashcan like a frustrated artist, no, because not only is God a righteous and holy judge but a loving, gracious, and merciful redeemer!
Thought #3: God is Redeemer (Genesis 6:8-9, 14, 17-21).
But Noah found favor with the Lord. 9 This is the account of Noah and his family. Noah was a righteous man, the only blameless person living on earth at the time, and he walked in close fellowship with God.
In stark contrast to a world that went off the deep end in its wickedness, here lived a man who did not grieve the heart of God and even found favor with God as he lived his life in friendship with God. God did not owe Noah any of His gracious favor because of his righteous character and depth of relationship with Him compared to the rest of his contemporaries. God bestowed grace and blessing on Noah because He wanted to do so. God was about to fill Noah in on His plan for judgment on His creation and his plan for redeeming His creation. As mentioned earlier, God cares about our holiness. Noah’s holiness (not sinless perfection) had prepared him for his Master’s good work in this act of redemption history (Ezekiel 14:14, 20; 2 Timothy 2:21). Anyone who truly wants to be used by God must be pursuing holiness as Noah did. To pursue holiness is to behold and seek Christ, for we become what we behold (2 Corinthians 3:18). We must also realize that holiness is not the practice of living in sinless perfection but the practice of living in sin confession as we pursue Christlike replication. If we walk with the Lord, we will, like Noah, be clean and ready to be used by our Lord for every good work.
God’s task for Noah was to build an ark. God gave Noah instructions for constructing the ark, including specs. The ark would provide safety from God’s coming judgment on sin for Noah, his wife, his sons and their wives, and the animal kingdom. After receiving his God-sized task, Noah did everything exactly as God had commanded (Genesis 6:22). Once Noah had everything complete, the LORD told Noah to go into the boat with his family and the designated pairs of each animal (Genesis 7:1-5).
God is redeeming Noah and his family and the animal kingdom through one man’s obedience and a wooden boat. This historical example of Noah and the ark provides powerful connections of God redeeming all people through another man’s obedience, Christ Jesus, and a wooden cross (Philippians 2:5-8).
The Hebrew word translated “Go” in Genesis 7:1 means to “enter in” or “come in.” God invited Noah and his family into the ark for safety and deliverance from His judgment on sin. God graciously invites people into a relationship with Himself through faith in Jesus, His Son. By entering into this new relationship with God through faith in Jesus, we are protected from God’s judgment on our sins because Christ has experienced and satisfied God’s judgment for our sins on the cross.
If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved.
2 Corinthians 5:21
For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.
In Genesis 6:16, we see that the LORD’s blueprint for the ark had only one door on the side of the ark. Noah and his family only had one way into the ark for salvation from the coming flood. There is only one way or door to enter for everyone and anyone to escape God’s judgment on their sin, and Jesus claims to be that door in the Gospel of John.
John 10:9 (ESV)
I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.
In June of 2021, my family and I took a trip to Kentucky to visit the Creation Museum and to experience the Ark Encounter. As we traveled through the ark replica, we reached its massive wood door. If you look at the picture below, you will see a visible, though a faint, image of the cross on the door. The combination of the cross and the ark’s entrance reminds us that, like Noah and his family escaped God’s flooding judgment by entering the ark through the door by faith, we can experience rescuing from God’s judgment on our sin by entering the door (Jesus) through faith. When we hear God’s invitation to come to Him and respond favorably with repentance and belief, we begin a relationship with Him at that second that lasts for all eternity. Have you entered through the door (Jesus) who offers life abundantly now and forever? If not, why not? He invites you to enter into a relationship with Him. You can click on our picture below in front of the ark’s door to discover how to begin a relationship with Jesus today!
Memory Verse for Week 4
So Noah did everything exactly as God had commanded him.