“And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart…
But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.”Genesis 6:6,8
These polar virtues occur in the same breath in the book of God. Both of these affectations come from the same source, the heart of God. In one instance, man provoked the worst feeling God had ever felt, and the next: God created the best redemptive virtue man would forever need.
Grief. A state of mind that everyone passes through- though few could even begin to define it. We think of it at funerals; saying goodbye. Counsellors have us work through it in stages. It’s been likened to dense fog: try to get close, but you still can’t see it; back away from it, and you can’t see anything else because of it.
Grief is so formidable because it is the void of love. Of its affect in history, grief appears in Scripture long before “love” is verbalized (Genesis 22:2). Yet, psychologists tell us that man won’t grieve something/someone he doesn’t love. The presence of grief is the understood presence of love. It’s like a black hole; you know it’s there because love isn’t.
Genesis 6 accounts for Noah’s lifetime beginning about 2900BC. Despite humanity’s sins, the Creator has suffered them for over a millennium, allowing them space and time through the blood of a lamb to repent. His loving tolerance jaded the people of the world into degrading into sin even further. Thus the Lord numbered their days, sad that He had ever made a being who could hate Him so badly. Judgment was set. The grieving had begun.
Men may love, and man may grieve, but man did not know grace until God showed it. Noah found it because he looked for it. God always had it. Grace is the ability to love beyond man’s capacity to love. Grace is God’s ability to love beyond hopelessness.
Grace is greater than grief. Grace is stronger than love. Grace is God doing the impossible.
Noah Webster said grace is, “Appropriately, the free unmerited love and favor of God, the spring and source of all the benefits men receive from him.” Admittedly, unmerited love is better than only love itself.
Grace- the word given to describe all virtues combined. Grace is the ultimate expression of love when love is scorned, abandoned, and denied. When love cannot find one to receive it, grace somehow does.
When God grieved, imagine how His generous love ran cold while righteous wrath waxed hot. And stinging tears, like the griefs we bear, were pressed from holy eyes. It was in those eyes that Noah saw something more than love. He found grace “in the eyes of the Lord.“
Here’s a thought: perhaps it wasn’t that Noah got noticed- perhaps it was that Noah noticed God. A glimmer of God that no one else ever had before. The ability to love when there was no one left to love. He found grace “in the eyes of the Lord.” Noah knew he did not deserve a second chance; nothing he could do could un-grieve the Lord. But in those heavenly, tear-filled eyes, he caught a glimpse– grace!
Does God love YOU? Without Christ, He CANNOT love you. He DID love you at one time… at Calvary: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) He said “LOVED,” not “LOVES.” There is a big difference!
God does not love the world in the present tense. God’s love already passed this world over, and they rejected it.
“He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.” (John 1:10)
That thought grieves the heart of God. It ought to grieve yours. Sinners we are, and sinners we would always remain.
But if a sinner, knowing of the scorned love and coming judgment of God, will repent away from his sin and turn to God, he will enter into the gaze of a greater force than either love or loss: grace.
Grace- marvelous, infinite, matchless- is greater than all our sin.