Noah came on the scene during a time of great defilement on the earth. Since our day is also one of great defilement, this fact about Noah gives us reason to believe that the coming of Christ is not far off; for Christ said, "As the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be" (Matthew 24:37).
In our opening chapter on Noah, we begin with the situation in which Noah lived. It was not a world marked by high moral character, but it was a world dominated by wickedness. Noah lived a righteous life in spite of the defilement all around him. Noah's godly life tells us we cannot excuse our failures on the sinfulness of society around us, for it is possible to live a godly life even though all around you are ungodly people.
To study our text in more detail regarding the defilement of the world in which Noah lived, we will consider the period of the defilement (Genesis 6:1), the particulars of the defilement (Genesis 6:2, 4, 5), the perceiving of the defilement (Genesis 6:5), the patience about the defilement (Genesis 6:3), the pain over the defilement (Genesis 6:6), and the punishment for the defilement (Genesis 6:7).
In this introductory point, we note three features about this period of defilement. They are the patriarchs of the period, the population of the period, and the prominence of the period.
Here we take a look at the time element in regards to Noah and this defilement of the earth. During this time there lived some very famous men in the godly line of Seth. They were Enoch, Methuselah, and Lamech as well as Noah. By adding up the years in the list of obituaries in Genesis 5, the time of the flood (also referred to as the deluge) was approximately 1650 years after Adam came into existence by the creative act of God. Noah was born approximately 1000 years after Adam (he was 600 years old when the flood came [Genesis 7:6]). Methusaleh, the grandfather of Noah, who died the year the flood came, was born a bit less than 700 years after Adam which means that he could easily have known and conversed with Adam, for Adam did not die until Methusaleh was well over 200 years old. Noah's father Lamech could also have known Adam, for he was near sixty when Adam died. The years of the pre-flood patriarchs will help us access the date of the flood and the population of the world at the time of the flood which is our next point.
"It came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth" (Genesis 6:1). This is the period of time preceding the flood in which Noah lived. The phrase "It came to pass" means "not in immediate sequence to the preceding chapter [Genesis 5], but at some earlier point in the antediluvian period; perhaps about the time of Enoch" (Whitelaw) when the population was of such size as to result in a rapid increase.
One of the characteristics of the period was a population explosion. The reason for the great multiplication of the people at this time was that the population had grown to the extent that rapid multiplication of the earth's population would indeed occur. If you start out with pay at one cent a day and double your pay every day, by the end of the month your pay will be increasing greatly each day. So it is with population.
According to the book, The Genesis Flood, written by Dr. John C. Whitcomb, Jr. and Dr. Henry M. Morris, "the present rate of world population increase is... approximately 2 per cent per year." By computing the population of the earth during the pre-flood days at only 1.5 per cent, these men have come to the conclusion that the population of the earth at the time of the flood was approximately one billion people. This is a very conservative estimate and it could be much higher given the longevity of the people in the pre-flood period and that the per cent of increase used is only 1.5 percent per year. One billion was the population of the earth in 1850. This total of the population tells us that the people had spread over the whole face of the earth. Sometimes folk think of the flood as affecting just a local area and not a great deal of people. But a simple calculating of the population growth for 1600 years plus the report of our text of the great increase in the earth's population prior to the flood, and one has to conclude that the flood affected a tremendous multitude of people. Noah lived in a world that had a good size population indeed.
The population increase corresponded to the increase in wickedness, not surprisingly. One reason is that "where mankind comes to be of great numbers, somehow the places where they congregate together thickly become the scenes of development of evil on a greater scale" (Leupold).
"Daughters were born unto them" (Genesis 6:1). Obviously this does not mean that now daughters were being born as well as sons, for daughters had to be born all along or there would be no sons. "This fact [of the daughters] is mentioned as having a bearing upon the situation about to be described" (Leupold). What this statement does is to introduce the problem that is addressed in more detail in the succeeding verses. It is the problem of the prominence of the focus on girls in society. This problem does not mean girls are bad per se. It is speaking of the moral problem of the inordinate emphasis on girls.
