November 06, 2009

What Fills the Earth

Genesis 6:5-22

“The earth is filled with violence …”
Genesis 6:13


Homes filled with laughter and joy often produce secure children. Few homes, however, escape some form of trouble, and many are filled with misery that spills out into the world around them.

From the beginning God’s good earth was meant to be filled with goodness. Empowered by God’s blessing, men and women were instructed to take good care of it (Genesis 1:28; 2:15). Soon, however, Adam and Eve made problems at home and were driven out. Later Cain murdered Abel, and Lamech promoted vengeance as a way of life. By Noah’s time, the earth was filled with social disaster, corruption, envy, murder, lust, and more.

Was this corruption Adam and Eve’s fault? Cain’s? Lamech’s? The answer is yes. God said that “every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time.” And if the heart is filled with evil, there is little room, if any, for goodness.

It grieved God that he had created men and women. Sin became rooted so deeply in the human heart that it spoiled all goodness. God decided that the people who were destroying good life on earth would themselves be destroyed. And what an irony: the life-giving waters of the earth would swallow all the living things on earth. Not evil, but divine justice would fill the earth, and only Noah and his family would be spared.

Fill me with your goodness and kindness, Lord. Keep me from the violence that would enter my heart. Guide me to live with joy in your presence. For Jesus’ sake, Amen.

About the author — Arie C. Leder

Dr. Arie C. Leder is the Martin J. Wyngaarden Senior Professor of Old Testament Studies at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He previously served as pastor at Ebenezer Christian Reformed Church, Trenton, Ontario, and with Christian Reformed World Missions in Latin America. He teaches courses on the Pentateuch and on historical books of the Old Testament.

Start your day with quick daily devotions.

See God's love, power, presence, and purpose in your life every day!