Then the people began to multiply on the earth, and daughters were born to them.2 The sons of God saw the beautiful women and took any they wanted as their wives.3 Then the Lord said, “My Spirit will not put up with humans for such a long time, for they are only mortal flesh. In the future, their normal lifespan will be no more than 120 years.”
4 In those days, and for some time after, giant Nephilites lived on the earth, for whenever the sons of God had intercourse with women, they gave birth to children who became the heroes and famous warriors of ancient times.
5 The Lord observed the extent of human wickedness on the earth, and he saw that everything they thought or imagined was consistently and totally evil. 6 So the Lord was sorry he had ever made them and put them on the earth. It broke his heart. 7 And the Lord said, “I will wipe this human race I have created from the face of the earth. Yes, and I will destroy every living thing—all the people, the large animals, the small animals that scurry along the ground, and even the birds of the sky. I am sorry I ever made them.” 8 But Noah found favor with the Lord. – Genesis 6:1-8 [NLT]
Perhaps we’re reading about the likes of Andre the Giant, Yao Ming, Shaquille O’Neal, or Gheorghe Muresan (Click here to see his incredible photo). Have you seen the photo of Aaron Judge standing next to Jose Altuve? I am not putting these human specimines in the same category of the Nephilites. These Nephilites, ancient giants were likely descendants of Cain. As such, they were like ruthless Lamech of Genesis 5 took whom they wished and had their way by sheer intimidation and tyranny.
I don’t know much about the modern day athletes I mentioned above (except I understand that Aaron Judge is a decent Lutheran Christian). Nor do I really want to put them unduly into the category of the tyrannical Nephilites nor cast them as sons of God or otherwise. But there are examples in this world of powerful men who take what they want from whomever they wish, at their own pleasure and prerogative. And there are also women who seduce others and have their way in their own ways.
It’s a dangerous place for men or women to be: In charge. Powerful. Influential. Intimidating. And whether it’s seduction or abusive behavior (so very often around sexual relationships), such evil so dangerously entangles people and causes great harm far beyond the persons involved. Families are torn apart. Lives are ruined. Children are scarred. Heats are wounded.
God knows this and as he sees the evil unfolding in the world, he makes the pronouncement that he knew he would have to make from the beginning. He couldn’t let men and women live those long lifespans. Even decades of decades proved not to be sufficient time for men and women to learn, to repent, and to live godly lives.
The dynamic in this era seems to be that godly men looked to outward beauty rather than spiritual fidelity as they chose wives. Their children became famous men and women who escalated the growth of evil in the world. Such is the life unmoored from God’s word, ways, truth, and grace.
And God’s determination – and really his announcement of something he certainly already knew – was not to allow this to go on unfettered. If only he could find a godly and righteous man. Enter Noah. We will see his faith in action, and then watch his line and learn something about human beings: there is none who is righteous; no not one (Romans 3:10-12).
This morning (I write this on Sunday evening) one of the songs we sang in worship had a line “hero of heaven.” That line touched my heart as I reflected on Jesus as that Hero, and how all of heaven must have cheered when we finished his course in faith and perfect righteousness, and stared down Satan and all the demons.
Athletes may get our attention. Powerful people may get their way. Satan may challenge the godly. Sin will intrude. But Jesus is the hero of eternity. He is our hope and righteousness.
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