Our generation certainly ought to understand this problem. It is evidenced in the girlie magazines, the abundance of pin-ups of immodestly dressed girls. Near the cash register of drug stores and groceries stores will generally be found the dirty magazine display. Almost without exception each of the magazines has a girl on the front cover who is dressed (or better to say, undressed) in very immodest apparel. The prominence of the girls in Noah's day was that of sex objects just as in our day. This problem was a major cause for the great defilement of the world in Noah's day, which is detailed in our next point.
The defilement upon the earth during Noah's day manifested itself in many different ways. Our Scripture text speaks of three general ways in which this defilement manifested itself. They are the evil in the marriages, might, and mind of the people.
"The sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair [beautiful]; and they took them wives of all which they chose" (Genesis 6:2). The evil in the marriages was twofold. It involved an evil criteria and an evil choice.
An evil criteria for marriage. "Saw the daughters of men that they were fair [beautiful]." There is nothing wrong with beauty—the wrong here is that the criteria for a marriage partner in Noah's time was mostly outward looks. If the girl had a pretty face and a provocative figure, that was whom the men wanted to marry. They did not care about spiritual qualifications or personality or other character factors—all they looked for was outward beauty. They were "guided by a love of merely sensual attractions" (Whitelaw). The inordinate focus on girls helped promote this evil criteria.
This criteria for marriage is very prominent today. Outward beauty is all that is considered by most men in selecting a wife. Hollywood emphasizes this criteria but they also unwittingly show its utter failure, for no one divorces more then Hollywood. If outward beauty was the secret to a good marriage, Hollywood would have a great marriage record. But they have the worst marriage record.
With the emphasis on outward beauty today in marriages, it is no wonder that divorce is so prominent. Outward beauty has its place, but it takes a lot more than a pretty face and a shapely figure to make a good wife. Many men, even many so-called Christian men, are learning this the hard way. And "when God's children lose sight of such basic distinctions [spiritual distinctions] and look about only for the pretty faces and the shapely forms then, surely degeneracy has set in" (Leupold).
An evil choice in marriage. "The sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose." The "sons of God" are those descendents of the godly line of Seth. The "daughters of men" are the descendents of the ungodly line of Cain. The statement does not mean only men of the godly line married the ungodly. But the statement simply illustrates the practice of the evil choice in marriage by the godly line. They married women of the world. To put it into today's language, they were guilty of the unequal yoke with unbelievers (II Corinthians 6:14). The inordinate emphasis on girls encouraged this practice. In principle these marriages were a break down of separation from the world by the godly line. It is the problem seen in our churches today, which want to be more and more like the world and abhor any preaching on separation from the world and worldly practices and philosophies.
Two evils cited in our text about the marriage practices of Noah's day (evil criteria and evil choice by believers in marrying unbelievers) simply say the marriages in Noah's day were not good marriages. And this means great problems for the moral strength of society. Marriage (including the home, and the family) is one of the great pillars of society. If this pillar is corrupted, society will be corrupted.
Our day has witnessed a great attack upon marriage. One attack has been divorce. It is very common even in our fundamental Bible-believing churches. Divorce is so acceptable that if a pastor takes a stand against divorce, he is likely to be voted out of the church. Another attack is in the efforts of evil legislators in trying to pass laws that permit men to marry men, and some legislators are trying to pass laws to permit a person to marry more than one person at a time. This defilement problem of bad marriages helped to bring upon the earth the judgment of the flood. The marriage problems of our day are ripening our world for another cataclysmic judgment from God.
"There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown" (Genesis 6:4). To examine this text about the evil in the might which was part of the defilement of Noah's day, we will note the defining of the mighty, the defilement in the might, and the dignifying of the mighty.
