There was a time in history when the Creator was so grieved by the great wickedness of man, and by the continually evil thoughts of man, that He regretted ever making man. Therefore the Creator decided to exterminate man. After sustaining His creation for around one and a half millennia, the Creator decided to destroy His creation.
It had started out as a very good creation. In the beginning, the universe was a blank canvas, waiting for the Master Artist to dip His divine brush into the paint on His palette. The Creator’s Spirit moved upon the face of the waters, and He loaded His brush with paint. He spoke light into existence the first day, and separated the light from the darkness. On the second day He gathered the waters together and the dry land appeared. On the third day He commanded the earth to bring forth plant life. On the fourth day He appointed the sun, moon, and stars to be lights in the firmament. On the fifth day He commanded the waters to bring forth creatures to live in the waters and fowls to fly in the firmament. On the sixth day He commanded the earth to bring forth animal life. Also on the sixth day He created man in His own image from the dust of the ground. He breathed into man’s nostrils the breath of life and man became a living soul.
As the Creator completed each day of creation, He beheld what He had made, and He saw that it was good. After He finished His work on the sixth day, “God saw every thing that He had made, and behold, it was very good” (Gen. 1:31).
“Very good” is very good, but that was not enough. The creation still needed something more. It needed something to make it holy. Therefore the Creator blessed and sanctified the seventh day. Just as a human artist wants people to view and enjoy his creative work after it is finished, so the divine Master Artist wanted man to enjoy His creation. So He instituted the weekly Sabbath day.
The Creator was very pleased with His creation. Unfortunately, the serpent tempted and deceived the woman. She ate the forbidden fruit and gave some to the man. He too ate, and sin infected the human race. The Creator’s masterpiece was marred by man’s disobedience.
As time went on, things got even worse. Adam and Eve’s firstborn son murdered his younger brother. Violence continued to increase with each passing generation. By the tenth generation, “the earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence” (Gen. 6:11). Man had so marred the masterpiece of the Master Artist that the Master Artist decided to destroy His masterpiece.
As a human artist who sometimes thinks of the Creator as the Master Artist, I can relate to this, because as an artist I can experience something similar, though on a much smaller scale.
I might be working on a painting and everything is progressing well. Just as the Creator “saw that it was good” with each passing day of creation, so I see that each stage of my painting is good. Finally it is finished. I cease working and leave it on the easel to dry. But then something happens that damages the painting. Maybe it gets knocked off the easel, or something falls against it, or it gets smeared by someone’s carelessness.
I look at the painting and I see that it is ruined. The still-wet paint is all smeared, and the work that I originally created is barely recognizable. I decide to wipe all the paint off the surface of the canvas, just as the Creator decided to wipe man off the face of the earth.
But then I notice something on the canvas that I do not want to destroy. Perhaps it’s a face, just one small part of the painting, but a part which I do not want to destroy. For the sake of that one face that pleases me, I decide to salvage the painting. I’ll still scrape off all the paint that surrounds that face, but for the sake of that face I will not utterly destroy the painting. I will redeem the canvas for the sake of that one undamaged face.
Something similar to this happened when the Creator decided to wipe man off the face of the earth. “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth,” the Creator said, “for it repenteth Me that I have made them.”
It appeared that man was not redeemable. Man must be destroyed. “But Noah...” the very next verse says. “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.”
God was the Master Artist who was ready to scrape all the paint off the marred canvas. But then He noticed an unmarred face. “But Noah... Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations.”
You know the rest of the story. God spared Noah and his family in the Ark. The Master Artist used Noah as the starting point for a brand new creation. Noah replenished the earth. His descendants spread out and the canvas of creation was refilled with new life.
The redemption of man is wrapped up in those two words “But Noah.” If Noah had not found grace in the eyes of the LORD, man would now be nothing more than just another extinct species of the distant past. None of us would have ever been born if Noah had not found grace in the eyes of the LORD.
The expression “saved by grace” takes on a wider meaning when you consider Noah, the father of us all. We were saved by grace from the wrath of God when Yeshua died and rose again. But we were also saved by grace when Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD, because if Noah had not found grace in the eyes of the LORD, our existence would have been aborted centuries ago.
To find grace in someone’s eyes is a Hebrew idiom. It is not meant to be understood in a hyper-literal way, as though Noah looked into God’s eyes and saw something there called “grace.” In Hebrew, if something or someone “finds grace in your eyes,” this simply means that you are pleased by what you see. Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD. He looked at Noah and He saw something that pleased Him. The Creator was looking at the mess that man had made of His creation. The Master Artist was ready to scrape all the paint off the canvas when something caught His eye and found grace in His eyes. That something was a certain man named Noah.
So thank God for our forefather Noah. Thank God that Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations. Thank God that Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.
May we all find grace in the eyes of the LORD as Noah did, so that we may all be preserved when the Creator destroys the earth with fire, as Noah was preserved when the Creator destroyed the earth with water. May we all be preserved for the new earth by the grace of God that is given through His Son.
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Image (Top): After the Flood an original painting by Daniel Botkin from his Wastelandscapes Gallery on his art website, DanielBotkin.com