13 On that very day Noah and his sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth, together with his wife and the wives of his three sons, entered the ark. 14 They had with them every wild animal according to its kind, all livestock according to their kinds, every creature that moves along the ground according to its kind and every bird according to its kind, everything with wings. 15 Pairs of all creatures that have the breath of life in them came to Noah and entered the ark. 16 The animals going in were male and female of every living thing, as God had commanded Noah. Then the Lord shut him in.
Setting aside the logistical complications of cramming all those animals in one large ark, the story of God saving pairs of every animal is the stuff of a charming children’s story. Underneath all that however, is why God had to go to such extremes. Humanity messed up. Flooding the earth was collateral damage intended to solve the problem of sin.
Humanity has hardly improved. There was good in Noah, certainly. God saw Noah’s goodness, so God gave Noah and his family the opportunity to be the catalyst for a new beginning. But we know, looking back, that humanity is just as prone to making some bad choices now as they ever were before the flood. Our flaws are still there.
We can choose to be saddened by the great loss of life, both animal and human, that occurred in the flood. We can sorrow with God over our wrongfulness that made such a flood necessary. But we can also see God’s great love and mercy as God guided Noah by faith to build an ark in order to preserve a remnant of creation. God wants to redeem. God wants to save. God is a God of justice, certainly. Sin must be taken seriously. There must be a reckoning. But God loves us too much to allow justice to overtake love. That’s why in love God sent Jesus, to take us past the judgment and usher in grace.
We praise you, O God, for you love us enough to want us at our best. You keep challenging us, keep urging us to live out the potential you placed within us before we were even born. Forgive us when we fall short and make wrong decisions that hurt ourselves and others. Help us choose today to follow Jesus in all we do, to the glory of your name. Amen.