The defining of the mighty. The translation of our text (Genesis 6:4) has led to much confusion. It has led to the belief that the marriage of the ungodly with the godly had produced an offspring that "were... men of renown." Some, who believe the "sons of God" were demons, tell us that the offspring of demons and human women produced a monstrosity of a creature, a "giant" etc. That is not what the text is saying at all, though some English translations make it appear to say that. But that is not what the Hebrew says. Leupold translates it, "The Nephilim [translated giants in the KJV] were in the earth in those days and also afterwards when the sons of God went in unto the daughters of men and they bore unto them. They [that is the Nephilim] were the heroes, which in olden days were renowned men." The mighty were the Nephilim, and they ("the same" of the KJV—not the offspring of the sons of God and daughters of men) were the heroes, the men of renown in those days. The insertion in the middle of the verse simply says that after the Nephilim ("giants") already existed, the sons of God and daughters of men bore children. The insertion is a time designation. But it is difficult for the English language to translate it clearly.
The defilement in the might. "Giants." Leupold says, "The translation 'giants' is most unfortunate. It originated with the Septuagint... the unfortunate thing about this mistranslation is that it directs attention away from the moral issue... to a physical one." These "Nephilim" were "tyrants" (Luther), whose might was in violence not their physical size. "They achieved a reputation the world over by their violence" (Leupold). They were the Hitlers and Stalins and Saddam Husseins of that day whose gross evil was their great characteristic. They were "giants" in violence, in destruction, in cruelty, and in the bloodiness of their conquering.
The dignifying of the mighty. "Men of renown." These violent, cruel, bloody men were the heroes of the day. They were the men to whom the populace gave its accolades. We should not have any trouble understanding that horrible situation. Hitler, the butcher of Germany, was the darling of the people. The crowds applauded this monster of evil. In spite of his great evil, he rode on a crest of popularity that was broken only by the utter defeat of the German armies. Stalin was also popular though he butchered millions; and the Japanese emperor, Hirohito, was worshiped as god though he allowed the great cruelties of the Japanese army to go on unabated.
Who our heroes are says much about our character. The heroes of our day in our land are generally people who have very little character. Immoral Hollywood stars and starlets, the child molesting Michael Jackson, the immoral athletic stars whose off-the-field performances are that of despicable morals and violence—they are the heroes of our young people. Such heroes only corrupt the multitudes. When you dignify evil you destroy society. This was a major problem in Noah's day which resulted in the awful judgment of the flood. "The world certainly did not in those days, even as it does not now, esteem godly men highly. Only the wicked were renowned" (Leupold).
"Every imagination of the thoughts of the heart was only evil continually" (Genesis 6:5). A third evil which plagued Noah's age was a corrupt mind. Noah's day was characterized by evil thoughts. With the inordinate emphasis on girls, it is not surprising that the people's minds were in the gutter. This was one of the major problems of defilement in Noah's day, which resulted in great judgment coming upon the earth. Thus our country is ripe for judgment because its thought life is also very vile. The minds of people today are "gutter minds" morally.
To examine this evil mind of Noah's day, we note the effect and the extent of the evil mind.
The effect of the evil mind. "Thoughts of his heart was only evil." People have a tendency to play down the effect of one's thoughts. It is what you do that counts these folks will say. Yet, what we do is a product of what we think. We are what we think even if we are not what we think we are. "As he thinketh in his heart, so is he" (Proverbs 23:7). Our thought life is the foundation of our conduct. You are a product of what you think. Someone has said, sow a thought and reap an act; sow an act and reap a habit; sow a habit and reap a character; sow a character and reap a destiny—it all begins with the thought life. Guard your thought life; fight for clean, correct thinking for your character depends on it. The devil has had a field day in corrupting our minds. TV generates more evil thoughts among mankind than any other medium. When Christ gave a list of the vile evils that come out of man (such as adulteries, fornication, murders, thefts, lasciviousness, pride, etc.), He started with "evil thoughts" (Mark 7:21). If the thought life is corrupted, the devil can corrupt that person anywhere else very easily.
