Nimrod is the first person identified in the bible as a “king”. Until the time of Nimrod, people appear to have lived independently as a family unit or in some sort of tribal arrangement.
So Nimrod showing up as a king isn’t a small thing. It seems to represent the first expression of any group of people forming into a community for the purpose of furthering the “common good”, goods that can only be achieved in communities – little cities and villages.
Since Nimrod was a “mighty one on the earth”, it seems likely that his kingship offered to the people who followed his authority something that they couldn’t get without him. Perhaps these included the most basic of goods that a community offers, like ordered institutions and common defense.
Of course, the good of community in Nimrod’s kingdom might also have been about Nimrod as a person. Perhaps he was a charismatic leader who established a powerful vision for the community.
Whatever the case, he shows up here not in isolation. The emergence of Nimrod, and the beginning of social contract communities is offered in the context of human progress. But at the same time, there is an implicit question on whether or not a contract can be enough to actually achieve a common wealth worthy of human potential.
“Cursed be Canaan. The lowest of slaves shall he be to his brothers”
So there it is. A drunken man, a moral failure, a cursed son, and the generations keep coming. The beat goes on.
Renewed, we have this essential capacity to agree with the Holy Spirit. To live wholly in Him. This is the ground of my being. As I visit this ground, and recognize my God in myself, and myself in my God, I want this essence everywhere to agree. Here, eternity is entirely available to all, but I encounter it only in the most fleeting moment.
I will – gently but determinedly to resist the temptation to return to the beat. Cursing the son for the sins of the father, for the sins of the father, for the sins of the father, for the sins of the father.
This, it seems, did not escape the waters of the flood. No despair. It’s just work to do.
“When I bring clouds over the earth, and the bow appears in the clouds, I will recall the covenant between me and you and all living beings,…” It is a strange thought that God could forget, that He expresses the desire for a monument, a bow in the sky, as a reminder of his unilateral covenant to never again destroy in this way.
I’ve known this passage from my youth and I’ve taught this passage to my children. When we see a rainbow we think of it. That in itself is an extraordinary power. A sign and symbol in the natural, material world of God’s faithfulness to me.
“Of the covenant between me and you and every living creature with you.” Suddenly this sounds different. Am I somehow responsible to God in covenant for the well-being of other creatures? Even if they have dread fear for me, and often enough I for them?
A bow in the sky. I think of how glad I am that God will never again wholesale destroy. Today, I make the commitment to do likewise.
Then Noah built an altar to the Lord…the Lord smelled the sweet savor.
Gratitude. I’m just trying to think if there is another recorded expression of gratitude before this. God has saved me. As I step out of the ark, or the belly of a whale, or wake up from the darkest night, my heart is filled with gratitude. My new field of endeavor is a world of rich color and fragrant smells and abounding goodness.
The promise and hopefulness of this moment will forever be memorialized as I express gratitude. And the memory of God’s faithfulness will be my joy. And the joy of the Lord will be my strength.
The requirement is serious. I will one day give an accounting…for “in the image of God has man been made”.
What was left behind is so far gone, I can scarce remember it. I am saved! There is no lament.
Noah sends out ravens and pigeons. Little experiments trying to figure out what’s happening. He could have said, “God shut me up in this ark – I’ll just wait for HIM to open the door”. But he didn’t. Instead, uncovering his ark and peering out, he tried to ascertain his circumstances through the evidence available to him.
Yet, he waited to act. The evidence told him that the earth was drying up. But Noah did not move until the Lord said, “Go out of the ark…”
Perhaps this is the original interplay of faith in God and reason born out of evidence. Noah has a need to know – to ascertain his circumstances, which causes him to experiment. Yet he knows via faith in an entirely different way.
Prima facia one might think of the knowledge born of faith as having a primacy. After all, it was this that caused Noah to build an ark in the first place. But what could faith-knowledge mean in the utter absence of reason and empirical evidence?
Maybe it isn’t a question of the primacy between two ways of knowing as much as an illustration of the balance necessary for an extraordinary life.
“God remembered Noah”. Remember is an interesting word. Like Noah was forgotten. Why not – “in the fullness of time God made the waters recede…”
More like Noah felt forgotten.
Not that I can judge the moral implication of such despondency for Noah – I can feel forgotten and alone in the middle of a crowd of people who love me. Dark night after dark night after dark night.
Yes, Noah didn’t have many choices inside the ark. But it makes me recall Peter on that day when most of Jesus’ disciples left him. Did Peter have any more real options? “Where would I go Lord, You alone have the words of eternal life.” He was as stuck as Noah.
Today feels like one of those days where I just have to keep walking.
Being shut in by God. How strange to be facing an unimaginable unknown, alone. God has shut you in to face the flood. Not with you Noah, but with you in every way.
Outside of time necessarily means outside of narrative. I find God in an indescribable, inexpressible moment. The ultimate paradox of simple, changeless, pure dynamism.
I am really afraid that it might somehow rain today. I will – trust in God.
Salvation would be through Noah. God is protecting and preserving all the seed of the world in an ark, a container. He is not finished. This is somehow part of the creative process. What will be learned? What will be changed?
What is it like to know that a cataclysm is immanent and yet no one else around you seems to be aware? To be profoundly disbelieved?
Three sons. Where comes the faith to follow a man with disruptive insight?
How could the current of pure love outflow from God result in the abhorrence and revulsion that could somehow make good the plan to destroy all created life from the earth? How am I to make sense of this?
I want to believe that God is equally pleased with everything that comes out of me. My sins and failures are the amusing faux pas of a child learning. They are unavoidable and therefore, somehow, innocent.
It is strange how I can feel empathy for an unworthy character in a dark story of deliberate moral failure, and also be overwhelmed with compassion upon reflecting on the suffering of a good and righteous person.
It is the breath of my generation. No moral claim is valid as such. And yet I find myself surrounded by failure and all that comes with it. I have cast off the moral sensibilities that are somehow intuitive in the depth of my soul – but the shame and guilt cling to my being.
Noah walked with God. I want to walk with God. Today, not to be saved from the tidal flood, but just to be with Him.
For I am conscious of nothing against myself, yet I am not by this acquitted; but the one who examines me is the Lord. 1 Cor 4:3
So, God took Enoch.
In the drone of a thousand years of genealogy, my ears perk up. My imagination is piqued. Enoch did not die.
But cursed is the ground. Dust you are and to dust you shall return. In a moment everything is different. My soul flutters. In Enoch, I begin to see the hope of avoiding the horror and cursedness of death. How did he do it?
It’s a gentle and quiet word.
Enoch walked with God. He wasn’t chasing a salvation he couldn’t have imagined.
I missed it again…
I’ll try once more tomorrow.