Sunday 30 September 2012

Read with me: Genesis 7

The waters of judgement

For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished.
2 Peter 3:5-6

Even as a kid (and a non-Christian), I had learned of Noah’s ark through cartoon story books depicting the flood as one big adventure - a floating zoo with jolly Noah as its captain. In reality, the flood is one of most devastating judgements of God in all the bible.

Here in Chapter 7, it is as if the floodwaters themselves come alive as an active agent of God’s judgement. The repeated chorus, “the waters prevailed... the waters prevailed...” could just as well describe an unstoppable military force overwhelming its opponent.

     [7:4] “For seven days I will send rain on the earth forty days and forty nights...”
     [7:6] “Noah (and his family) went into the ark to escape the waters of the flood.”
     [7:10] “After seven days the waters of the flood came upon the earth.”
     [7:11] “... all the fountains of the great deep burst forth...”
[7:12] “And rain fell...” (Waters above... and waters below)
It is worth recounting God’s act of separating the waters on the 2nd day of creation (Genesis 2:7). What is happening here is the reversal of that act.
     [7:17] “The flood continued forty days...”
“The waters increased and bore up the ark.”
     [7:18] “The waters prevailed and increased greatly...”
     [7:19] “The waters prevailed so mightily on the earth...”
     [7:20] “The waters prevailed above the mountains...”
     [7:23] “He blotted (washed away) every living thing... They were blotted out from the earth”
     [7:24] “And the waters prevailed on the earth 150 days.”

Yet, these same waters of judgement become God’s means of salvation. [7:17] “The waters increased and bore up the ark, and it rose high above the earth.”

The apostle Peter explains how Noah and his family were saved - not from - but through these waters. “... when God's patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water.” (1 Peter 3:20)

Where else in scripture do we see an agent of God’s judgement become the very source of our salvation?

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