The extent of the evil mind. "Every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." The evil of the mind of the people of Noah's day was completely evil. It was "every" thought and imagination. It was evil "continually." This is not a description of people who have a bad thought once in a while, but it is a description of people whose mind is in the gutter 24 hours of the day. This is not a temporary situation, but a perpetual situation.
If you have any contact at all with society today, you will quickly observe that people's minds are utterly filthy. In fact, the dirty mind dominates. It is a rare thing to meet up with someone whose mind is not in the gutter. When one opens his mouth, he betrays his thoughts. So when filth comes out of the mouth of a person, you know what their mind is like.
The evil in Noah's day did not go unnoticed by God. To examine this perceiving of the defilement by God, we note the awareness in the perceiving and the assessment in the perceiving.
"And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth" (Genesis 6:5). Good people often grieve over evil and wonder if God sees it. It seems at times that evil is in control of the world and that God is unaware of what is going on. But such is not the case at all. In Noah's day, God knew exactly what was going on; and in our day, God is aware of every deed and every thought and every word of every person.
God is omniscient and therefore the Psalmist could say, "O Lord... Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off... and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O Lord, thou knowest it altogether" (Psalm 139:1-4). The omniscience of God was also emphasized when Jesus said, "Every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment" (Matthew 12:36). God is aware of everything we do. We hide nothing from Him. Only the fool thinks he can keep his sins from detection.
"God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth" (Genesis 6:5). Here is a twofold assessment. In God's assessment of man's conduct there was the awfulness of the deeds and the amount of the deeds.
The awfulness of the deeds. "Wickedness." What God saw He called "wickedness." Many would be the men in Noah's day who would not describe their defiled deportment as wickedness. Our day has a host of people who can say nice things about awful things. They call sin by such names as free love, culture, life style, situation ethics and the like. Homosexuality is made legal by the laws of the land and so is bloody abortion. But man's laws do not determine right and wrong before God. Homosexuality is an "abomination" (Leviticus 18:22) before God and abortion is murder no matter how many nice names the liberals give it.
The amount of the deeds. "Great." The word translated "great" indicates "much in amount" (Baker and Carpenter). Man habitually likes to play down the amount of sin that exists. Politicians, as an example, have resorted to clever schemes to reduce the amount of crime in society by redefining what counts as a crime. Then they can boast that crime is down. But God does not count that way. He counts according to facts. Noah's day and our day have evil abounding in amount.
God's patience (which is simply God's grace) is most evident in our text. To examine this patience, we will note the warning in the patience and the waiting in the patience.
"And the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh; yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years" (Genesis 6:3). Though God "saw the wickedness of man was great in the earth..." (Genesis 6:5), He exercised much grace in dealing with the wickedness. This does not compromise God's character, but shows His compassion to give men ample warning to repent of their sin.
We note two important things about this warning. They are the ceasing in the warning and the cause of the warning.
The ceasing in the warning. "My spirit shall not always strive with man." God has much patience with evil men. God will plead and plead with people to change their ways before He will bring judgment upon them. He gives men ample warnings to confess and forsake sin and thus avoid judgment. But if men continually reject God's warnings, they will then experience some serious consequences. If men continue to harden their hearts to the gracious pleading of God, He will one day stop His pleading and let men go headlong and unhindered in their sinful ways and thus experience great judgment and a fiery eternity.
Paul also warned of this peril. In the first chapter of Romans, Paul warned the saints in Rome three times of the end of God's patience. "God also gave them up" (Romans 1:24); "God gave them up" (Romans 1:26); "God gave them over" (Romans 1:28). When you continue in your sin remember, "My spirit shall not always strive with man" (Genesis 6:3).
