Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Genesis 8:13-22 comments: evil from his youth

    13 ¶  And it came to pass in the six hundredth and first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, the waters were dried up from off the earth: and Noah removed the covering of the ark, and looked, and, behold, the face of the ground was dry. 14  And in the second month, on the seven and twentieth day of the month, was the earth dried.

    15 ¶  And God spake unto Noah, saying, 16  Go forth of the ark, thou, and thy wife, and thy sons, and thy sons’ wives with thee. 17  Bring forth with thee every living thing that is with thee, of all flesh, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth; that they may breed abundantly in the earth, and be fruitful, and multiply upon the earth. 18  And Noah went forth, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons’ wives with him: 19  Every beast, every creeping thing, and every fowl, and whatsoever creepeth upon the earth, after their kinds, went forth out of the ark.

    20 ¶  And Noah builded an altar unto the LORD; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. 21  And the LORD smelled a sweet savour; and the LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake; for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done. 22  While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.

Verse 13 contains a cross-reference to chapter 7, verse 11, where these events are linked to Noah’s age. As mentioned previously the earth is still drying out in one way or another.

God gives a command to Noah to leave the ark so there is no possibility of this small group of people trying to stay with the boat. They could use the material the ark was built from to make shelter, carrying what they could with them, and returning to get what they could not carry but they did have quite a few animals that could be used to carry burdens of material and whatever supplies were left.

Noah honors God with sacrifices of burnt offerings. Sacrificed animals represent God’s own sacrifice when He comes in the flesh as the Lord Jesus Christ. Animals, unlike human beings, do Gods will as part of their nature and act as agents of God’s plans throughout the Bible.

God responds to Noah’s sacrifices and makes a covenant with Himself, not dependent upon man’s participation or agreement, that considering that mankind is inherently evil He will, in any event, agree not to do two things First, he will no more curse the ground. The Bible says I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake and God says neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done. So, there are two things He says He will not do. He will no longer curse the ground and He will no longer destroy all life, or almost all life, as He had just done.

This brings to mind the curse of Genesis 3:17. Does this mean that the curse God laid on Adam for the difficult work that he would have in making the earth give up its bounty was now removed? It is more likely now that the curse on the ground is no blanket curse on the whole earth as farming is difficult to varying degrees with some places giving up their bounty rather easily and others being hard to make productive. Only about 10% of the world’s land area is suitable for agriculture.

God also promised not to destroy all life on earth. In stating this He made it necessary that the judgment at the end of the world must be curtailed so that He could keep this covenant with Himself.

Matthew 24:22  And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.

God agreed to this in spite of the fact that the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth.

There is an ideal that comes directly from the philosophers of the so-called Enlightenment which influence in some part resulted in racial slavery, one justification for imperial conquest, and the massive genocides of the 20th century that says that man is basically good and can be perfected. This concept ran all through the American religious impulse of the nineteenth century (1800’s), the age of great revivals and social movements. The belief in a man-created millennium of peace, prosperity, knowledge, and the fulfillment of man’s promise as a noble creature was one driving force of both religious and secular thought. Paternalism resulted in believing that one culture and race or ideology and religion must lead all of the others and the others had no choice but to follow them into this glorious era of man’s perfection.  This idea infected America’s Founding Fathers as it infects political policy today in dealing with welfare, law and order, education, and medicine among other areas of civic life, even parenting. However, the Bible makes it clear that this belief is simply wrong and much woe would have been avoided had the Bible been believed by our leaders and the people who follow them in blind obedience. The Bible says;

Jeremiah 10:23  O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.

Jeremiah 17:9  The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

And Jesus, speaking to His own disciples, said;

Matthew 7:11  If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?

God’s people are admonished;

Proverbs 3:5  Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6  In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

Along with understanding God’s sovereignty over all creation, even over all reality as underscored in the Book of Job, the understanding of mankind’s inherent shortcoming as a moral

agent will keep one from much confusion and heartache.

As long as the earth exists there will be seasons and day and night, as the rhythm of existence continues unabated. We do, however, await a new heavens and a new earth.

Isaiah 65:17  For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.

Isaiah 66:22  For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the LORD, so shall your seed and your name remain.

2Peter 3:13  Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.

Revelation 21:1  And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.

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