The Greatest Gift
Reading Selection for December 4th
Genesis 6:6-8 (NLT) – “ 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.’ 8 But Noah found favor with the Lord.”
Put yourself in Noah’s sandals for a moment. Imagine living in a world where man has become so evil that God is sorry He created him (and her). The Creator, the One who had created an entire world to express the essence of Himself, Love, was so sorry He had made man that He was willing to destroy them. If the state of the world was heartbreaking for God, think how hard it must have been on Noah to live in the middle of it every single day.
But Noah found favor with God. The Hebrew word for favor has in its root the idea of God bending, stooping in kindness, extending Himself to man. God came down to Noah and extended Himself out of Love and compassion to Noah.
Do you know what the favor of God looked like to the human eye? It looked a whole lot like Noah’s circumstances went from bad to worse. When God flooded the earth with His grief over sin, Noah’s human frame was caught right there in the midst of it. He had a front row seat for the destruction of humanity (except for the handful of family on the ark). And while it rained for forty days and forty nights it appears from Scripture he was cocooned in that ark for a lot longer than that…maybe about a year. Let me remind you, he was in that ark with a remnant of animals and a remnant of people (given evidence after the flood, the remnant of people didn’t seem to be of stellar character). Five minutes after God closed the door on the ark I would’ve have been climbing the walls!
I don’t know about you, but if I had been in Noah’s position I might have really struggled with the idea of what it means to have the favor of God. But that’s what happens when we judge eternity by our circumstances. Life viewed from our position on this spinning globe does not afford us the correct position to judge our circumstances as good or bad.
As bad as things looked, Noah couldn’t have been in a better position or safer hands, even though it literally looked like his world was falling apart with the rocking of that ark. Day after day on that boat, with every rise and crest of a wave, he probably felt like he was coming unglued. And if you’ve ever spent even a brief time in tight quarters with your family in a stressful situation, you know he wasn’t the only one coming unglued.
But having the favor of God, having God come stoop right down to his human level wasn’t about his circumstances. It was about a relationship with the living God IN his circumstances. It was experiencing a new level of trust and belief in the only sure and safe thing there is, the God who is Love.
On this side of the cross of Jesus Christ, we have the favor of God and we miss the point when we waste time judging the good and bad in our lives. Right now in the middle of where you are, can you throw wide your arms, letting go of expectations and outcomes in a fallen world, and simply receive Love Himself? Can you trust Him implicitly even if your circumstances never change or, like Noah, actually get worse? Can you simply trust He’s coming for your heart in EVERY. SINGLE. THING. that comes your way? He’s bending low, stooping down, bringing all of Himself to you right this very minute.