The cause of the warning. "For that he also is flesh" (Genesis 6:3). The reason God warned the people in Noah's time of the limit of His patience was that men had corrupted their ways so much that they were nothing but flesh. The "flesh" in our verse is not speaking of physical flesh but flesh in contrast to spirit (Romans 8:1, 5), flesh as in carnality (Romans 8:5-8), and flesh as in fleshly appetites in contrast to spiritual appetites. Paul said those living fleshly lives cannot please God (Romans 8:8). Men in Noah's day were given up to the flesh, therefore judgment in the form of the flood came and destroyed them. That surely warns our age; for if there is one word that describes our age, it is "flesh." And "if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die [spiritual death—hell]" (Romans 8:13).
"Yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years" (Genesis 6:3). Here God says how long He will wait on Noah's generation to repent. To examine this waiting in the patience, we note the period of the waiting and the privileges in the waiting.
The period of the waiting. "An hundred and twenty years." When God made this announcement, it was one hundred and twenty years before the coming of the flood. Noah was, therefore, 480 years old. According to Genesis 5:32, Shem, Ham, and Japheth had not yet been born. God would give the people 120 years to repent of their sin and escape the flood. One hundred twenty years is a lot of time. In our day, no one lives that long. Thus for our day, it was more than a lifetime. All of this says God was indeed demonstrating much grace in this period of waiting. But just because He gives some sinners a 120 years to repent does not mean He will give you that long. You may not have even a 120 days or hours or minutes to repent. Do not use the grace of God to procrastinate your repentance. That is abusing the grace of God and brings judgment with dispatch.
The privileges in the waiting. God gave the people of the world great spiritual privileges, during those 120 years of waiting, to encourage their repentance. "Men in general possessed no small amount of light even in the days before the flood" (Pink). The spiritual privileges of the world in Noah's day consisted of such great blessings as the witness of Noah's preaching, the witness of Noah's building, the witness of the sacrifices, and the witness of the Spirit. Thus when the flood came, sinners had no excuse for their failure to repent and go into the ark of safety. They knew the truth. God had given them much opportunity to know the truth, but they had simply rejected their spiritual opportunities and privileges. And rejecting your spiritual privileges only adds to the severity of your judgment.
First, witness of Noah's preaching. "Noah... a preacher of righteousness" (II Peter 2:5). Noah preached righteousness (which means he preached against sin). Yet in spite of that great preaching, only eight people responded positively and got in the ark for safety from the flood (1 Peter 3:20). Yes, some could have been "converted" and died before the flood came; but Scripture emphasizes the fewness of Noah's converts. "Why was it that Noah was so signally unsuccessful as a preacher? Was it because it was righteousness that he preached? That may very will have been it; for so far as my own experience goes, righteousness is the one thing that our hearers will not have at our hands. All other kinds of preaching—polemical preaching, apologetical preaching, historical and biographical preaching, sacramental preaching, evangelical preaching—some of our people will welcome, and will indeed demand; but they will all agree in refusing and resenting the preaching of righteousness" (Alexander Whyte). Noah did not use carnal promotional techniques to gain "numbers" as many do today. He simply preached righteousness, though it was rejected and despised. It is not "how many" but "our message" that God is concerned about in our preaching. It is our faithfulness to preach righteousness at all times that matters. You may be lamenting the fact of few conversions in your ministry, but "the Christian witness must never grow tired of working without results" (Barnhouse). Be faithful to the message regardless of the reception to it.
Second, the witness of Noah's building. Not only did Noah preach with his lips, but he also preached with his life when he built the ark. "Not only did Noah preach his best and his most earnest as the end drew near... but every tree that fell in the forest, and every plank that was laid in the ark; every axe-stroke and echo of every hammer was a louder and ever louder call to men of that corrupt and violent day to flee from the wrath to come" (Whyte). But men rejected Noah's witness of building as well as his witness of preaching. If Noah hired men to help build the ark, they ignored the ark-witness to their eternal damnation. Close to the message, yet they rejected it. Today many are close to the witness of the church—builders of the buildings, printers of Christian books, and many church members and officers who hear the message frequently—yet reject it to their eternal doom. Privilege does not guarantee conversion.
