To Noah, God said I will destroy the earth. But God had a plan to spare Noah and his family. Building an ark didn’t make sense and required years of hard work, but Noah obeyed God’s instructions and survived the great flood.
We applaud Noah for his obedience to God.
To Moses, God said I will destroy these people. He promised to make Moses into an even greater nation afterwards. If I were Moses, I’d readily receive God’s words, both getting rid of the people who continually caused him grief and the part about making Moses into a nation. But Moses didn’t accept what God said. Instead, Moses sought to change God’s mind – and he did.
We greatly admire Moses for his boldness.
May we obey like Noah and be bold like Moses.
After the Israelites left Egypt, God gave them a 40-year timeout in the desert. This was because of their lack of trust in his pledge to provide for them as they entered into the land he promised. This meant that what should have been an eleven day journey, ended up being a 40-year desert experience — which for most, literally lasted a lifetime.
While their desert sojourn was marked by complaining and disobedience, there were a couple of significant bookend events to their time of waiting.
First, they celebrated Passover for the first time just before they left Egypt to head to the desert. Then they celebrate it again, 40 years later after they leave the desert. The first Passover was marked by God’s provision for them to leave Egypt, while the subsequent ones were intended as a reminder of the first.
Second, two miracles occurred, allowing them to enter and later leave the desert. After leaving Egypt, and being pursued by its army, God parted the sea so they could escape attack and enter into the desert. Forty years later, when it was time to leave the desert, God parted the Jordan River — at flood stage — allowing them to leave.
So their desert experience began with Passover and the parting of the sea; it ended with the parting of another body of water and another Passover celebration.
[Leviticus 23, Joshua 5:10, Exodus 14:21, Joshua 4:18]
In the story of the great flood, God is distressed with man’s evil behavior. He decides that the only recourse is to destroy man and let civilization start anew. Unfortunately, in killing all the people by a flood, all the animals will also die (except for those saved by the ark).
This, of course, is not fair to the animals. They are taken out because of man’s mistakes.
There is an interesting parallel in this today. Man’s behavior is again threatening the lives of animals. This time man’s mistakes result in excessive economic gain and greedy prosperity at the expense of animal habitat.
God did give the earth to man, but to take care of it, not to exploit it.
[Genesis 6:5-8, Genesis 1:26]