The Flood of Noah
Introduction: Here we are… 7th chapter into the Bible and another seemingly incredulous story. We’ve come across others though. The six days of creation presented a problem with today’s thinking about evolution and things being billions of years old.
We talked about man being created from the dust instead of evolving from slime, and then woman being created from a rib of man. We’ve peered into the account of men who lived almost a thousand years and we’ve seen people grow to be immense in size.
All of these things have been coming at us so quickly in the book of beginnings. And now we’re going to look into the Flood of Noah. It’s a story most people know about and yet it’s so hard for us to accept. Is the story true?
The Bible is the foundation of our lives and Genesis is the foundation of the Bible. It would be incredulous for God’s word to start a bunch of myths, exaggerations, or lies.
Last week we looked at verses which confirmed that the New Testament writers believed that this story was 100% true. And this includes Jesus our Lord as well. He spoke of Noah as a real person and the account as literal. And so we are left with only 2 possibilities – either He was merely accommodating His audience, or He was telling us that the account is truth.
If you believe, as I do, that Jesus is God incarnate and the basis of our faith, then you cannot say He was accommodating His audience; the Lord doesn’t lie. We, as believers in the word of God, are left with the only possible answer concerning the question as to whether the flood really occurred or not. It did.
And it is a story of immense love and faithfulness in the midst of judgment – love for the work of the Creator’s hands and faithfulness to those who have been likewise just, righteous, and above all faithful.
Text Verse: “For a mere moment I have forsaken you,
But with great mercies I will gather you.
8 With a little wrath I hid My face from you for a moment;
But with everlasting kindness I will have mercy on you,”
Says the Lord, your Redeemer.
9 “For this is like the waters of Noah to Me;
For as I have sworn
That the waters of Noah would no longer cover the earth,
So have I sworn
That I would not be angry with you, nor rebuke you. Isaiah 54:7-9
May God speak to us through His word today and may His glorious name ever be praised.
I. Noah was a Righteous Man
Then the Lord said to Noah, “Come into the ark, you and all your household, because I have seen that you are righteous before Me in this generation. 2 You shall take with you seven each of every clean animal, a male and his female; two each of animals that are unclean, a male and his female; 3 also seven each of birds of the air, male and female, to keep the species alive on the face of all the earth. 4 For after seven more days I will cause it to rain on the earth forty days and forty nights, and I will destroy from the face of the earth all living things that I have made.” 5 And Noah did according to all that the Lord commanded him. 6 Noah was six hundred years old when the floodwaters were on the earth.
Noah was righteous before God in his generations. What does this mean in the context of the Bible and what are we to learn from it?
The free on-line dictionary, which means I didn’t have to pay a penny to get you this, defines “righteous” this way – “moral. concerned with principles of right and wrong or conforming to standards of behavior and character based on those principles; “moral sense”; “a moral scrutiny”; “a moral lesson”; “a moral quandary”; “moral convictions”; “a moral life.”
There are lots of other definitions out there which would suffice, but this one is particularly good because it continuously repeats the word “moral.” If Noah was righteous before God in his generation, then that righteousness deals with Noah’s morality being aligned with God’s morality. How can you know this?
Morality must stem from somewhere. If I love my wife, that didn’t come out of an apple tree. Instead, it came from somewhere else and is defined based on a perfect standard. Love doesn’t simply occur by chance. And it’s true for all other moral virtues.
If someone bumps into my car with their car through negligence, I will get upset. Why? Because there is a sense of justice and righteousness in me. And that is based on a perfect standard of these things. If this wasn’t the case, then we would bounce off each other like bumper cars and it wouldn’t matter…but it does.
I argue against abortion; someone else argues for it. The very fact that we are concerned about the issue at all is because there is a standard on which we are arguing. One is closer to this standard and one is further from it, but it most certainly exists.
If an objective law, such as truth, justice, or Noah’s righteousness exists independent of our individual minds – and it does – then it must come from a perfect Mind.
Someone might say, “I disagree, everything is meaningless.” What’s the problem with that? It’s self-defeating, because the statement is assumed to be meaningful. Even when we try to get away from meaning, we only demonstrate more meaning.