Third, the witness of the sacrifices. From the time of the sin of Adam and Eve, sacrifices were instituted by God to show a sinful people they needed to have their sins atoned for by the blood of a sacrifice (a foreshadowing of the great Redeemer, Jesus Christ). Cain and Abel were acquainted with blood sacrifices; and these sacrifices were not unknown in Noah's day; for when the ark landed and Noah disembarked from the ark, Noah made an altar on which to offer sacrifices. So the witness of the sacrifices was present and sent a message to the people.
Fourth, the witness of the Spirit. This would be the greatest, most powerful witness of all. As we noted earlier, the Holy Spirit would plead with sinful man to repent of his sin and turn unto righteousness and head to the ark for safety from the judgment of the storm. This pleading by the Spirit with the souls of men is such an important witness. "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit" (1 Corinthians 2:9, 10). But this great Divine witness was rejected by the multitudes to their damnation. What great privileges and opportunities the people had in those last 120 years before the flood to repent and gain the safety of the ark. But only eight souls took advantage of these great spiritual privileges.
"It repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart" (Genesis 6:6). This defilement caused pain for God. To examine this pain, we note the adjustment from the pain and the agony in the pain.
"It repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth" (Genesis 6:6). The defilement on the earth resulted in an adjustment of God's actions towards mankind on the earth. This is seen in the word "repenteth."
The word translated "repenteth" has caused a lot of misunderstanding for Bible readers when it is so translated regarding God in our English translations. The Hebrew word translated "repented" is found over one hundred times in the Old Testament. It is translated "repent" or a similar repent word over forty times (such as in our text) and "comfort" or a similar comfort word over 60 times (such as "comfort ye, comfort ye" in Isaiah 40:1). The difficulty regarding the translating of the word "repent" when it speaks of God is twofold. First, Scripture says God does not repent (1 Samuel 15:29). Second, we associate repentance with sinners repenting of sin. How can God repent since He is without sin? The answer to these difficulties is that the meaning of the Hebrew word not only includes comfort but also "a change of heart or disposition, a change of mind, a change of purpose or a change of one's conduct" (Baker & Carpenter). When Scripture speaks of God's repenting, it is speaking anthropomorphically, which is a big word that says you are assigning to something unhuman a human attribute in order to explain the conduct of that which is unhuman—such as, Scripture speaks of God's hands and feet, etc. Furthermore, repentance in reference to God is like saying the sun sets and rises when it does no such thing but to the person on earth it looks like that is what it is doing. God's repenting here is the adjusting of God's conduct towards men because of men's sin. No longer will benevolence be God's conduct towards men but judgment will be His conduct. The word "repented" in our verse simply means that God's conduct towards men now reflects a change not because God is changeable (He is immutable) but because men have sinned and thus changed their position before God.
"It grieved him at his heart" (Genesis 6:6). The meaning of the Hebrew word translated "grieved" involves being sorrowful and suffering pain. God was hurt by all of this sin in Noah's day. Sin always brings pain and hurt. It may give some short-lived pleasure (Hebrews 11:25), but the end result of sin is always pain—and it hurts others as well as the sinner. And the worst thing it does is hurt God. When you sin, you cause God pain.
The defilement conditions in Noah's day would cause a lot of sorrow, not only in God's heart but in the heart of others. As an example, all the marriage messes in Noah's day would really cause sorrow for the world. In our day divorce is so common and it causes so much sorrow. One gets quite disgusted with the psychologists and other "shrinks" who tell us we must be kind to divorced people because they are hurting. Yes, but what about the people they hurt who had nothing to say about the divorce. It is not the divorced people who need our sympathy, but rather it is the children and relatives and others who are hurt by the divorced people. Divorced people get divorced because of hard hearts (Matthew 19:8). They get divorced even though they know it will hurt a multitude of other people. It is not us who need to be scolded into being sympathetic to the divorced people because they are hurting, rather it is the divorced people who need to be scolded into being sympathetic to others whom they have hurt and could have avoided hurting if they had not gotten their divorce. Sin hurts mankind. Society is in great pain because of sin. In fact Paul tells us that all creation is in pain because of sin (Romans 8:22).
