Week 46: Patience of a Father

by Issy Davies

Continuing through Genesis, this week we start with the flood. Noah, his family, and pairs of animals board the boat to escape the rains that nobody believed would come. Heartbroken over the corruption entered into his creation, God longed to start again with a new people who would be faithful to him, like Noah had been. God makes a promise never to destroy his creation again; this is a clean start, a chance for humanity to get things right.

Unsurprisingly, this doesn’t quite happen. Corruption still weaves its way through our human lives, and God’s people still struggle.

In chapter 11 we see God confusing languages as a result of nations coming together to build a tower that reaches as high as the sky – in other words, they long to be like God, have his knowledge and conquer the whole earth.

And so begins the story of God’s people: hungry for power, unable to keep to God’s instruction… but held within the promise of God’s forgiveness and faithful, watchful care nonetheless.

Paul knows this in his letters to Timothy. He reminds us that God cares and has provided instructions for living; that we have treasure in heaven to look forward to when we honour this way of living.

Paul’s writing in 2 Timothy 2 has the benefit of perspective that we don’t have in Genesis – we know now that Jesus is the one who enables us to be forgiven and live freely, even though we get things wrong. If we died with Christ, then we also live with Christ. Even though we are the same humanity as Noah (who got drunk just after demonstrating great faithfulness to God) and the nations who tried to build a tower to the sky to become powerful, we live now with the knowledge of God’s plan to save us from ourselves through Jesus. He made a promise after the flood not to destroy us, and he keeps that promise everyday – even when we fail, he loves us still.

Some questions to think about this week:
1. It can feel as though sin is everywhere in human nature. How can we be confident that we are living well with God even though we know we are still prone to get things wrong?
2. The story of the tower of Babel shows humans becoming hungry for godlike power. Can you think of ways that this happens in our world today?
3. Even though humanity still sinned after the flood, God continued to be faithful and caring to them. How is God showing his loving care in your life at the moment?