Scripture Focus- Genesis 6-9
We are going back today, thousands of years in time to an age marked by turmoil, and confusion. Creation had begun in beauty and peace. But the beauty and peace began to disappear when sin came onto the scene. The skies were darkened, the ground was ravaged, violence and cruelty ruled the day. The seeds of all of this are found in the first five chapters of the Bible in Genesis.
No house built on a shaky foundation can stand, and the record of history is the collapse of one civilization after another. It is believed in the history of the earth there have been 21 or more civilizations, each one collapsing and giving way to a subsequent one. We should not be surprised to find in Scripture, the signs accompanying and preceding the collapse of a civilization. There is profound contemporary application here.
Jesus, in Matthew, linked the past and the present together. We are living in the days preceding the return of Jesus Christ, and should expect to find similar conditions as in the days of Noah.
Matthew 24:37-39 As the days of Noah were, so the coming of the Son of Man will be. For in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah boarded the ark. They didn’t know until the flood came and swept them all away. So this is the way the coming of the Son of Man will be.
Many in the world do not know much about the Bible, but most people are familiar with Noah’s Ark. There are paintings of it, movies about the search for an ark, children’s books, and more. Knowledge of the flood is universal even apart from the biblical account of the book of Genesis.
Isaiah the prophet took Noah seriously. Ezekiel the prophet took him seriously mentioning him twice as one of the three most righteous men in history. The writer of Chronicles, as well as Luke, includes Noah in the official genealogy of Jesus Christ. Peter mentioned Noah twice regarding him as an important figure in history.
We might suppose the only theme of the story is solely judgment and destruction. Judgment is a major theme, but even greater than judgment is the saving grace of God. We could also focus our attention on the details of the flood itself, and they are important. Our primary goal today is to consider the meaning of the flood, and the principles God would have us understand and apply to our lives.
We will approach the account of Noah, from this premise- The events of the flood happened just as the Bible records, historically and factually, and are completely true on all accounts. The events are for our warning and instruction.
Corruption is rooted in sin.
Wickedness ran rampant on the earth during those days, and was unusually intense and widespread. Wickedness always rules when people are united in opposition to God. God had made man in his own image, to respond with a heart of love for God’s love. Man’s wickedness was widespread on the earth and every scheme his mind thought of was nothing but evil all the time. (v5) People were completely and always evil. Wickedness grieves God.
The Lord regretted that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. (v6)
The language of regret and grief here, makes it seem like creation was a colossal error on the part of God. This is a powerful figure of speech however, which expresses in a vivid way the anger of God and the sadness of God over sin and the response of people toward him.
The earth was corrupt in God’s sight, filled with wickedness. God saw how corrupt the earth was, for every creature had corrupted its way on the earth. (vv11-12)
Men were rotten to the core. There was no restraint. The primary element of our sin is an independent spirit toward God. We are by nature and creation, dependent beings. We depend on God for all of life. The fallen nature denies this most important point, and tries to be self-sufficient.
Things have not changed in our fallen world. Romans 3:10-12 There is no one righteous, not even one. There is no one who understands, there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away all alike have become worthless. There is no one who does what is good, not even one.
While corruption is rooted in sin. . .
Judgment is rooted in righteousness.
God’s righteousness is the expression of his holiness. He is infinitely holy and is opposed to all sin. He acts according to his holy character.
Psalm 11:4 The Lord is in his holy temple, the Lord’s throne is in heaven. His eyes behold, his eyelids test the sons of men.
Psalm 99:5 Exalt the Lord our God and worship at his footstool. Holy is He.
Nobody can be righteous on their own, it only comes as a gift from God. Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him as righteousness. The same was true for Noah.
Noah was a righteous man (v9). He conformed to God’s standard. God was pleased with him because he took God at his Word, and met God’s expectations. In an impure world, Noah was pure.
Noah was blameless among his contemporaries. He was complete with no essential quality missing. The temptations must have been major in that culture. Noah walked with God. He had close fellowship with God. In a world that dismissed God, Noah walked with God.
Noah was a preacher of righteousness (2 Peter 2:5) though apparently nobody responded to his preaching other than his own family.
Noah was a family man. He fathered three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
Wouldn’t you like to be remembered this way?