"And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them" (Genesis 6:7). God is a holy God and, therefore, all sin will be punished. Grace does not eliminate punishment. Grace only gives time for the sinner to repent so that the punishment will not fall on the sinner but on the sacrifice (which is Christ—the sacrifices pointed to Christ).
While the method of punishment for the people in Noah's day was the great flood, which we will note more about in a later chapter, here we simply note some general details regarding the punishment as they are specified in our text. They concern the sentiment in the punishment, the severity of the punishment, the scope of the punishment, and the sureness of the punishment.
"The Lord said, I will destroy man" (Genesis 6:7). This statement says that sin upsets God. It always upsets God. This fact ought to cause every person to stop sinning. The last thing we want to do is to get God upset about our conduct. That can get you in the biggest trouble of all.
Unfortunately, sin does not upset mankind very much. When cities and states vote on gambling and other evils, they eventually pass because not enough people are upset about sin to oppose it. Voters elect to office wicked men who advocate legalizing various sins. The same is true in the church. Church members are not very upset about sin in the church. They will vote into membership people who are living in sin. They will elect members to church office who are living in sin. And they will approve of music and other things going on in the church and church services that are sinful. One of the best things that could happen to our land is for men to become upset about sin. A church, government official, ruler, or legislative body can do much good for a land by just being upset about sin.
"I will destroy." This punishment is no trivial slap on the wrist. It is severe. "Destroy" is a very strong word. Warren Baker defines it as, "Wipe off; to blot out... be removed, be effaced; to be destroyed." Thomas Whitelaw in The Pulpit Commentary says, "I will destroy" means "Literally blot or wipe out by washing." Leupold translates it "wipe out" and says, "The gravity of the situation is made apparent by the severity of the divine resolution: 'I will wipe out mankind.'" As we will learn, when we study the effects of the flood upon man, everyone that was not in the ark perished. Over a billion people, or even more, died as a result of the flood. That ought to stop all laughing about sin.
"I will destroy... both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air." The only thing not included here is fish, for they could survive the flood waters. The judgment that would come upon the earth because of the sin problem was going to affect a lot more than just humans. It was going to destroy animal life, too.
The destruction of the animals says that the environment problem is a sin problem, not a science problem. Some today are pretty concerned about the environment, but we do not hear them talking about sin. The earth's environment was drastically changed as a result of the flood, and the flood was a result of sin. If you want to improve the environment, get rid of sin. You will not do much of value for the ecology if you do not address the sin problem.
"The Lord said, I will destroy." When God says, "I will" it is as good as done. God's Word does not fail. Men may laugh at judgment, and the people of Noah's day doubtless had many crude jokes about Noah's preaching and ark building. But the laughing stopped when the flood came, for a Divine "I will" is no joke. It is a certainty.
God's Word merits respect. Isaiah said, "The grass withereth, the flower fadeth; but the word of our God shall stand forever" (Isaiah 40:8). God said through Isaiah, "It [God's Word] shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it" (Isaiah 55:11). Jesus spoke of the sureness of God's Word when He said, "Heaven and earth shall pass away; but my words shall not pass away" (Mark 13:31). We like to speak about the sureness of God's Word when it comes to Divine promises, but many are reluctant to speak about the sureness of the Word when it comes to Divine punishment.
The judgment of the flood came upon man because of sin and so will the judgment of fire promised in the New Testament. "The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up" (II Peter 3:10). Look around you and observe and then remember that the Scripture says all these things will one day be burned up by the judgment of God because of man's sin.