“By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith” (Hebrews 11:7). In the beginning God set this in place: “These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens, And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground. But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground” (Genesis 2:4-6). It was not long before man had to till the ground (Genesis 3:23). Rain was not mentioned prior to the days of Noah. Certainly, flooding that could wipe out humanity was not something the earth had seen before. In the account of the flood we read: “…the windows of heaven were opened. And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights” (Genesis 7:11-12).
Think about what you just read. Generally speaking, if a person is warned to prepare for something that they’ve never considered possible; it is not likely that person would act. The warning for Noah was this: “And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth. Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch” (Genesis 6:13-14). After some details were given of how to construct the ark, God said: “And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die. But with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons' wives with thee” (Genesis 6:17-18). After further instructions, we read: “Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he” (Genesis 6:22). From there we continue to see that Noah obeyed God (Genesis 7:5; 7:9; 7:16).
For a few moments, think about Noah moving with fear. Salvation has to be worked out with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12). Moses told Israel: “Ye shall walk after the LORD your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him” (Deuteronomy 13:4). A certain Psalm says: “Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him” (Psalms 103:13). Another Psalm says: “The LORD is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth. He will fulfil the desire of them that fear him: he also will hear their cry, and will save them. The LORD preserveth all them that love him: but all the wicked will he destroy” (Psalms 145:18-20). So, fear worked for Noah as it does for all that need saved.
As a result of Noah’s faith and his fear, eight souls were saved by water (I Peter 3:20). Those eight souls were Noah, his wife, their sons, and the wives of their sons (Genesis 7:7). Those were the eight that were saved in the days the Lord flooded the earth. Think about how the inspired Apostle Peter refers to Noah: “And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly” (II Peter 2:5). We don’t have details about who Noah preached to. We don’t have details concerning what he said. The only details we have relative to the matter is that he saved his family.
What is one of the greatest roles a father has? Consider this: “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). Prior to the flood, Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God (Genesis 6:9). Obviously, he commanded the respect and honor of his family. His sons were not little boys either. They were married men. They still listened to their father. That speaks greatly of Noah and also of his sons. While they were to leave their mother and father and join themselves to their wives (Genesis 2:24), they did not cease to hear the counsel of their father. That is awesome! Solomon wrote: “My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother… Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding… A wise son heareth his father's instruction: but a scorner heareth not rebuke” (Provers 1:8, Proverbs 4:1, and Proverbs 13:1).
Salvation was not the only thing that occurred in the days of Noah. Obviously, for salvation to occur at all there has to be the reality of damnation too. Otherwise there would be nothing to be saved from. While Noah and his family were saved, the world was condemned and all other people living at that time perished. In the days of Noah, God had decided to destroy most created beings with a flood. From the time of that decision to the flood was one hundred twenty years (Genesis 6:3). So, how did Noah condemn the world? His faithfulness to God stood as a condemnation of others (cf. Luke 11:29-32).
With all of that, Noah is called an “heir of the righteousness” which was by his faith. Like Abraham, “For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith” (Romans 4:13). Noah believed God’s warning. He acted. Therefore, he inherited life thereafter. From then until Jesus returns to judge the living and the dead, Noah’s actions by faith live on to teach us all. Like Noah, we have to hear what the Lord has said and act accordingly. If we live after examples such as Noah, when this world is destroyed the final time we will have an inheritance beyond this world for all eternity (II Peter 3:1-14).
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