“Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth.”
Genesis 9:1 NIV
How do you start over? As a Red Cross volunteer in Louisiana, following Hurricane Katrina, I worked with people who were starting over from scratch. Many had to find sanctuary in other states with extended family, or via relocation made possible by the invitation of strangers, churches, organizations, and communities.
One couple in the Red Cross shelter in Covington, LA was invited by Dennis and Emily Carroll to move to Anderson and live with them. Roy and Elizabeth Carrere, of New Orleans, came to Anderson with practically nothing. The Carrolls and the community of Anderson reached out and helped the Carreres make a new life for themselves.
But, there were no kin to take Noah and his family in; no Red Cross or FEMA assistance; no Christian Center, New Harvest Food Bank, Operation Love or Habitat for Humanity; no religious community; not even one caring stranger offering sanctuary. You are alone with a family to clothe and feed. Where do you begin?
The only guidance or instruction from God that we know about is, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.” You have God’s blessing and his covenant that he will never again destroy the earth by flood, but these are intangible things—you can’t build a shelter or plant and plow a field with them.
Therefore, you get busy procreating, but the pressure of having to be fruitful and multiply kind of takes the fun out of all that begetting. Human nature hasn’t changed and your progeny create all the same problems that existed prior to the flood. There are no wise elders around to advise and encourage you.
Granted, God has provided a food source for you, but you have no idea how to catch, butcher and prepare a zebra or monkey or hippo, especially when the critter is skittish and eludes your novice attempts to catch him. You have no way to start a fire because every tree and twig is waterlogged. Do you eat that bear, or possum or coyote raw, as you see all the animals doing?
I would like to think that if I were in Noah’s shoes, I would be grateful just to be alive—and off that stinky ark. I would hope that I would appreciate the new source of nourishment provided by God, whether I had to eat it raw or cooked.
However, it is more likely that I would quickly become a complainer, balking at my food choices, just as the Israelites turned up their noses at a steady diet of manna. I would feel resentful that I have to rebuild the world, AND the human race. “It’s not fair, God! Why couldn’t you have left a few of those evildoers alive to do all this work? After all, they’re the ones who reaped destruction on the earth and deserve to labor and toil, not me! I will most definitely be ‘too tired’ to procreate tonight, Lord—I feel a headache coming on.”
Judging from my rotten attitude, humanity still hasn’t changed a whole lot since Noah’s day. Thank God, for a gracious God who puts up with a whiner like me—now, that’s a God I can worship and praise!
Then Noah built an altar to the Lord and…
The Lord smelled the pleasing aroma and said in his heart:
"Never again will I curse the ground because of man.”