One of the jaw-droppers in Scripture has always been the length of time that men used to live. When Adam and Eve sinned, part of their punishment, and ours, was mortality—lives numbered in years. But they lived many years—hundreds, in fact. For man to live forever in sin, and to suffer forever the consequences of his sin, was not God’s plan. So He took away that possibility by ousting mankind out of the garden and away from the tree that represented immortality (Genesis 3:22-24). But He allowed men and women the time needed to populate the earth and the time to consider their sinful state and do something about it. But by the time we get to Noah’s day, bad choices had been made on a global scale.
“The Lord saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time” (Genesis 6:5).
Noah seemed to be the only exception (6:8), Like his forebear, Enoch (5:24), Noah walked with God.
God’s statement in verse 3 is a solemn reminder that God will only tolerate the evil of man for so long. Whenever death comes, whether that arrives sooner or later, there will come an end to God’s fight for the soul. During Noah’s day that moment in time had come.
We understand that God has promised Noah that He would never again destroy the earth with a flood (Genesis 8:21) despite the continuing sinfulness of mankind. But we live with the constant reminder that there is coming another day of reckoning. Jesus warned His disciples about that day in Matthew 24. The book of Revelation describes it in horrible detail. His Spirit will someday cease to “contend” with ours.
I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of my sin. I’m tired of everyone else’s. But I wonder just how tired God is of mine and everyone else’s. Genesis 6:6 says that God was “grieved” and that, “his heart was filled with pain” because of the wickedness He saw. My sin, and yours, fills God’s heart with pain. Unhappily that doesn’t seem to stop me, or you, from doing those those things which cause that pain.
And I wonder when He will decide that it’s enough.
P.S. The photo attached to this post is an embroidery design—a telling statement about the evil in our hearts when we want to record it in embroidery floss.