Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Leslie Basham: "No one is affected by the actions of consenting adults.” Have you heard that argument? It’s not true according to Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: If you want to mess up your life, that’s one thing. I hope you won’t. But it affects a whole culture.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Monday, August 3, 2015.

You’re going to get some fresh insight into a familiar story this week. Here’s Nancy Leigh DeMoss beginning an in-depth study called "Noah and the Flood: The Gospel in the Old Testament. 

Nancy: Even if you don’t know anything about the Bible, chances are that you’ve heard about the story of Noah and the flood. I think that’s got to be one of the best known stories in all of the Scripture.

It’s a popular theme. You walk into all these stores and see these Noah’s Ark characters, the wooden figures. Some of them are really cute. You’ll see this theme of Noah’s Ark on wallpaper and dishes and afghans and children’s songs.

It’s a story that a lot of scholars have tried to dismiss or to debunk as just a legend, religious folklore. In fact, a lot of archeological discoveries have revealed that many, many ancient civilizations have their own version of the flood story. They’re often similar to the Genesis account, but a lot of times they have a lot of gods and goddesses in them and are most likely variations on the original story that was passed down from generation to generation.

But as we launch into this series on the great flood, I want us to remember that the story of Noah and the flood is not a fairy tale, that both the Old Testament and the New Testament recognize this as a true account, a factual account. It’s not just a sweet, whimsical story.

In fact, as I have been meditating on these chapters in the book of Genesis over the last several weeks, I have come to realize that this is one of the most important stories in the entire Old Testament.

This story, it prefigures the cross of Christ. It tells the story of man’s sinfulness, and then it gives us a vivid illustration of the judgment and the wrath of God. It tells us what God thinks about sin, God’s perspective on sin.

Then it’s a wonderful, marvelous story about the incredible grace of God, the God who makes a covenant with His people, and the God who can be counted on to keep His covenant; the God who delivers some from wrath and judgment. We’ll see all of that and more in the story of Noah.

I think there’s a two-fold message in the story of Noah. A two-fold purpose; a two-fold response. The story first is for those who are sinners who have never repented. The message is to warn them that judgment is coming. The invitation, the call is to repent and to believe the gospel. And then there’s a message of hope and a message of encouragement for those who believe God, for those who walk with God, for those who have entered into the ark by faith.

What is our response once we see that grace and mercy of God? We’ll do the same thing Noah did. It’s a response of gratitude, worship, sacrifice. You’d give your life for that kind of God if you realized and stopped to think about what it is that He has done in saving us from the incredible wrath of God that is to come.

Now, as in all of history, there are three main characters in the story. The first are the ungodly. They face certain destruction. And again, the call to those sinners is to believe the gospel and repent of their sin.

The second category of people is those who are righteous. These are the ones who believe God. They are made righteous by faith, and they are under God’s grace. They are under His mercy. Their future end is to be delivered, not destruction but deliverance from the wrath of God. They are called to worship God and to obey Him.

And then, who’s the third character? In every story in history, it’s God. He is the central character. We see here a God who is in charge, a God of judgment and wrath, but a God of incredible mercy and grace.

So through this series we’re going to look at the world in which Noah lived, which has a lot of similarities to the world in which we live. We’ll look at Noah himself and get some insights into how we can walk with God in a wicked world. It’s not easy, but it is possible. We’ll get some insights into God’s sovereign purposes, His great redemptive plan for this world, and what all that has to say to us.

Sometimes on Revive Our Hearts we do programs on subjects like intimacy in marriage, child-rearing tips, and we always get a lot of response to those kinds of very practical how-to programs. As I have been preparing this series, part of me has said, “The story of Noah isn’t quite as practical as some of those other topics we address from time to time.” Well, I’ll tell you what I’ve come to realize is that it’s foundational that we understand the heart of God, the character of God, the ways of God.

I want to talk today just about some of the context, the background leading up to the flood to give us a sense of where this fits in human history. So let me ask you to turn in your Bibles to Genesis chapter 5.

As you’re turning there let me back up just even before that and remind us that in Genesis 1–2 we read the story of the creation of man. In Genesis chapter 3 we have the Fall, the fall into sin.

