Monday, 4 March 2019
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. Hebrews 11:7
The author now turns to Noah, and the account found in Genesis 6. He begins again with, “By faith Noah.” It is obvious from a single read through the life of Noah that he was a unique man, and a man of faith. Whereas the entire world was destroyed, he was saved. Thus, along with his seven family members, he became the new point from which the earth that is populated today stems from. In explaining how Noah lived by faith, he next says, “being divinely warned of things not yet seen.”
The word used signifies a prophetic oracle, and thus, “divinely warned,” is well rendered. One might ask, “How can it be counted as faith that Noah acted upon a divine oracle?” The question fails to take into account man’s responsibility in adhering to that divine word. A perfect example of not living by faith in what God has said in this manner is found in Numbers 20. There, Moses was told by the Lord to take his rod, go with Aaron, and speak to the rock. In doing this water would issue forth. However, instead of following the Lord’s word, it says –
“Then Moses lifted his hand and struck the rock twice with his rod; and water came out abundantly, and the congregation and their animals drank.” Numbers 20:11
From there, the response of the Lord came quickly –
“Because you did not believe Me, to hallow Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them.” Numbers 20:12
Moses “did not believe,” meaning “he lacked faith.” Therefore, faith is still required, even when the Lord speaks to His people. The reason this is so is because the Lord’s word pertains to things “not yet seen.” Noah had not yet seen, and yet he acted in faith. Moses had not yet seen and he failed to act in faith. In the case of Noah, he was “moved with godly fear.”
He was told by God in Genesis 6:13, “The end of all flesh has come before Me, for the earth is filled with violence through them; and behold, I will destroy them with the earth.” He could have said, “What? No way. How are You going to do that?” His words would imply that what he heard was too impossible to even imagine. But instead, it says he “moved with godly fear.” He heard the word, he believed it was true, and he acted upon that same word in a manner which the world around him must have thought was insane. He built an ark.
As the author says, he “prepared an ark for the saving of his household.” The ark was immense, it took a long time to build, and it would have taken an enormous amount of time and effort. But the Lord had spoken, and Noah accepted that what the Lord said would come about. Every saw of the wood, every hammer of the nail, and every application of bitumen would have been an act of faith. This was not works leading to salvation, but faith leading to salvation. His faith preceded his works, and they were the impetus for them. And it was this faith “by which he condemned the world.”
In his faith, he built the ark. Therefore, it is in his faith that he condemned the world. This same concept will be found in the tribulation saints. In Revelation 14:13, it says –
“Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’”
“Yes,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them.”
It is exactly what occurred with Noah. Faith preceded works, and thus the works which follow become deeds of faith. It is not works that justify, but the faith which precedes the works. They are works of faith. Thus, the righteousness of God is “from faith to faith” (Romans 1:17). The tribulation saints will be expected to act upon the divine oracle which has been given. When they do, they are promised that they too will condemn the world. Their reward is found in Revelation 20:4.
In Noah’s condemning of the world, he “became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.” Noah believed God, and God counted it to him for righteousness. It is exactly the pattern for what is said of Abraham (see Genesis 15:6). It is a righteousness not their own, but one imputed by God for faith. And this then is what is said of believers in Christ today as is recorded by Paul in Philippines 3:8, 9. It is the heart of the gospel message.
We look to Noah as a man of faith for having responded to the word of the Lord. We look to Moses in the same manner, except in the incident of Meribah. However, do we look to our own actions in this manner? The answer must be based on a single question, “Do I adhere to the word of God?” The same voice that spoke to Noah and to Moses speaks to us today through the pages of Scripture. We are either living in faith and acting upon it in accord with His instruction, or we are not. It is that simple.
Life application: Whether you believe the account of Noah is true or not is of the greatest importance in whether or not you are on sound footing in your doctrine. If you fail to accept the account of Noah as a literal occurrence, then your faith in the word of God is lacking. Likewise, if your faith in the Bible is lacking, then your knowledge of, and faith in, Jesus is lacking. If your faith in Jesus is lacking, your faith – whatever it is – very well may be in vain. Each point of this logic is interwoven with the next. If any part of the tapestry of your faith is missing, the entire fabric falls apart. How can such a claim be made from an otherwise incredible passage of the Old Testament? Because the New Testament states the account is true. Noah is recorded in 6 separate chapters of the New Testament, including Jesus’ genealogy and by the words of Jesus Himself –
“And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: 27 They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all.” Luke 17:26. 27
If Jesus was merely accommodating the audience by quoting a story He knew was false, then He is a liar and not the Son of God. Also, as the Bible records Jesus’ words and is the only source of our faith in Jesus, then if the account of what Jesus said isn’t true, we are still following a false Lord. Faith in what the Bible says leads us to Jesus. Faith in Jesus is what leads us to the Father. Be wise and have properly placed faith.
Lord, when you put it that way… When You tell us the account of Noah really happened, I need to accept it by faith. Keep my faith strong, O Christ, even in the difficult passages of the Bible. It is evident now how important it is to accept even the stories which seem incredible. Strengthen my faith that I may be pleasing to You! Amen.