By the sixth chapter of Genesis, mankind had reached such abominable depths of depravity that God decided to wipe them out. “And God said to Noah, ‘I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence through them. Behold, I will destroy them with the earth,’” (Gen 6:13 ESV). He says I will destroy them. Future tense. It’s a promise. Not quite as uplifting as others, but nonetheless, it’s a promise.
God takes our mistakes very seriously. We have learned so much about grace that sometimes we may overlook how God views our sin. And even though God promised He would never destroy the earth with a flood again, it doesn’t mean His feelings towards sin have changed. He ends verse 17 with “Everything that is on the earth shall die,” (Gen 6:17b ESV). And then you see that beautiful conjunction, BUT. Conjunction junction, what’s your function? The whole world turns on that word: but.
“But I will establish my covenant with you…” (Gen 6:18a ESV). In the midst of His response to sin, the destruction of life as we know it, God’s concern was relationship with us. He brought us back to a dependant way of life, walking in step with Him. And I think that is always his goal when He punishes, when He disciplines. He desires us to walk closely with Him. And He takes everything that detracts from that walk very seriously.