Sunday, September 9
God's Reset Button
Narrative Lectionary Daily Devotions written by Kace Leetch from Clergy Stuff.
Have you ever had a computer freeze on you? You know, the kind of freeze where pushing all the buttons does nothing? The only way to reboot is to do a hard reset. It usually means turning it all off, waiting 10 seconds, and then starting it up again. The hope is, of course, that the bug that caused the freeze is gone, and that all your precious data is saved. Noah’s story is a little like that. God’s creation “froze” (it ceased to live up the potential God had given it), and God needed to do a hard reset.
Not long after God created all things, many of God’s creation were “evil continually.” It grieved God to see all the things God had made had become corrupt. So much so, God intended to destroy it all.
But God couldn’t do it. What God made was too precious. So, God found humans who were righteous and saved them, along with their families. God saved one pair of every kind of walking and creeping animal. God saved one pair of every kind of bird and flying creature. God saved one of every kind of plant and food. God saved all the sea creatures. Nothing was decimated completely. From the very beginning, God’s plan included a way to preserve, not to extinguish, all that God had made.
God’s hope, of course, was that through this reset, the corruption of humanity and all flesh would be gone, and the potential for goodness would be saved. We know, of course, corruption still exists. But so does the potential for goodness within each of us. That potential is enough for God to hold onto hope that the things God created are worth preserving. God’s promise is that God will never give up on God’s creation—animals, plants, and humanity—ever again.
Narrative Lectionary Text: Genesis 6:5-22; 8:6-12; 9:8-17
The Lord saw that the wickedness of humankind was great in the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of their hearts was only evil continually.
And the Lord was sorry that he had made humankind on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. So the Lord said, “I will blot out from the earth the human beings I have created—people together with animals and creeping things and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.”
But Noah found favor in the sight of the Lord. These are the descendants of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation; Noah walked with God. And Noah had three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence. And God saw that the earth was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted its ways upon the earth.
And God said to Noah, “I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence because of them; now I am going to destroy them along with the earth. Make yourself an ark of cypress wood; make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and out with pitch. This is how you are to make it: the length of the ark three hundred cubits, its width fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits. Make a roof for the ark, and finish it to a cubit above; and put the door of the ark in its side; make it with lower, second, and third decks. For my part, I am going to bring a flood of waters on the earth, to destroy from under heaven all flesh in which is the breath of life; everything that is on the earth shall die. But I will establish my covenant with you; and you shall come into the ark, you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you. And of every living thing, of all flesh, you shall bring two of every kind into the ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female. Of the birds according to their kinds, and of the animals according to their kinds, of every creeping thing of the ground according to its kind, two of every kind shall come in to you, to keep them alive. Also take with you every kind of food that is eaten, and store it up; and it shall serve as food for you and for them.”
Noah did this; he did all that God commanded him.
At the end of forty days Noah opened the window of the ark that he had made and sent out the raven; and it went to and fro until the waters were dried up from the earth. Then he sent out the dove from him, to see if the waters had subsided from the face of the ground; but the dove found no place to set its foot, and it returned to him to the ark, for the waters were still on the face of the whole earth. So he put out his hand and took it and brought it into the ark with him. He waited another seven days, and again he sent out the dove from the ark; and the dove came back to him in the evening, and there in its beak was a freshly plucked olive leaf; so Noah knew that the waters had subsided from the earth. Then he waited another seven days, and sent out the dove; and it did not return to him any more.
Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him, “As for me, I am establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you, and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the domestic animals, and every animal of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark. I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of a flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.”
God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I have set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant that I have established between me and all flesh that is on the earth.”