Scripture: Genesis 6:5-8; 7:1-5
5 The LORD saw how great the wickedness of the human
race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. 6 The LORD regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled. 7 So the LORD said, “I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created—and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground—for I regret that I have made them.” 8 But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD.
1 The LORD then said to Noah, “Go into the ark, you and your whole family, because I have found you righteous in this generation. 2 Take with you seven pairs of every kind of clean animal, a male and its mate, and one pair of every kind of unclean animal, a male and its mate, 3 and also seven pairs of every kind of bird, male and female, to keep their various kinds alive throughout the earth. 4 Seven days from now I will send rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights, and I will wipe from the face of the earth every living creature I have made.”
5 And Noah did all that the LORD commanded him.
On a side note, we mentioned in the introduction to these devotionals concerning the forty days of Lent and how we arrived at this number. As you might suspect, there is significance in the observance of the number forty. There are many, many forty day or forty-year periods in the Scriptures. There is the forty days of rain with Noah and the Flood. There is Moses’ and Elijah’s forty days and nights on the mountain of the Lord or the Israelites’ forty years in the wilderness or Jesus’ temptation. There are many other examples we could point to. What is the common thread in all these accounts? Whether it is days or years, this time frame is often associated with a period of probation, trial, and/or chastisement of a people in covenant relationship with God.
What touches me most in the above Scripture is “The LORD regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled.” Another example deeply troubling to God would be when he wanted to wipe out the Israelites and start all over and Moses persuaded God to act differently. (Deut 9:13-14) God has emotions. Our behavior affects our Creator. You and I can cause God regret or sorrow, he is not indifferent to us. Notice once again how very personal God is to individual people throughout the Scriptures. His deep individual concern does not change just because you and I are not in the Scriptures. Let our obedience in these forty days bring him joy not regret.
As people with whom God has made a new covenant, how can we best benefit from our forty days of Lent? Let us each make a concerted effort to listen to the Lord letting him show us what needs attention. Are there places where we need to die to self? Is there an old grudge we need to let go of? Is there a habit that needs to be jettisoned? Ask him to show you. He will. Can you let go of that returning worry and trust God for his resolution in his time? Take some quiet time each of these days and listen for the voice of the Holy Spirit.
Music: “O Breath of Life” Emu Music
Prayer: Almighty and everlasting God, although you hate nothing that you have made, your creation may still cause you grief. So, forgive the sins of all those who are penitent. Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that, lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, we may receive from you, the God of all mercy, perfect forgiveness, and peace through Jesus Christ our Lord. And may the transforming power of the Holy Spirit in our lives bring you joy upon joy. Amen. –Thomas Cranmer, 1489-1556 adapted Daniel Sharp