Why did God wait 120 years to destroy the earth by the flood?

God saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually (Genesis 6:5). There was no more good left in humanity. This was so because people chose to be ignorant of God’s love (2 Peter 3:5). Yet, the Lord did not immediately bring sentence upon the antediluvians. He declared, “My spirit shall not always strive with man,” and He gave them 120 years more to live (Gen. 6:3).

The Holy Spirit withdrawn from the earth

This meant that the Holy Spirit will continue working a little longer, and would later be withdrawn from fallen people. Even God’s patience has an end. The aposlte Peter wrote about the ministry of the Spirit for the antediluvians, saying that the Spirit of Christ preached to these prisoners of Satan hoping that they will repent (1 Peter 3:18–20).

At the end of that period, when nothing more could be achieved by God’s Spirit striving with sinful hearts (Ezekiel 33:11), the day of mercy came to an end. Men themselves have ended their probation by their rejection of the pleadings of the Spirit of God (Luke 10:16).

God is merciful

God wants all people to be saved (1 Timothy 2:4) for He is gracious, and long-suffering (Ex. 34:6, 7; Eze. 18:23, 32; 33:11; 2 Peter 3:9). In fact, destruction is called His strange act (Isaiah 28:21). But at the same time, He will “by no means clear the guilty” (Ex. 34:7). Sometimes divine justice takes a long time and people assume that it will never come (Eccl. 8:11; Zeph. 1:12; Mal. 2:17; 3:14), and they continue their evil ways with impunity.

But He will not save the unrepentant

The Bible assures us that at the end, God will punish the wicked (Rev. 19:11–21) for a world without justice is a world with total anarchy. And people will see God acting in a role that will appear very different from anything they have known before. For the Lamb of God will then come as “the Lion of the tribe of Juda” (Rev. 5:5, 6) to administer justice to the wicked and deliver His children from oppression.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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