Wednesday, January 03, 2007

The Lord was grieved...

We Christians sometimes get overly excited about some issue or another in the world or in the church, and not excited enough about things that really grieve the Lord. Today's Old Testament reading gives us some insight into one thing that really bothers him -- to the extent that he wanted to destroy all life on earth.
The Lord was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain.... God said to Noah, "I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them."
Genesis 6.6,13
What followed, of course, was the flood. Surprised? You may have seen some pamphlets that mentioned other things that prompted the flood: shady financial dealings or kinky sex for example. But none of those were mentioned in this passage leading up to the flood. Wickedness in general, yes; as far as particulars, the only one I see here is violence.

Not that he doesn't care about gossip, deviant sexual behavior, lying, cheating, stealing, disobedience -- far from it! -- but that as far as issues that grieved God enough that he wanted to wipe mankind... from the face of the earth (Genesis 6.7), those weren't the killers.

So why do we get excited about those others more than about violence? I think part of it, for us Americans anyway, is that we live in the United States. The national culture (with an astonishingly high homicide rate among industrialized countries) is a violent one.

Which, in light of this passage, makes me worried want to pray.

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