I’m really not that far into the Bible yet since I’m only writing on Genesis 9, but so far the story hasn’t exactly been what I call uplifting. I’m only through a little portion of the story and it’s already been established that humanity is going to continually mess this whole living in relationship with God and His creation thing up.
Adam and Eve are presented as not even being able to follow one restriction and resort to blaming everyone else (justified or not); Cain murders Abel, his own brother, in jealous anger; and I’ve just finished with the flood which presents the idea that humanity was so wicked God wiped most of them out. Sometimes in all this I wonder why doesn’t God just walk away from it all? It seems like the smart thing to do, to let the flood overtake or to simply say “You know what Noah, enjoy your life and grow your family, but I’m done trying to have anything to do with humanity. You guys are on your own.”
Truth be told I feel this way even without having to read up to Genesis 9. I mean I feel I’m still living this story. I feel like I fail and flounder to even keep up to human standards of what people think I should and shouldn’t be doing or thinking, let alone what God may desire from me. It doesn’t take long to look at the news to see stories that make it all too clear that we aren’t exactly living in harmony with each other, let alone God.
So when we get the end of the flood and God is interacting with Noah, we don’t see him turning his back. We don’t see a God who says “You’re on your own.” Instead we see a God who makes a covenant with Noah and by extension all creation in Genesis 9:8-17. Instead of breaking off relationship, God re-establishes it.
Now you could say that this isn’t too big of a deal, all God is saying here is that he won’t destroy the world by the flood again and using the rainbow as a sign of this agreement. However, the reason for the flood in the first place was the wickedness of mankind. It isn’t that everything is now going to be great and wickedness will never show it’s face, because it does and it doesn’t even take long to see it again in Genesis. I’m willing to bet that God knows this will be the case, but still says that He won’t take action like He did with the flood.
This isn’t the only time that God tries to re-establish a relationship with humanity either. It happens a number of times through the creation of the nation Israel and in their history. The pinnacle of this attempt to connect with humanity is seen through the person of Jesus in his life, death, and resurrection. God doesn’t give up on us, he doesn’t walk away. Even though it can seem that way at times, he is still attempting to have humanity be connected to him as much as we are able to be.
This attempt to connect with humanity may look like a rainbow (which I find interesting because rainbows are made from rain which could produce a flood) or may look like Jesus. I’m pretty sure that both examples are signs that God is not turning his back on creation and humanity, but rather moving forward and hoping that there will be those who reciprocate his love and desire for relationship.
It may seem misguided to keep seeking after us sometimes when we look at the history of humanity and the present state of humanity, but I’m also glad that is how God acts. I’m glad that God hasn’t washed his hands of us. I’m glad that he is seeking to be in relationship with his creation. I’m also glad that this attempt to establish relationship doesn’t seem to be coming from naivety, but rather a God who knows what we’re like and what we’re capable of.