Grace. For a lot of years, I believed grace was only in the New Testament. For grace only entered the world in Jesus Christ. Right? I never would have thought the Old Testament to be a place where we would see grace. I have never been happier to be wrong!
Grace had been demonstrated from the beginning of creation. However, the word “grace” first appeared in a time when it would have been thought impossible to see grace. For it is found in the time of Noah and the flood. Most of us have been taught and believed God was mad, angry, and sorry He had made man. And Yahweh was saddened that he had made humanity, and his heart was filled with pain. So Yahweh decided, “I will do away with my ruined creation – human beings that I created – people and animals, creeping things and flying birds, for it breaks my heart that I made them! Genesis 6:6-7 (TPT). The Hebrew word for “saddened” is nacham and is almost impossible to translate into English. For it is a word that expresses many emotions; grief, comfort, compassion, and hope all at the same time! What if God felt all these emotions over the creation of man? I believe it is possible. So, God’s heart was filled with sorrow, compassion, and hope, not simply anger!
But one man found grace in the sight of Yahweh: Noah. Genesis 6:9 (TPT). Amid destruction, turmoil, and wickedness, “grace was found!” Noah and grace in the same sentence, not something one would normally put together. According to the footnote in the Passion Translation, it is possible to translate this sentence, “Noah laid hold of grace in the eyes of Yahweh.” So, it was not the virtue of Noah that saved him, but the grace of God! This is the first mention of “grace” in Scripture.
It is also interesting to note the name “Noah” means rest. Really! Rest in the middle of turmoil? Yes! Rest is God’s idea and plan for man from the beginning. In the account of the creation story one phrase is repeated over and over. “Then there was evening and morning. . .” It is striking evening comes first. Most would say “morning and evening.” Most of us work during the day and rest in the evening. But God put rest before work. We were designed to work from the Source of Rest – God who would be and provide everything man needed for life.
Now for the New Testament.
But Christ proved God’s passionate love for us by dying in our place while we were still lost and ungodly! Romans 5:8 (TPT).
And, So the, the law was introduced into God’s plan to bring the reality of human sinfulness out of hiding. And yet, wherever sin increased, there was more than enough of God’s grace to triumph all the more! Romans 5:20 (TPT).
Are you weary, carrying a heavy burden? Then come to me. I will refresh your life, for I am your oasis. Simply join your life with mine. Learn my ways and you’ll discover that I’m gentle, humble, easy to please. You will find refreshment and rest in me. For all that I require of you will be pleasant and easy to bear. Matthew 11:28-30 (TPT).
Everything we could ever need for life and godliness has already been deposited in us by his divine power. For all this was lavished upon us through the rich experience of knowing him who has called us by name and invited us to come to him through a glorious manifestation of his goodness. 2 Peter 1:3 (TPT).
So we conclude that there is still a full and complete “rest” waiting for believers to experience. As we enter into God’s faith-rest life we cease from our own works, just as God celebrates his finished works and rests in them. Hebrews 4:9-10 (TPT).
Whether in the Old or the New Testament, wickedness, sin, and destruction can never do more than God’s superabundant, lavish, and unending grace to heal, restore, make new and give us rest. Our God is a God of grace and rest!