To be faithful as a Christian in an evil day, you have to learn to stand alone. We face relentless pressure to go along with the crowd on the broad road.
The character of Noah’s life was based more on his faith in God than fear. Noah did not know judgment was coming until God told him. The quality of Noah’s life came from faith, not works.
Hebrews 11:7 By faith, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.
Among the heroes of faith recorded in Hebrews 11, it is only Noah whose description both begins and ends with the phrase “by faith” (Hebrews 11:7).
The word of judgment came to Noah. God told Noah he was about to put an end to every creature, because the earth was filled with wickedness. (v13)
Isaiah 26:9 My soul yearns for you in the night; in the morning my spirit longs for you. When your judgments come upon the earth, the people of the world learn righteousness.
God’s wrath is his holiness in action against sin. J.I. Packer-“God’s wrath in the Bible is never the capricious, self-indulgent, irritable, morally ignoble thing that human anger so often is. It is, instead, a right and necessary reaction to objective moral evil.”
While judgment is rooted in righteousness. . .
Deliverance is rooted in grace.
Noah found favor with the Lord (v8). He found grace in the eyes of the Lord.
This is the first time the word grace to favor appears in the Bible. In the darkest times, grace shines through.
Noah was to make an ark of gopher wood. The ark was to have rooms in it and cover the inside and outside with pitch. The ark was to be 450 feet long, 75 feet wide, and 45 feet high. The sides were to be finished within 18 inches of the top leaving an opening. The ark was to have one door and have lower, middle, and upper decks. They were to bring onto the ark two of all living creatures, male and female, to keep them alive, and seven pairs of clean animals- Birds, livestock animals, all of them.
The instructions given for the ark were precise. Gopher wood was used with pitch to seal it. The word “pitch” (Hebrew kopher) is the equivalent to the Hebrew kaphar, to cover, and in the noun form, means simply a “covering.” It is also the regular Hebrew word for “atonement” as in Leviticus 17:11. This is the first mention of “atonement” in the Bible. The pitch served as a covering for the Ark, to keep out the water. The blood of the sacrifice is our covering or atonement.
Henry Morris-“With the dimensions as calculated, the total volumetric capacity of the Ark was approximately 1,400,000 cubic feet, which is equal to the volumetric capacity of 522 standard livestock cars such as used on modern railroads. About 240 sheep can be transported in one stock car, a total of over 125,000 sheep could have been carried in the Ark.” The size of the ark seems appropriate for the animals it had to carry.
Noah heard God and obeyed. He did what God told him to do. (v22)
God was calling throughout the entire way for people to turn from wickedness and resist evil. God explained he was bringing a flood on the earth to destroy every creature under heaven with the breath of life in it. Everything on earth would perish (v17). Because of grace humanity would be spared through Noah and his family. The only hope for the world then was the grace of God and it still is. Noah was to enter the ark with his sons, wife, and sons’ wives (v18).
Genesis 7-8 tells the story of the flood. The rain would fall, for 40 days and 40 nights. When the flood is referred to in the New Testament the word is kataklusmos, indicating a worldwide flood, unique in all of history.
Noah and his family entered the ark and seven days later the floodwaters came. It had never rained before, and all of a sudden it rained for forty days and forty nights, and even the mountains were covered. Every creature perished and God wiped out every living thing on the face of the earth. The waters prevailed on the earth for 150 days and then began to subside. Five months after the flood began, the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat.
The rocking of the boat stopped. God told Noah to come out of the ark with his family. Noah built an altar to the Lord (8:20). He offered a burnt offering to the Lord. God made a solemn promise that he would never again curse the ground or destroy every living thing as he had done with a flood.
God’s sign of grace is the rainbow. Ch 9:12-17
The bow will be in the clouds, and I will look at it and remember the permanent covenant between God and all the living creatures on earth. Genesis 9:16
When a storm is over, a rainbow appears, reminding us of our promise keeping God.
Christ is our deliverer.
Romans 3:23 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
Hebrews 9:27-28 And just as it is appointed for people to die once, and after this, judgment, so also Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are willing to wait for him.
Titus 2:11-14 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, instructing us to deny godlessness and worldly lusts and to live in a sensible, righteous, and godly way in the present age, while we wait for the blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ. He gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to cleanse for himself a people for his own possession, eager to do good works.