Genesis 8: 21 The LORD smelled the pleasing aroma and said in his heart: “Never again will I curse the ground because of humans, even though every inclination of the human heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done.”
First, the elephant in the room. Yes this passage comes from the story of Noah and the worldwide flood. Yes, I believe that the account of Noah is more than just a fun story to tell children in Sunday School. I believe it’s more than just something to talk to my kids about when a rainbow appears in the sky. I believe it is truth. I do not pick and choose what parts of the Bible are convenient for me to believe. There are things in the scriptures that give me pause, make me ponder, things I struggle to even understand – but that doesn’t make them any less God’s word than the common sense “do unto others” parts. Deciding that parts of the Bible are fabricated, exaggerated or not possible, discounts the Bible as a whole. Partial belief makes the Bible just an interesting book, not the word of God. I believe the Bible to be fact, not historical fiction.
That being said, I’ve never really read the account of the flood as an adult. My understanding of it has been memories and remnants of things I saw on felt story boards as a child. It was interesting today to read the actual story from a Bible without illustrations. This passage struck me particularly hard, even more forcefully than verse 6 of chapter 6, which says the Lord regretted that He had made humans. Huh, God had a regret…us. Interesting. But back to this key verse from today.
I’ve had many conversations with people who say that humans are all basically good. I frequently use my children as examples to the contrary. It’s amazing once you have kids to watch them and realize they exhibit defiance, selfishness, pride, greed, malice and all sorts of bad behavior without ever being taught to do so. It’s totally natural. A part of the very fiber of their being. “No!” and “Mine” are some of the first words kids say. Inclination of evil personified. That’s kids for you.
I love being right. Oooops, look at that, pride. Seriously though, what I loved about this passage was God’s response to our heart’s desire for evil. He chose to have mercy on us, knowing that our propensity to sin would thrive even after the flood. After being filled with regret for even creating us, He made a promise to never again smite us from the face of the earth. He took away his own option to reformat (computer term meaning to wipe clean and start over) Earth ever again. He had every right to say “That was your last chance.”, and He didn’t. Amazing. I wonder if God ever regrets that promise? I dunno, but I’m glad to know that regardless of my evil heart’s desires – God loves me. I’m so thankful for His mercy and willingness to give us all a second chance, and third, and fourth. Chances we absolutely do not deserve, which God knows, but continually gives us one more anyway.