Gutted God | Genesis 6:5-9
The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. So the Lord said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them.” But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord. These are the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God. And Noah had three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth. Genesis 6:5-9 | ESV
“Gutted.” It’s the imagery evoked in Rob Lacey’s Word on the Street. As he describes it, to imagine being “gutted” we need to “imagine how a fish feels on having its guts torn out and you’re getting there…second thoughts, don’t. Too graphic.” But it was too graphic. It is too graphic. The divine survey of the human scene revealed the height and depth, the length and width of humanity’s corruption: the intensity and extent of evil (“great in the earth”); its inward penetration (“every imagination of the thoughts of his heart”); its absolute sway (“only evil”); its unrelenting expression (“only evil continually”). At least we can put down the paper. We can stay out of the loop by keeping our laptop closed, and refuse not to show our face on Facebook. But the Author of Life who sees each sparrow fall, who knows the number of our hairs, and who hears the cry of each drop of blood can’t shut it off. For a millennium. Or two. Or three. And they are butchering each other, building on the bones of each other, using each other, consuming, destroying, and raping at a mounting orgiastic fever pitch. Nearly every ancient culture in every corner of the world has a flood story, some citing motivations of the god or gods trying to reduce overpopulation or even just being tired of all the noise. The biblical flood narrative bears many unique marks, and one of them is here. God is not arbitrary or inconvenienced. He is gutted. He told us to be fruitful and multiply, but this wasn’t the exponential multiplication he had envisioned. He served notice – we give 30 days for erstwhile renters to get their act together or be evicted; God gave us 120 years. But still no relief as the Author of Life is drowning in a flood of blood and oppression. No comfort. No rest. No Sabbath from the slaughter…but wait. And God sees Noah (“Rest”) and, as it were, Noah breathes that rest right into the gutted heart of God. Two new words. Righteous. Blameless. As one scholar defines them, in these words we see a whole and complete “dynamic concern to bring about right and harmony for all [in physical and spiritual realms]…finding its basis in God’s rule of the world.” Noah didn’t just theorize about it; he embodied it. And in so doing, he became the new “Adam” in the dramatic “reboot” known as the Flood…
What practical steps can I take today to ensure my life is bring comfort, relief, and refreshment not only to those around me but to the heart of God himself? What does it mean for me to be “Noah” in my generation, here, now, in this time and place?
God, pull me out of the swirling, dark, violent mess of this culture, and make me an oasis of peace in the midst of it. If I am to reflect anything, let me reflect life, let me reflect peace, let me reflect you. Through Jesus.
For all of this week’s resources for this new series on Spiritual Disciplines including this week’s DG video, check out the Vineyard website.