This isn’t meant to be an exercise in philosophy, but an explanation of why Noah was righteous in his generation. It was because his moral code and his moral standard which was aligned with that of the Creator. This is what we need to know about the account to understand it in the context in which it is given.
Remember what it said in
Genesis 6. There we had three important verses –
Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations.
But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.
This is what God wants us to know at this point in the story. But maybe there’s more God wants us to infer if we’re looking at things with open eyes.
What was it that Adam needed in order to be clothed by God after the fall? What was it that made Abel’s offering more acceptable than Cain’s? What was it that led to men calling on the Lord at the end of Chapter 4? What was it that made Methuselah’s parents give him a prophetic name about the flood to come?
All of these were based on faith. So in the three verses we just read from chapter 6, we can infer that the wickedness of man on the earth was from a lack of faith. We can also infer that Noah was considered righteous by faith. And we can infer that the grace he received was because of this faith.
Noah’s morality came from faith and therefore it was properly directed morality. Not everyone who opposes abortion does it because they believe that it is God’s standard. It is based on God’s standard, we already saw that, but it is the faith in the fact that it’s God’s standard that makes the decision righteous with God. Not that fact that the standard is held.
If an atheist doesn’t believe in abortion, it means nothing to God. He might as well eat children for breakfast. Only when faith and deeds are working together are they acceptable to God. In other words, the deeds are – by definition – deeds of faith. As Paul says, “For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘The just shall live by faith.’” Of all the people on earth at his time, Noah was this man.
Last week, Noah built an ark. Was that based on faith or sight? It was faith. God said the flood was coming and Noah could have said, “Flood, flood, what flood? Get out of my head you voice about the flood.” Instead, without ever having seen such a flood, he began to build an ark.
Remember Hebrews 11 – “By faith Noah, 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.”
So Noah was faithful in his life and he responded faithfully to the divine warning with more faith. After responding by building an ark, we saw in verses 2-6 that Noah was told to fill the ark with the animals sent to him by God and that he was 600 years old at that time. This was 1656AM and the flood was coming in just 7 days
II. Noah was an Obedient Man
7 So Noah, with his sons, his wife, and his sons’ wives, went into the ark because of the waters of the flood. 8 Of clean animals, of animals that are unclean, of birds, and of everything that creeps on the earth, 9 two by two they went into the ark to Noah, male and female, as God had commanded Noah.
In obedience to the divine command, Noah entered the ark. And with him went the animals and birds and everything that creeps on the earth. Every creeping thing that creeps on the earth doesn’t mean that politicians were carried along. Instead, it’s speaking of reptiles.
10 And it came to pass after seven days that the waters of the flood were on the earth. 11 In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. 12 And the rain was on the earth forty days and forty nights.
13 On the very same day Noah and Noah’s sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth, and Noah’s wife and the three wives of his sons with them, entered the ark— 14 they and every beast after its kind, all cattle after their kind, every creeping thing that creeps on the earth after its kind, and every bird after its kind, every bird of every sort. 15 And they went into the ark to Noah, two by two, of all flesh in which is the breath of life. 16 So those that entered, male and female of all flesh, went in as God had commanded him; and the Lord shut him in.
Again and again in these 9 verses, Noah’s obedience is brought up. Noah was an obedient man. He was told to build the ark and he built it. It would have taken a long time, a lot of effort, and more than probably a lot of verbal abuse. I can see the conversations around the morning coffee table. But through it all, Noah obeyed.
“Noah you crazy nut, with all the wood you’ve used for that box, you could have built a tower to heaven. Saaaaay, now that I mention it, that might be a good project sometime. Flood, Noah you are a loony toon extraordinaire…”
Noah, you’re nuts wasting all those trees
And spending your time doing crazy stuff
There ain’t no such thing as riding the high seas
And all the water in the world wouldn’t be enough
To float that big box even an inch off the ground
Hmmm, what’s that rumbling Noah, what is that sound?
As I was saying, your work is all in vain
And those animals are going to eat you poor
There’s no such thing as what you’re calling “rain”
But those clouds are looking strange outside the door
Anyway Noah, stop being such a fool and preaching to me
I love you, but your plains old nuts you see
Judgment and punishment what are you talking about?
What is this “living holy” stuff you’re speaking in my ear?
