One of the most prominent characters in the Bible is Noah. He is listed among the faithful who obeyed God and built “an ark for the salvation of his household by which he condemned the world, and became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith,” (Hebrews 11:7, New American Standard Bible, NASB). If Noah would not have found grace in the eyes of the Lord (Genesis 6:8), the world would have probably turned out much differently. Perhaps all of humanity as well as all living creatures would have been completely washed from the face of the earth (Genesis 6:7). The LORD declared, “For I am sorry that I have made them.”
What could cause God to feel so grieved that he felt like sending a world-wide flood and wiping out all of mankind plus all animals which he’d created? In a nutshell, the world had become so corrupt that it was beyond recovery: “Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually,” (Gen. 6:5, NASB).
A major part of this problem of “wickedness” was the fact that the godly line of believers (a.k.a., “sons of God”) had mixed with the ungodly line of unbelievers (a.k.a., “daughters of men,”) (Genesis 6:1-4). Up until God sent the flood, those from the godly line like the descendents of Seth were able to keep the world reasonably safe and secure by obeying God’s teachings, “Then men began to call upon the name of the Lord,” (Gen. 4:26). But order was turned into chaos as soon as “the flesh” overcame “the Spirit”: “Then the LORD said, ‘My Spirit shall not strive [abide or rule] with man forever, because he also is flesh….’” (Gen. 6:3).
Lust of the flesh played a role toward provoking God and bringing on his impending judgment for it says, “The sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves, whomever they chose,” (v. 2). Some interpret the sons of God as angels according to various resources. If they are angels, however, then they are able to marry (“they took wives”) and breed offspring. But Jesus said that angels “…neither marry, nor are they given in marriage,” (Luke 20:34-38). But the breakdown of marriage was precisely one of the major problems in Noah’s day according to Jesus (Matt. 24:38). When human lust leads to sins that break up the sanctity of marriage and God’s plans for the home, society starts to fall apart.
Therefore, some Christian and Rabbinic literature interpret “sons of God” as the righteous line, e.g., the line of Seth. If so, it appears that not even the righteous could resist the craving for the flesh. It takes us back to Paul’s words in Galatians 5:17, “For the flesh craves what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are opposed to one another, so that you do not do what you want,” (Berean Study Bible, BSB).
When mankind had fallen into degradation and the flesh had finally overtaken the Spirit, a new breed of children were produced: “The Nephilim,” described as “…the mighty men who were of old, men of renown,” (Gen. 6:4). These are said to be “giants” or, at least, persons who were abnormally taller and stronger in stature. Generations after the flood, there was a group called by the same name due to similar characteristics. Because of the size and so forth of these people, the Israelites felt inferior, “like grasshoppers” to them, (Numbers 13:33). But, as we know, bigger is not always better as David demonstrated when he defeated Goliath (1 Samuel 17).
When society becomes so corrupt that God says, “I’ll have no more of this!” then you can be sure he will do something about it. Thankfully, there was righteous Noah who was the only person in the whole world who stood out to win God’s favor for NOT following the crowd:
Now the earth was corrupt in the sight of God, and the earth was filled with violence. God looked on the earth, and behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way upon the earth. Then God said to Noah, “The end of all flesh has come before Me; for the earth is filled with violence because of them; and behold, I am about to destroy them with the earth, (Gen. 6:11-13, NASB).
In addition to lust, we read that Noah’s world was filled with violence. Wherever there is evil there is usually violence so that no one feels safe anymore. One sin leads to another which is only natural when men’s hearts are continually evil (Mark 7:20-23). In due time, law and order lead to crime and disorder (James 4:1-3). If left to itself, the world would no longer be fit in which to live and everything would be destroyed. If not for Noah, and the Ark that he built according to God’s plans and specifications, no one would be saved.
There are a lot of lessons we can learn from Noah and the Ark. Here’s a humorous list of them that someone wrote:
Don’t miss the boat.
We are all in the same boat.
Plan ahead. It wasn’t raining when Noah built the Ark.
Stay fit. When you’re 600 years old, someone may ask you to do something big.
Don’t listen to critics; just do the job that needs to be done.
Build your future on high ground.
For safety’s sake, travel in pairs.
Speed isn’t always an advantage. The snails were on board with the cheetah’s.
When you’re stressed, float a while.
Remember, the Ark was built by amateurs; the Titanic by professionals.
No matter the storm, when you are with God, there’s always a rainbow waiting. (selected)
We could add another lesson to this list: Let Noah and the Ark be a reminder of Christ’s coming.
In the Gospels of Matthew (24:37-39), and Luke (17:26-27) Jesus is recorded to say that just as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be when he comes again. So, as in Noah’s day, in the day Christ comes there will be many problems. We can sum them up as global violence, uncontrolled carnality, drug and alcohol abuse, and an overall apathetic attitude toward morality.
Consider each of these examples: There are all kinds of violence in the world including domestic violence and abuse; gang violence; road rage, the spread of terrorism, international conflicts, and the like. Uncontrolled carnality ranges from the easy access of porn to the break down of families due to adultery and fornication, and an inclination toward materialism rather than spiritual values. Drug and alcohol abuse lead to deaths, illnesses, and disabilities not to speak of the ways they affect the economy and stability of society. There is also the problem of apathy toward the spiritual values that once were a priority in our institutions and industry. Materialism or money is usually the number one priority and so there is little or no time made for worship or respecting Christian values and practices in the secular world. It’s like, “who cares” anymore. It’s getting more difficult to publicly discuss what’s right and wrong because there’s more interest in being “politically correct” instead of “scripturally correct.” If Noah were alive today, he’d probably say all these situations look strikingly familiar.
No doubt, early church leaders would also agree our modern times are like the days of Noah as they warned what will happen before Christ comes: The Apostle Paul said that “in the last days difficult times will come,” and listed the kind of conditions we’re seeing in our time (2 Timothy 3:1-7). In making the connection with the Flood and the last days, the Apostle Peter warned that skeptics and mockers as well the ungodly, in general, will have the nerve to question the fact that Jesus is coming again (2 Pet. 3:1-9). Jude also wrote a similar warning (Jude 17-23). And the Apostle John wrote an entire letter known as “the Revelation of Jesus Christ” (Rev. 1:1), depicting from a vision what will take place prior to Christ’s return (Rev. 4:1-2). At then at the end of his letter, John issues a stern warning as to what will happen to anyone who “takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy.” And then he cites the testimony of Jesus, “Yes, I am coming quickly,” (Rev. 22:18-21).
The days of Noah is a serious reminder of our need to heed the Word of the LORD and his beloved Son through faith, hope, and love. Indeed, that last line in the lessons we learn from Noah and the Ark jumps out at me and hopefully for you: “No matter the storm, when you are with God, there’s always a rainbow waiting.” The rainbow of God’s coming kingdom is the key to weathering any storm we face in this mortal life. It gives us the reassurance that God has a great Day planned that will make us forget all about these difficult days in which we’re living now. That is why we pray along with John, “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.”
Here’s Tennessee Ernie Ford singing the classic spiritual, “Noah Found Grace in the Eyes of the Lord,” http://youtu.be/rDtjBeIktJ4
Good News to YOU!