It would be easy to look at what is going on in the world today and wonder if the Lord was no longer involved. Seeing what takes place in the news, you may think God isn’t even there. God, however, had a plan for the world from the very beginning, and his designs haven’t changed.
After God had destroyed everything in a worldwide Flood, he told Noah and his sons, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth” (v. 1). This was the same command that he gave to Adam and Eve in Genesis 1:28. As humans multiplied, though, so did sin – that was the reason that God destroyed the entire earth. Perhaps Noah wondered if the Lord still wanted man to multiply, and if so, why. Why would God want humans to multiply after he had just destroyed them?
The answer can be found in Psalm 72:19: ” . . . may the whole earth be filled with his glory!” People are sinful and God knows it, yet he still wants them to multiply. This is essential to what the Lord wants, and his design is still in effect: to fill the earth with people glorifying him.
Things Have Changed
Early on in Genesis, the Lord told the first humans to oversee and take care of the earth and to eat “every plant yielding seed . . . and every tree with seed in its fruit” (Gen. 1:29). Man was vegetarian and did not hunt. Things changed after the Flood, though. In chapter nine, we see that animals now fear humans, and man is meant to eat them and dominate the earth.
Another difference is that God assumes murder will happen. He assumes that evil will endure, man will fear man, and there will be murder. But the Lord sees life as precious and valuable, and he instates a law that he will “require a reckoning for the life of man” (v. 5). Murder will be paid for because God finds value in human life. People are valuable because they are made in God’s image.
We all are God’s image-bearers and we all have value. People who are difficult to get along with – they are made in God’s image too. People who seem worthless are valuable to God also. Even when we feel valueless, we have value because we are made in God’s image.
When looking at the world and its flaws, there are two extremes which we should not land on:
- The utopian outlook, which says, “If we just did more of this or had more of that, things would be so much better.”
- The cynical outlook, which says, “The world is a lost cause; there’s nothing I can do for it. I’ll go isolate myself until Christ returns because there is no point in trying to help.”
As followers of Christ, when we see the world and its corruption, we should be saddened but not shocked. The sadness we feel should motivate us to spread the gospel. We should remember that people are God’s masterpieces, made in his image, but badly damaged by sin. Even though we are all scarred with sin and disobedience, God (because of his great love and mercy) is working to restore us through Jesus Christ – by his grace, not by our own doing (Eph. 2:1-10).
Yes, there is brokenness and damage from sin, but God is always working to restore. When you see the news and the monstrosities that take place in this world, be motivated to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ. Be fruitful and multiply, filling the earth and making disciples of all nations.
- Read Genesis 9:1-7 together. What do you observe? (What does it say?)
- What are the deeper implications of the passage? (What does it mean?)
- Why is this passage significant to God’s people today? (What does it matter?)
- What are the implications of this passage for how we should live as Christians? (What do we do?)