Just a minute, I’m going to the door to shut the weather out
Them big old clouds are starting to come near.
Where you going Noah? To that ark over there?
Well, have fun and I’ll see you when you come out again
Hmmm what’s this wet stuff coming from the air?
This can’t be what Noah’s been calling “rain”
Hooo Noah, let me into your box
I’m getting awful spooked out here
The water is getting up to my sox
And it’s quickly getting higher I fear…
I can’t even begin to express to you how important the concept of obedience is to God. Obedience is what leads to life, happiness, and a close and personal walk with God. On the other hand, there is disobedience. It leads to loss, sadness, punishment, death, and condemnation.
This is the reality of the situation. When we aren’t obedient, we only bring troubles on ourselves. When we’re obedient, then barring time and chance, things will always be better off.
How important is obeying the word of God? The Bible is replete with the results of disobedience. Saul, the first king of Israel, lost the right to the kingship because of it. And he, his sons, and his progeny after them died because of it. Samuel laid it out to Saul after his act of disobedience:
So Samuel said:
“Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices,
As in obeying the voice of the Lord?
Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,
And to heed than the fat of rams.
23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft,
And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.
Because you have rejected the word of the Lord,
He also has rejected you from being king.”
Disobedience is unrighteousness because it’s demonstrating a lack of faith. There’s that word again. It doesn’t matter what biblical passage or issue we look at, the word faith will inevitably appear.
Even in what animals are brought on, we see faith. Noah was told to bring two of every animal onto the ark, but 7 of every clean animal onto the ark. But the Bible to this point hasn’t stated which were clean and which weren’t.
This has lead modern scholars to claim that those verses were inserted later by the priests of Israel. But there is no reason at all to come to this conclusion. Here’s what one commentary has to say –
“For the distinction between clean and unclean animals did not originate with Moses, but was confirmed by him as a long established custom, in harmony with the law. It reached back to the very earliest times, and arose from a certain innate feeling of the human mind…”
Because no divine command has yet been given about which animals were clean, the commentary correctly states that there was an innate understanding in man of what was and wasn’t appropriate for sacrifice. The Law of Moses was a direct command from God and built upon already established customs. We can’t read more into it than that.
It was now the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, and it says the flood waters came in the second month on the seventeenth day of the month. This would have been the October/November time frame around the autumnal equinox.
While the world was sowing its next harvest, Noah was preparing for something different. While the world was probably worshipping the alignment of the heavenly bodies, Noah was worshipping the Lord. While the world was anticipating its next harvest, Noah was anticipating a flood.
On that very day, all the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. And it says that the rain was on the earth forty days and forty nights.
The world was a probably a bit smaller than it is now. And the Bible says, it originally had a large amount of water in underground cavities and it also had a frozen canopy above it. When these things broke open, a global flood was the result.
If you ever look at a geologic map of the earth, it looks a lot like a baseball. At one time, it didn’t, but when the earth burst its seams, it fractured the plates at the points where the water pressure had built up. Since that time, these plates have continued to move and the world has increased in circumference.
The frozen canopy would have come under this pressure as well, and along with the water being spewed into the atmosphere, the rains coming down for forty days is entirely plausible. The larger earth and the lack of a canopy over the earth would certainly account for many of the changes in how things are after the flood.
Noah was setting out on the world’s greatest seagoing adventure because Noah was an obedient man.
III. Noah was a Patient Man
17 Now the flood was on the earth forty days. The waters increased and lifted up the ark, and it rose high above the earth. 18 The waters prevailed and greatly increased on the earth, and the ark moved about on the surface of the waters. 19 And the waters prevailed exceedingly on the earth, and all the high hills under the whole heaven were covered. 20 The waters prevailed fifteen cubits upward, and the mountains were covered. 21 And all flesh died that moved on the earth: birds and cattle and beasts and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, and every man. 22 All in whose nostrils was the breath of the spirit of life, all that was on the dry land, died. 23 So He destroyed all living things which were on the face of the ground: both man and cattle, creeping thing and bird of the air. They were destroyed from the earth. Only Noah and those who were with him in the ark remained alive. 24 And the waters prevailed on the earth one hundred and fifty days.
