JUDGEMENT DETERMINED UPON MAN
"My spirit shall not always strive with man" (Genesis 6:3).
Although the world was yet young, the population had greatly increased upon the earth by the time Noah was born. Very little is said in the Bible of Noah's father, Lamech. Of his grandfather, Methuselah, we find recorded that he reached the age of 969 years. Going back another generation, we learn of the great-grandfather of Noah. He was Enoch, the man who "pleased God" (Hebrews:11:5), "walked with God" (Genesis:5:22), and who was translated and did not die.
We are not told of the occupation of Enoch or how he lived. We are sure that he had his toil, his rest, his joys and sorrows. No doubt he did the commonplace things that men did then; he possibly lived in a tent, and provided for his family as a good father does. Every human life is really much the same, but the important thing is to walk "with God."
Suddenly, one day, Enoch disappeared; he slipped out of sight; he was there a moment ago -- now he is gone! God, with whom Enoch walked, put out His hand and took him to Himself. No doubt Noah had heard of the translation of Enoch, his "great grandfather, and amidst all the sin of Noah's day, he, too, "walked with God" (Genesis:6:9).
As time went on, the "sons of God" saw the beauty of the "daughters of men," which seems to indicate that they were more interested in their beauty than in their character.
"Man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart" (I Samuel:16:7). True beauty goes much deeper than that which meets the eye. In order to determine who is truly beautiful one should learn to know a person; beautiful clothes can never hide a sinful heart; paint cannot conceal the lines of sin -- in fact, it only exaggerates them; "make up" on the outside does not make up for that which is lacking within.
When the "sons of God" saw the beauty of these young women they perhaps did not stop to think that these idolatrous young women would, in turn, teach their children idolatry instead of the true worship of God. A godly mother in the home has always been God's richest gift to a child; godly fathers, too, have a great influence upon their children. However, it is usually the mother who moulds the character and influences the very young child.
God loves purity and holiness. He requires a separation of His own people from the world. "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers" (II Corinthians:6:14). This could apply to young people in the Gospel forming close friendships with sinners. "Evil communications corrupt good manners" (I Corinthians:15:33). Sometimes young people will even consider marrying someone who is not saved. For a Christian to marry one outside the Gospel is contrary to God's Word, and trouble and sorrow instead of happiness lie ahead for those who disobey God's Word.
If boys and girls find their friends among young people in the church who are truly saved, they can enjoy one another's friendship and avoid getting into trouble. If they mingle with unsaved ones by choice, it should be with the thought of winning them for Christ.
Who are your friends? Do you desire to associate only with those who wear fine clothes? Do you prefer to mingle only with boys and girls who live in beautiful homes and whose father drives a fine automobile? Or do you want friends who talk of the Lord and whose desire it is to be workers in the Gospel? Are your friends those who wear the "fine linen, clean and white," the righteousness of saints, and possess true beauty of soul?
We read that as the families of the earth increased, sin also increased. It seems as if large cities are often the scenes of sin and wickedness. When men forget God and commit deeds of evil, God's eye is fixed on them, and He still looks upon the earth as He did in the days of Noah. Men's hearts were very wicked; everything about them was sinful -- their thoughts and their desires were wicked -- not part of the time, but "continually." God's heart was grieved with the conditions in the world and He knew that sin would continue to increase, so He saw that the best thing to do was to wipe out all the wicked and give the world another opportunity to begin right. He said: "I will destroy man whom I have created . . . for it repenteth me that I have made them."
Walking with God
As the eyes of the Lord looked down upon the earth and saw that "all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth," God found one man who was perfect before Him, who was just, and who walked with God.
A boy in school or a soldier in the barracks can stand alone and be a Christian, but he must not yield to temptation even once, for if he does, fellowship with God is broken. One little sin separates him from God.
God told Noah: "The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them: and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth." "But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD." Those who walk with God here below, those whose hearts are perfect before God, need not fear the destruction that shall come upon sinners. We shall learn in a future lesson that when Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed, God spared the righteous people and did not destroy them with the wicked.
In a recent fire in the city of San Francisco, California, a young Christian mother and her three year old son escaped through a third-floor window without injury, and their apartment was not damaged by fire, water, or smoke. Among those who lost their lives were several who had cursed this young woman and mistreated her. The angel of the Lord had charge over this little Sunday School boy and his mother.
The Real and the Unreal
Let us remember that the present things are going to pass away. The things we touch with our fingers, see with our eyes, and hear with our ears, may seem all important and very real; the life beyond may seem faraway and unreal. But actually, it is the other way around. Let us not become blindfolded to the future. If necessary, let us, as it were, be blindfolded to the things around us and centre our thoughts on God. Let us think of Heaven and eternal things that He lie just ahead. It may be hard, amidst our work and our play, to keep in mind the all important thing -- to walk with God. When a mother leaves her child for a day or two, or a sister and brother are separated, or a lover is parted from his friend, they think of each other perhaps a thousand times a day. How often do we think of God during the day?
Jesus said: "As the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be" (Matthew:24:37). The world is in the same condition as it was in the days of Noah. And does it not seem as if God is looking down to try to find one righteous person -- one perfect man, woman, boy, or girl here, and another there, among the millions of sinners? In this land we have the Bible, the churches, ministers and teachers who can show people the way of salvation. Yet how few children or grownups are to be found who are "perfect before God." The Spirit of God is faithful to every one, and calls at the heart's door; but when people refuse and reject His mercy too long, He sends His judgement upon them and cuts them off in their sin. Soon He will send His judgement upon all sinners. “My spirit shall not always strive with man."
1. What two branches of descendants of Adam had been increasing upon the earth?
2. What godly ancestors did Noah have?
3. How did Noah compare with Enoch?
4. How do conditions in the world today compare with conditions in the days of Noah?
5. What hope was held out to Noah?
6. Do you think that God will destroy the righteous with the wicked when He sends judgement upon the earth?
7. Give three examples of the mercy of God toward those who fear Him.
8. What "signs" do we have of the soon coming of Jesus?