From that point on through all of the Scripture, there are always two lines of people. There are the godly, and there are the ungodly. Those who believe God and those who don’t believe God. Those who rebel against God and those who obey God. There’s a stark contrast between these two lines.

So when we get to chapter 4 of Genesis we see Cain, the son of Adam and Eve, who rebels against God. He kills his brother, Abel. He starts this ungodly . . . well, he didn’t start it, Adam and Eve did. But he continues this ungodly line.

And Cain’s descendants, as you read in chapter 4, a lot of them were brilliant. They built cities. They had impressive achievements, but they were self-made men. They didn’t acknowledge God. They managed to succeed in an earthly sense but without God.

But then at the end of Genesis 4, you have this different line. It’s the line of Seth, the child that was born to Adam and Eve who was the righteous line, the godly line. It says after Seth was born, “Men began to call on the name of the Lord.” And what happens when you call on the name of the Lord? You will be saved. So you see these two threads, these two streams of people.

Now in Genesis chapter 5 we see in verses 1 and 2 that when God created man, He made him in the likeness of God. "Male and female he created them, and he blessed them." So we see that man is created in the image of God. He’s blessed, and he’s designed to live forever, no death.

When you get into Genesis 5, this is one of those genealogy chapters that is really easy to skip over when you are reading through the Bible. But it is such an important chapter. And you’ll notice some things.

First of all, you’ll notice that people lived a long time—900 years, 800 years, 700 years. The pre-flood environment was conducive to living longer. Biblical scholars believe that probably the earth was under this canopy of water that filtered out the harmful UV rays of the sun. It was an environment that was conducive to living longer.

Nevertheless, as you read through chapter 5 you see this one phrase that is repeated eight times, if I counted correctly. What’s the phrase? “And he died.” So and so lived; he had children, and he died. Then his son lived so many years, he had children, and he died. And on and on it goes.

They lived a lot of years. But they all died. That’s the consequence of sin. It’s the fulfillment of what God had told Adam, if you eat, you will die. You will die spiritually, and ultimately you will die physically. As you read this fifth chapter of Genesis, there’s a sadness and a sameness to the story of man in a fallen world. It’s depressing. There’s a hopelessness. Yes, he lived so many years, but so what—he died.

But in the midst of this depressing account, there’s a glimmer of hope because there’s always hope when there’s God. It’s a God of grace who gives us hope. So you read in verses 21–24 of chapter 5 that Enoch escaped the curse of death. One man. He’s the only man in that chapter of whom it wasn’t said, “He died.” He walked with God. He was of the line of faith. He was of the righteous line.

It gives us hope that we don’t have to die, that spiritually there can be eternal life, that we can walk with God. And then in verse 29 we find the first reference to Noah. We’ll get into this later in the series. But we see that even when he was born it was said that “he would comfort those who were under the curse of sin.”

There’s hope in a fallen world. There’s grace in a fallen world. There’s blessing in a cursed world. And of course, these glimmers of grace and hope point us to a Savior, to the One who would redeem and deliver the world from its fallen condition. Remember that hymn we sing at Christmas?

Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
‘Til he appeared and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary soul rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn. 1

Leslie: That’s Nancy Leigh DeMoss. She’ll be right back with the second half of today’s program, part of the series: "Noah and the Flood." 

Throughout the series we’ll be finding the gospel throughout this Old Testament story. The same approach is taken in The Jesus Storybook Bible. It shows how all the Bible stories form one main narrative with Jesus at the center. If you have children at home, I hope you’ll get a copy and read it to them, or give it as a gift to parents and children you know.

We’ll send you a copy when you support Revive Our Hearts with a gift of any amount. Your gift will help us provide biblical teaching in your area. Just visit ReviveOurHearts.com. Make your contribution and get your copy, or ask for The Jesus Storybook Bible when you call with your donation. The number is 1–800–569–5959.

Nancy’s continuing in the series, Noah and the Flood.

Nancy: You know sometimes as you listen to the news or you read what’s going on in the world, it can seem pretty overwhelming. It’s easy to think that the world today is in worse shape than it has ever been. But I want us to realize as we look into Genesis chapter 6 today, that is not the case. There have been exceedingly evil times in the history of the world, and in this series on Noah and the great flood, we’re looking at one of those eras.

