In the closing verses of Parashat Bereshit, we hear HaShem’s inditement, describing the condition of His creation, specifically humankind,
Then ADONAI saw that the wickedness of humankind was great on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of their heart was only evil all the time. So, ADONAI regretted that He made humankind on the earth, and His heart was deeply pained.Genesis 6:5-6
Then an even stronger inditement of creation is expressed in this week’s parasha, Noach,
Now the earth was ruined before God, and the earth was filled with violence. God saw the earth, and behold it was ruined because all flesh had corrupted their way upon the earth.Genesis 6:11-12
Wedged between these two inditements are glimmers of hope, specifically in last verse of Bereshit and the first verse of Noach,
But Noah found favor in ADONAI’s eyes. … These are the genealogies of Noah. Noah was a righteous man. He was blameless among his generation. Noah continually walked with God.Genesis 6:8-9
Noach was a righteous man, blameless and so focused on HaShem that he is said to have “continually walked with God.” This immediately brings to mind Enoch, as it is recorded in last week’s reading that “Enoch continually walked with God—then he was not there, because God took him.” (Genesis 5:24).
Now consider the comparison in Hebrews between Enoch and Noach.
By faith Enoch was taken so as not to see death, and he was not found because God took him. For before he was taken, he was commended as pleasing to God. Now without faith it is impossible to please God. For the one who comes to God must believe that He exists and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.
By faith Noah, when warned about events not yet seen, in holy fear prepared an ark for the safety of his household. Through faith he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.Hebrews 11:5-7
The author of Hebrews wrote that Enoch was “pleasing to God,” while Noach was obedient. Whether Noach was obedient out of fear or simple self-preservation, he still, like Enoch, was considered righteous. Also, like Enoch (Genesis 5:22 & 24), Noach chose to “walk with God” (Genesis 6:9) instead of walking in the ways of the world.
It is thought-provoking that while both of these men walked with HaShem, HaShem dealt with them differently. Enoch walked with HaShem and HaShem took him, seemingly removed him from the world that was spiraling out of control. Noach, on the other hand, walked with HaShem and HaShem hid him and his family away in the ark while the world was destroyed by the waters of judgement.
So why is it that some people seem to be delivered from the evil and troubles of this world (like Enoch) while others (like Noach) seem to have to work their way through the very center of everything?
Through the prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah, I believe that HaShem gave Israel, as well as each of us, clues to the answer to this question.
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways.” It is a declaration of ADONAI. “For as the heavens are higher than earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.Isaiah 55:8-9
For I know the plans that I have in mind for you,” declares ADONAI, “plans for shalom and not calamity—to give you a future and a hope.Jeremiah 29:11
At this point, I will add two more scriptures,
Trust in ADONAI with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.Proverbs 3:5-6
Do not be anxious about anything—but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the shalom of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Messiah Yeshua.Philippians 4:6-7
Sometimes we are miraculously delivered from the evils and troubles of this world, at other times we are not. However, in all things, whether they appear to be positive or negative, we can be sure of one thing, HaShem knows who we are, where we are, what we are going through and is there with us to help us make it through to the other side. We may not “know His thoughts” but we can “trust in His plans.” While our own understanding might fail us, we can trust in “the shalom of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard our hearts and our minds in Messiah Yeshua.” And just as He promised Israel, so He promises each of us,
ADONAI—He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you. He will not fail you or abandon you. Do not fear or be discouraged.Deuteronomy 31:8
So, whatever situation or circumstance we find ourselves in this Shabbat, let’s determine to trust in HaShem and His plan and purpose in our lives, knowing that ultimately, He will not fail or abandon us.
* All Scriptures are from the Tree of Life (TLV) Translation of the Bible. Copyright © 2015 by The Messianic Jewish Family Bible Society.
Readings for Parashat Noach
Genesis 6:9 – 11:32 / Isaiah 54:1-10 / Matt 24:36-46