6 When human beings began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them, 2 the sons of God saw that the daughters of humans were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose.3 Then the Lord said, “My Spirit will not contend with humans forever, for they are mortal; their days will be a hundred and twenty years.”
4 The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went to the daughters of humans and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown.
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.
9 This is the account of Noah and his family.
Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God. 10 Noah had three sons: Shem, Ham and Japheth.
11 Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight and was full of violence.12 God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways. 13 So God said to Noah, “I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth. 14 So make yourself an ark of cypress wood; make rooms in it and coat it with pitch inside and out. 15 This is how you are to build it: The ark is to be three hundred cubits long, fifty cubits wide and thirty cubits high. 16 Make a roof for it, leaving below the roof an opening one cubit high all around.Put a door in the side of the ark and make lower, middle and upper decks. 17 I am going to bring floodwaters on the earth to destroy all life under the heavens, every creature that has the breath of life in it. Everything on earth will perish. 18 But I will establish my covenant with you, and you will enter the ark—you and your sons and your wife and your sons’ wives with you. 19 You are to bring into the ark two of all living creatures, male and female, to keep them alive with you. 20 Two of every kind of bird, of every kind of animal and of every kind of creature that moves along the ground will come to you to be kept alive. 21 You are to take every kind of food that is to be eaten and store it away as food for you and for them.”
22 Noah did everything just as God commanded him.
(Genesis 6:1-22 NIV)
As we move into Genesis chapter 6, Moses continues on with his story of humanity. In chapter 6, we see another first – the sadness of God.
In chapter 5, Moses gave the genealogy from Adam to Noah, listing the families that honored God and passed on their legacy of faith to the next generation, such as Seth. There were obviously many other children that did not pass along that legacy, such as Cain and others who chose not to walk with the Lord.
Nevertheless, God’s command to “be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it” (Genesis 1:28) was being carried out; the genealogy of chapter 5 as well as the first few verses of chapter 6 tell of God’s command and blessing being fulfilled.
The problem was that each subsequent generation moved further and further from God’s design to have a healthy, continual relationship with Him and live in harmony with other humans. Like Lamech, the majority of humans wanted to make a name for themselves rather than honor the name of God, their Creator.
In chapter 1, God had pronounced His creation as good for everything and very good when He created humans in His image. Now in chapter 6, humanity had strayed so far that God was sad. Verses 5 – 7 record God regretting His decision to make humans, and being deeply troubled in His heart.
And what was the cause for God’s troubled heart and regret? People’s inner lives and outer lives were in complete disarray, the opposite of how and why God had designed them. The wickedness of peoples’ hearts, their mind continually focused on evil (their inner lives), and the violence and corruption toward one another (their outer lives) were all clear markers that people had lost their way and were far from God.
No longer was God’s love, grace, and mercy in effect; they were not even under the rule of law as a civilized society. Instead, they were under the tyranny of force and headed for self-destruction. Indeed, the people had made their wish come true – they had made a name for themselves apart from God, but it was not a good name. They even created a title for the biggest and worst of these savage people – “Nephilim” – similar to a pirate or a gladiator – someone skilled in fighting who would devastate and pillage their possessions and families.
So God decided to press the “reset” button and start over with one man, his wife, their three sons, and their wives. Moses tells us that “Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God.” (v. 9). In all of humanity, God found only one family and their descendants worth preserving.
God then gave Noah instructions on building a boat – the ark – that would preserve all of Noah’s family plus a pair of all the animals, birds, bugs, etc. through this time. God addressed all aspects of this epic change in history – the construction of the ark, its contents, and the care for everything and everyone aboard.
Noah had two jobs during this time: the first, obviously, to build the ark, and second, to preach a message of repentance and reconciliation to those who were not walking with God (2 Peter 2:5). God used Noah as a preacher and builder for 120 years (v. 3) to show humanity a better way, the way He designed life to be.
May we be like Noah in his pre-Flood days – walking faithfully with God, righteous in God’s eyes, and blameless among the people we with live near and work with, sharing the good news God’s hope through the “ark” of eternal life – Jesus.