So let me ask you to turn to Genesis chapter 6. We’re looking today at the first few verses. To give us the context there, let me read several verses beginning in verse 1,

When man began to multiply on the face of the land and daughters were born to them, and the sons of God saw that the daughters of man were attractive. And they took as their wives any they chose (vv. 12).

Now, something must have been very wrong about that—and we’ll see what it was in just a few moments—because verse 3 says,

Then the LORD said, My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, for he is flesh: his days shall be 120 years.”

Something is very wrong. God says, “I’ve had enough. I’m going to put an end to this.” Now let’s read on. Verse 4:

The Nephilim [or some of your translations say giants] were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of man and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men who were of old, the men of renown. The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually (vv. 45).

Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence. And God saw the earth, and behold, it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth (vv. 1112).

With this increase in population came an increase in sin. Where the population abounded, sin abounded. And I’m glad to also tell you that where sin abounded, God’s grace did much more abound. We’ll come to that later in this series.

But as we start into this chapter, there are two groups of people, two groups of wicked people who are spotlighted. We’ll look at the first group today, and then in the next session we’ll look at the second group.

Verse 2 tells us that, “The sons of God saw that the daughters of man were attractive.” So we have here a discussion about the sons of God who married the daughters of man. This is the first group of people. The second group we’ll see are those in verse 4, the Nephilim or the giants. We’ll talk about them in the next session.

Now, "the sons of God who married the daughters of man"—who are they, and what does this mean? Well, first of all let me tell you that I don’t know. Scholars have all kinds of opinions. There’s a lot of debate about who “the sons of God” are and who “the daughters of men” are.

Let me tell you the three primary positions that commentators have suggested. Some believe that "the sons of God" were angels who co-habitated with women, with human women. There is some basis for this view in that there are other places in the Scripture where “the sons of God,” that term, refers to angels.

However, most scholars agree that that is probably not what is meant here. The Scripture says that angels don’t have bodies. Jesus said that angels do not marry. They’re not given in marriage. So that is probably not what is meant here.

There are two other possible views, and I think either one could be true. There are those including Matthew Henry, the old-time scholar, who believed that the “sons of God” refer to the godly line of Seth. And “the daughters of men” refer to the ungodly line of Cain. That these two, the godly seed and the ungodly seed, began to be attracted to each other and to intermarry, and that’s how we ended up with this wicked, corrupt generation of people. That’s a possible view.

Here’s a third view that I think is also possible. It’s a complicated one. I won’t go into a lot of explanation. But “the sons of God” could be a reference to fallen angels or demons who actually indwelt and possessed male human bodies. There’s some basis for this. You can read it in the book of Jude, in the book of 2 Peter to believe that men can actually be inhabited by demons, fallen angels.

These demon-possessed men were very powerful. They were lustful. They were controlling. They were a wicked, demonically-possessed group of men. They were rulers on the earth, perhaps. They were very influential. And that these powerful, demon-possessed men called “the sons of God” married “daughters of men,” married women. And that we have this very wicked, corrupt, violent generation that came about as a result.

I don’t think we can know for sure which it was, and actually I don’t think it really matters to us for purposes of our study. The implications and applications are clear. We see that these “sons of God,” whoever they were, married these “daughters of men,” and that this was not a good thing.

These men married these women based primarily on physical attraction. These are men and women who lived their lives independently of God. “I’ll do what I want to do.” It says, “they married any of them that they chose,” and they married to satisfy their lustful instincts. They didn’t consider marriage a holy, sacred thing. They married outside their faith.

It’s really the picture we have in 2 Corinthians chapter 6 of being unequally yoked. They didn’t fit. They didn’t belong together. And 2 Corinthians 6 tells us,

Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Therefore, [come out from the world] and be separate from it (vv. 14, 17).

Live a godly life that is different than the world around you. That affects where you go, what you do, how you do your job, how you live, and who you marry.

Now as we come back to Genesis 6, here we see the importance of marriage and family. In the whole scheme of things, when you decide to marry someone, and I know we have a number of younger women here. Can I just make a strong, fervent appeal to those of you who are younger women, not yet married, single women listening. When you decide to marry someone, your choice does not just affect you. Now, it does affect you. Make sure that you marry in God’s will because you will live for years and years and years with the consequences of the choice that you make.

