God Cares For Both Man And Beast (Genesis 7:11-8:19)
The events ion the flood as recorded in Genesis 7&8 are both devastatingly tragic and extraordinarily tender. The wholesale destruction of men, birds, livestock, wild beasts, reptiles and insects in the flood is overwhelmingly tragic. But the LORD’s care for Noah, his family and the creatures with them in the ark is extraordinarily tender.
We might wish to shy away from the horror of the flood. Certainly people throughout the history of the gospel have done so. One of the early church heretics, Marcion, read the Old Testament as contrary and opposed to the message of the New Testament. He taught that the New Testament God revealed in Jesus was a different (and better!) God than the One found in the Old.
But to do this is to undercut the New Testament. The New Testament itself uses the Old to teach about Christ, to encourage a life of faith and to call for a distinctive Christian lifestyle. In particular, it uses the account of Noah and the flood to teach about the saving work of Christ (1Pet. 3:18-22), to encourage a life of faith (Heb. 11:7) and to urge a Christian ethic in the midst of a world that is under judgment (Matt. 24:37ff, Luke 17:26ff, 2Pet. 2:4ff.)
The Scriptures consistently paint the picture that the world system, in its autonomy from God, stands under the judgment of God. He opposes things as they are. And yet that opposition of God is at its very core filled with tender mercy. His judgments come because he cares for humanity and the earth and all its creatures. And the work of God in Jesus Christ is to bring this world to renewal through judgment at the cross.
The judgments that come are the judgments of mercy. They release us from final judgment. The pain that we feel is to heal us from evil. When the great deeps open and waters flood in over you from above and below, know that the LORD remembers you and has shut you in, his hand around you through the judgment for renewed life in a new world. The deepest pain of judgment is borne by the LORD who judges.