There is much to be said for obeying God. We are saved by grace and sustained by grace. So our obedience is not to gain favor with God. Our obedience is because we have been shown favor by God. It is a love response to his goodness in our lives. In Genesis 6, Noah is described in verse 9 as “a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God.” We can learn some helpful lessons about obedience from Noah’s life. There is a statement of central importance in v22 “Noah did this; he did all that God commanded him.” He followed the leading of God in all that he commanded him to do.
Obedience is dependent on who we are from God’s perspective. Noah was a righteous man and I believe he was righteous because he believed in God as Abraham did, and God counted him as righteous. If you put your faith in Jesus Christ, God declares you righteous. When you are declared righteous, God sees you through the imputed righteousness of Jesus. It is from this foundation that you can do what pleases God. Noah is also described in 1 Peter 3:20 as a herald of righteousness. He proclaimed the righteousness of God to his own family and to the wicked world in which he lived.
Obedience is not dependent on the circumstances around us. Noah lived in the midst of a wicked generation. The earth was corrupt in God’s sight and filled with violence. It would have been easy for Noah to get caught up in all of the evil around him but he did not. He remained focused on his relationship with God. He walked with God.
Obedience is not dependent on knowing everything that will come to pass. It had never even rained before and God told Noah to build the ark. Noah proceeded, step by step, in what God told him to do. Sometimes our obedience is hindered because we are unable to see the big picture. God sees everything and our faith must rest in him. Do what you know to do and God will show you the way.
Obedience is not easy. Can you imagine the uncertainty Noah faced? Can you imagine the human emotions of seeing the fury of the storm and the waters rise as they did? This was for an extended period of time. Obedience is not easy when the storm rages around us but it is necessary.
Obedience does not mean perfection. Not long after the flood, Noah planted a vineyard, made wine, and got drunk, and lay uncovered in his tent (Genesis 9). This was not advisable. We are not provided the details of how he dealt with that situation in his personal walk with the Lord, but we are reminded that righteous and obedient people can make pure decisions in the flesh. We need to be on guard against this.
Noah is mentioned in Hebrews 11:7 “By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this, he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.”
Noah was a man who obeyed God in reverent fear. May we do the same as we walk with God.