If you make a godly choice, you will set yourself up for years of blessing . . . not necessarily ease, because even the best marriage takes work and takes the grace of God. But if you marry outside of the will of God, you can count on having years of pain and heartache and heartbreak.

So be careful who you marry—it affects you. But I want to say it affects a whole lot more than you. If you want to mess up your life, that’s one thing. I hope you won’t. But it affects a whole culture.

When these "sons of God" married the "daughters of men," they married outside the will of God. They married outside their faith. They married for wrong reasons, for shallow reasons, for temporal, sensual reasons. Those wrong choices in marriage ultimately produced this society that was increasingly wicked and depraved. It doesn’t just stop at one marriage.

Your marriage, if it’s a godly marriage, can have an impact and an influence on this world for generations to come. That’s why it’s worth working at your marriage, by the way.

But that’s why when you’re single, before you marry think: Is this a marriage that will contribute positively to God’s kingdom agenda in this world? Don’t just marry someone that you fell in love with. Ask God: Is this Your choice for my life? Get godly counsel from your parents, from your church leadership, from spiritual counselors and leaders.

I want to tell you for those of you who aren’t married. If you could read some of the emails that I’ve received from women over the years who got into a marriage against their parents’ counsel and authority, against godly counsel, sometimes against their own better judgment. They married men who were involved in all kinds of things, had character issues, things they should have seen.

Listen, if you marry into a background where there’s drugs and rebellion and pornography and immorality, those things have demonic associations. Now, I don’t want to over-dramatize it, but I’m saying that the choice of who you marry is very, very important.

So many of those women have written to me years later and said, “If only I had not married outside of the will of God.” There are thousands and thousands and thousands of Christian women today who would do anything to be able to go back and undo wrong choices that they made about who they married.

Now, we have a redeeming God. Some of you are in that situation now. You can’t go back and undo it. And there is grace. There is mercy. You can walk with God even in the midst of a very difficult marriage. But I’m speaking to some who are still single, and I’m just pleading with you to not marry an ungodly man.

The fruit of ungodly marriages as we see it in the book of Genesis chapter 6 is increased wickedness, violence, and corruption. From generation to the next, it only gets worse. The fruit of godly marriages will be a righteous seed and an impact on the next generation for the kingdom of Christ.

Father, I want to pray for our single listeners, for young women who are here today. I ask that You would choose and direct them to the mate of Your choosing. And together that their marriage may produce a righteous seed and may touch our world for Christ. I pray in Jesus’ name, amen.

Leslie: Nancy Leigh DeMoss has been showing you some very practical applications from the story of Noah.

Today begins a series called "Noah and the Flood: The Gospel in the Old Testament." This series will remind us over and over the stories of the Old Testament are rich with meaning. Are you passing these important stories along to the next generation?

Well, we’d like to help you do that by sending you a copy of The Jesus Storybook Bible. The author and illustrator effectively show the grand narrative of the Bible with Jesus at the center. Books like this can make a big difference in the life of a child. For instance . . . here’s Nancy.

Nancy: I’m so thankful to have grown up in a home where my parents really made an effort to have what we called then, family devotions. We didn’t do this every day, and at times it was a challenge with so many children in so many different seasons of life, but my parents just felt like it was really important for us to gather together, usually at meal times, and to listen to God’s Word.

In fact, my parents were reading from a children’s Bible storybook when I, at the age of four, came to personal faith in Jesus Christ. So I’ve been really delighted in recent years to see a new Bible storybook come out called The Jesus Storybook Bible that I think is such a great resource for parents to read with their children.

Leslie: We’ll send you a copy of The Jesus Storybook Bible when you provide a gift of any size to the ministry of Revive Our Hearts. Ask for it when you call with your gift. The number is 1–800–569–5959, or contribute at ReviveOurHearts.com.

Well, the book of Genesis seems to make reference to giants living on earth before the flood. What do you make of that? Nancy will explore this question tomorrow. Please be back for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted.

1 Oh Holy Night. Chappeau de Roquemaure. Translated by John S. Dwight.

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