I’ve read through these verses probably 50 or more times and until I read them again before typing these very words, I’d never thought about the people as they were. It was always distant.
The flood was coming to save Noah and destroy the wicked. But it became personal when I thought about those people from the perspective of the people around me and the people I love who aren’t believers.
These were real human beings – probably billions of them, just like the people we pass on the streets every day. They were just like the old boyfriend or girlfriend we used to date and to whom we still think about when our minds are still.
They were just like the people who are so dear to us at work and those we see in our neighborhoods. I have friends all around the world from my life’s travels and I’ve made so many more since the electronic age. They are all humans, with real beating hearts, real hopes, desires, and aspirations. And every one of them is either in Adam or in Christ. Those are the only two choices.
Noah was a patient man. He certainly preached to those he loved right up until the flood. He did it through words and he did it by his actions. And even today he is preaching by those actions to the people who will listen. He was patient in waiting on the Lord’s timing and his patience must have included immense sadness.
If I were to consign the world to destruction while being saved out of that destruction, my heart would be breaking for these people. I’d be telling them about God, about His love for the world, about living righteously, and about His Son, Jesus Christ. This is what I’d be doing if those I loved so much were on the highway to eternal separation from God and consignment to hell.
Wait a minute… the world is consigned to destruction and some people are going to be saved out of it. And I am one of them. I need to start telling people about God, about His love for the world, about living righteously, and about His Son, Jesus Christ.
This is what I need to be doing if I really love those people. Oh God, give me a heart for the lost again. Give me the desire to tell what You have done by granting us pardon from sin through the blood of Jesus. Break my heart once again, O God.
When the waters came, Noah had to be patient again. Whether or not he heard the people outside the boat he knew what was happening and he had to patiently endure the loss of every one of the people he knew – certainly many in his immediate family of brothers and sisters, uncles and aunts, and cousins.
People he played with as children and people he grew up with. He probably patiently waited through many painful memories. Imagine our own lives and the people we’ve loved and lost. How crushed we were at the time.
The pains fade, but the memories never do. Noah was probably thinking about the many thousands of people who had come into his life – memory after memory as the waters rose.
And he had to be patient at sea too. The rains came for 40 days and the waters prevailed for 150. All this time, he and his seven family members had to wait in the quiet solitude within the raging waters.
We read that the waters prevailed exceedingly on the earth, and all the high hills under the whole heaven were covered. 20 The waters prevailed fifteen cubits upward, and the mountains were covered.
This wasn’t a localized flood as skeptics try to claim. This was a global flood and every high hill and every higher mountain was covered and even submerged. Fifteen cubits is almost 25 feet. Even the tallest of the Nephilim standing on the top of the highest mountain couldn’t prevail over the waters which flooded the earth.
And so everything died. Listen again to the terminology the Bible uses, “And all flesh died that moved on the earth: birds and cattle and beasts and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, and every man. 22 All in whose nostrils was the breath of the spirit of life, all that was on the dry land, died.”
The Bible said it this way to remind us of the creation account – “birds and cattle and beasts and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, and every man.” In other words, in Genesis 1, these were all created by God and it means that He has every right to do as He directs with them. The air in their nostrils which is the breath of the spirit of life was given by God and now it was being taken away.
Only a perverse and disconnected heart would find fault with the Creator concerning how he handles His own creation. Yes, but we do. Each of us does in one way or another. Our friend dies and we find fault. Our husband or wife or child gets a disease or in an accident and becomes an invalid and we find fault. Our favorite pet dies and we find fault.
All things have an end and mixed with joy is sadness and loss. This is the world we live in and we’re asked to lift our eyes at those times and react in a way which acknowledges God’s sovereignty.
After losing everything but a nagging wife the Bible says,
Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and worshiped. 21 And he said:
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
And naked shall I return there.
The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away;
Blessed be the name of the Lord.”
Like Job, Noah was a patient man. Noah waited and he was rewarded with inheriting a new world and a new start.
And waiting on the Lord isn’t a concept unique to Noah. Rather it is something that the Bible refers to dozens of times and in many contexts. There are examples of people who do wait on the Lord and of those who don’t wait on the Lord. You know where the reward is though.
