All too often, we want to simplify God into a catch-phrase, such as “God is
love” (1Jn. 4:8). But while God is certainly love, He is also infinitely just,
and there comes a point where His justice must be meted out, as it was in the
days of Noah, and as it will be in the coming Day of the Lord.
In the days of Noah, the world was filled with violence, in part because of the
evil inclination that all men since Adam are born with (Gen. 8:21), and in part
because of supernatural incursions by the Adversary (6:1-4). The evil was so
great that God wiped the earth clean with a flood and started over with the
handful of righteous men and women left. It was brutally necessary, lest
everything good perish from the earth, but it so grieved God that He swore he
would never destroy all life by a flood again.
In the same way, Jerusalem’s sins were so great that God could not simply ignore
them. He sent prophet after prophet, and each was ignored or killed. He sent
the Babylonians to destroy Jerusalem, but restored it two generations later.
Again, Jerusalem fell into great sin. This time, the Holy One sent His own Son,
who gave up His life to save the city that rejected Him. Once again, God poured
out His indignation on Jerusalem, this time destroying it so thoroughly that it
would not rise from the ashes for nearly two millennia. And once again, as we
see in the haftarah reading, the Eternal One is so grieved by the necessary
judgment that He has sworn not to do so again.
There is another judgment coming, one that our Master compared to the days of
Noah. In the days leading up to that judgment, there will be great persecution
for God’s people, both Jew and Christian. Even so, though she will be defiled,
Jerusalem will not be destroyed, and though God’s wrath shall be poured out on
the earth, this time it will come in the form of fire rather than water (1Pt.
3:5-13). While the destruction of God’s wrath shall indeed be terrible, He will
keep His promise: It shall not be as complete as during the Great Flood, and
there will be survivors who will enter the Millennium of rest that will follow
(see Isa. 66:16-24, Zec. 14:16-19).
For those of us who love the Lord and follow His Annointed One who redeemed us,
however, He has provided an ark to escape the coming wrath. Let us then labor
to escape the wrath in that ark, and to bring as many as will come into it.