By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith.
Hebrews 11:7 (NIV)
Read: Genesis 6:9-22
Consider: Noah is the next person Paul uses as an example of faith in action. You probably think you know the story of Noah and the ark, but it would be worthwhile refreshing your memory by reading Genesis 6:9 – 9:17
The Genesis account of Noah actually starts in Genesis 6:8, following on from an account of the wickedness God saw in the world. We are told in Genesis 6:8 – But Noah found favour in the eyes of the LORD.
Perhaps we should start by asking why Noah found favour in the eyes of God? Living in a very wicked time, it is clear that Noah lived his life ‘out of step’ with the cultural norms of the time. Genesis 6:9 tells us: Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God.
The Genesis account moves on from this brief statement to give us a very full account of the flood, Noah and the ark. It is important to notice from Noah’s life that he was not a young man when called by God to build the ark. Those of us who are older may look back enviously on the energy levels we had at one time, particularly in our twenties and thirties. Noah was much older, yet he was still willing and able to do what God asked him to do.
Put yourself in Noah’s place for a moment. He was far from the sea, he was a farmer with no experience of boat building or dealing with wild animals, yet God was asking him to build an ark and to collect together animals to save them from the flood. Imagine also the ridicule he must have suffered from those he lived alongside. While Noah was building the ark, it must have seemed to his neighbours that he was a madman. Finally the flood would come and the people would realise too late that they were lost.
The Genesis account tells us that Noah, his wife, his three sons and their wives entered the ark and were saved from the flood. Noah’s concern was not just for himself and his wife, but also for his immediate family.
I mentioned earlier that Noah was a farmer and this is clear from Genesis 9:20 where it tells us that after the flood: Noah, a man of the soil, proceeded to plant a vineyard. Contrast this with what is said in 2 Peter 2:5 – … he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others …
Peter is not contradicting the Genesis account. What he is saying is that Noah’s life spoke clearly of righteousness and his love for God. Noah stood out from the crowd in what he believed and how he lived.
Pray: Father, give us a real concern for our families. May we pray for their salvation daily, even when we see no evidence of their interest in you. Most of all, may our lives be a witness to those around us that we love you. Amen