The psalms especially are filled with people waiting on the Lord – people in distress, people undergoing trials, people hemmed in from all sides. But you’ll always find the end of the waiting to be in the secure and loving arms of the Lord. In the 27th Psalm David says that there is no other place like those arms –
I would have lost heart, unless I had believed
That I would see the goodness of the Lord
In the land of the living.
14 Wait on the Lord;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the Lord! Psalm 27:13, 14
And Jeremiah the prophet doesn’t just wait on the Lord as if He’s some type of cosmic candy giver like so many expect. Instead, he hearkens back to Him being the Creator and sustainer. It is this loving God who Jeremiah calls out to –
Are there any among the idols of the nations that can cause rain?
Or can the heavens give showers?
Are You not He, O Lord our God?
Therefore we will wait for You,
Since You have made all these. Jeremiah 14:22
And in the New Testament, there is the calm assurance of the coming of Jesus to set things right in what I believe is one of the few truly prophetic verses of the New Testament outside of the gospels and Revelation –
7 Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. 8 You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. James 5:7, 8
James asks us to be patient and to wait on the coming of the Lord and then he cites the farmer waiting patiently for the early and latter rains. Israel has lacked the latter rains for the past 2000 years. When the Romans when into the land and destroyed it and exiled the people, they cut down all of the trees for their siege works.
Because of this, it changed the seasonal climate so that the rain cycle stopped. But since the return of Israel to her land, they have planted millions of trees and brought back both the early and the latter rains. James says that this is the time to establish our hearts because the coming of the Lord is at hand.
Noah was a righteous man, he was an obedient man, and he was a patient man, but the Bible says that he has yet to receive the promise he waited for. Hebrews tells us so. There we see that he and the other saints of old…
“…died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. 14 For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. 15 And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.”
A city has been prepared for the people of God. Take a look around you at the world with all its beauty. Look at the magnificence of the universe and the splendor of what God has done. Six days. He did it all in just six days. When Jesus left us 2000 years ago, He said this to the apostles –
In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.
God did all of this in six days. Jesus has been preparing a house with many mansions for 2000 years. Just imagine what He’s put together for us.
And how do we receive our mansion. He tells us in the same book of John in the very same chapter –
4 And where I go you know, and the way you know.” 5 Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?” 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
The Flood of Noah
Get into the ark Noah, you and your household too
Because I have seen you righteous before Me
The waters are coming and the ark will protect you
And I will remember you as you float upon the sea
You are righteous in this wicked generation
Of all the people on the earth, you’re the only one
But you O Noah are not an aberration
In fact you and the ark prefigure my own Son
Bring in the animals, bring them in two by two
Except the clean ones, of those seven you shall bring
They will keep the species alive just as you will do
And the contents of the ark will start a whole new thing
Seven days more and will come the flood upon the earth
And every living thing outside, I will destroy
Right now they’re laughing and making noises of mirth
But in just a week, there will be no more joy
Noah was 600 when the rains finally came
Along with him were his wife, sons, and daughters-in-law
And for 4000 years we have remembered his name
Because God in Noah, righteousness He saw
On the 17th of the second month, the waters were on the earth
The fountains of the great deep were broken apart
And the windows of heaven opened, ceasing all the mirth
That’s the day God’s great judgment had its start
For 40 days and 40 nights, the rains continued to fall
But not until the Lord had shut the ark’s door
All because Noah on the name of the LORD did call
He and his kin were safe from the torrential downpour
Every thing with breath in its nostrils died
Out of them went the precious spark of life
I’m sure Noah inside the ark often sadly sighed
Along with his children and along with his wife
The water prevailed on the earth 150 days
And even the highest mountains were covered in the deep
Even to 15 cubits, they were hidden so are God’s ways
When His judgment is aroused as if woken from a sleep
There is a true Ark pictured by the one Noah made
It’s the safety of Jesus, our great and awesome Lord
Trust in Him and His security will never fade
He will protect you by the power of His eternal word
Oh I love You Lord Jesus, saving one such as me
And so I come before you, humbled heart and on bended knee
Use me, please, as a tool in your unfolding plan
Of the love of God and the blessed redemption of man
Hallelujah and amen.
Next week we’ll look over, Genesis 8:1-19 – Then God Remembered Noah. Take time to read those verses before we meet again.