Noah is the title of a “religious” movie that came out of Hollywood several months ago. I have not seen it and therefore cannot comment on its scriptural accuracy. While the motives behind it may be questionable, God in His mercy may use the movie to turn skeptics to accept that a worldwide flood did occur. But who was Noah and what kind of spiritual legacy has he left us as Christians? And what has he to say to the unbeliever? We do not look to Hollywood for the truth, but to the Word of God. The Moral Condition Of The World Before The Flood “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” —Genesis 6:5 KJV
The world prior to the Flood had made tremendous progress in the areas of the arts, agriculture, manufacturing and music. Furthermore, according to the words of the Lord Jesus in Luke 17:26-27, “they did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all.” Outwardly, the sky was the limit for man in his quest to make himself comfortable upon earth.
But beneath the seemingly impressive exterior, God was looking at the heart of man – the corrupt moral spring from which things were proceeding. They had cast off all restraints and set their own moral standards. The people were not only corrupt, but the earth was filled with violence. God was grieved at His heart to see the wickedness of man and He could no longer allow things to continue without compromising His holy nature and intolerance of sin. “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth Me that I have made them” (Gen. 6:7). There was the dreadful verdict upon a sinful world.
God Provides A Way Of Escape
“And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before Me … 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
You may ask, “Why would God bother to provide a way of escape since He was going to destroy the world?” The answer lies in His nature. God is holy and therefore must act in judgment; but on the other hand God is merciful and does not desire the death of even one sinner. Therefore, the moment that He warned of judgment He provided a way of escape for any who would avail themselves of it. This refuge was the ark.
Before considering the ark let us take a look at Noah for he stood out like a beacon in the night. Scripture states that he was a just or righteous man, upright in his ways and that he walked with God (6:9). That last description is a fine picture of communion. When we walk in communion with God, He shares His thoughts with us. He did the same for Abraham when He said: “Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do?” (18:17). In like manner the Lord Jesus said to His disciples, “Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of My Father I have made known unto you” (Jn. 15:15). I have digressed a little, because it is an inestimable [priceless] privilege to enter into the secrets of God.
How did Noah respond to God’s instructions? Was it with skepticism? Did he say, “I am too busy”? Hear what the Scripture says: “By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet [it had never rained], 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” (Heb. 11:7). Noah’s obedience and godly fear urged him on in building the ark, while at the same time he preached righteousness – the righteousness of God in the judgment of sin and the salvation of God in providing the ark (See 1 Peter 3:19, 4:6). He became “an heir of righteousness by faith” and a “preacher of righteousness” by his works, for “faith without works is dead” (Jas. 2:20). It was Calvin, the reformer, who said: “It is faith alone that saves, but saving faith is not alone.” When Noah had completed the building of the ark there was plenty of room, but no takers of the offer of salvation. God told him to come in with his family. Once they were safely in, God shut the door of the ark.
The Whole Earth Destroyed By God’s Judgment–Flood
“And the flood was forty days upon the earth … and all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every man. All in whose nostrils was the breath of life.” —Genesis 7:17-22
It began to rain for the very first time and continued for forty days. I can imagine people calling out in fear for Noah to open the door of the ark, but it was too late – for when God shuts, who can open? The opportunity had passed. I imagine that they knocked on the side of the ark, but there was no response for they had spurned their chance. Everyone died except for Noah and his family. It was the judgment of God upon a world that had turned its back on Him and lived as though He did not exist – a world that disregarded the preaching of Noah and scoffed at his warning of impending judgment. The creature had rebelled against his Creator, and the sinner had nothing but contempt for the ark of safety that the Savior-God had provided.
Noah And His Family Exit The Ark
“And in the second month, on the seven and twentieth day of the month, was the earth dried … And God spake unto Noah, saying, Go forth of the ark … And Noah went forth, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons’ wives with him.” —Genesis 8:14-18
Noah and his family came out of the ark on dry ground – the ark that kept them safe through the flood waters of judgment had landed them on the mountains of Ararat. God had given them a new start and lease on life, and the earth was cleansed from the corruption and violence that had marred it. Scripture tells us that in a soon-coming day God is going to usher in new heavens and a new earth where righteousness dwells (2 Pet. 3:13). As Christians, we look forward to that time. In anticipation Peter challenges us with these words: “Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness” (2 Pet. 3:11).
Is There Any Relevance For Our Times?
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” —John 3:16
The ark was approximately 450 feet long and about 75 feet wide. It is a type of Christ, the all-sufficient Savior of sinners, sealed with pitch to keep out the rising waters of judgment. “Pitch” has the same meaning as “atonement,” and it is through the atoning death of Christ that God can be “just, and the justifier of all who believe on Jesus” (Rom. 3:26). As God told Noah to “make” an ark, we are reminded that Christ “was made in the likeness of men” (Phil. 2:7); that is, He took a body of flesh and blood in order to save us, for God is about to destroy this world again – not with a flood, but with fire. “But the heavens and the earth which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men” (2 Pet. 3:7). The world scoffed at God’s warning and provision of safety then, and its infidel voice is still heard today, saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation” (2 Pet. 3:4). The gospel is being preached, but man has become self-satisfied and self-sufficient. The people would rather listen to ungodly scientists who need the Savior just as they do. Or they would rather believe in the movie producers who often twist the truth in order to please an audience. Men and women will accept anything but Christ – the true Ark of safety.
Finally, Noah acted in obedience: He and his family believed God and were saved. They went forth to walk on dry ground, which is a picture of the “resurrection ground” on which we who believe have our standing. As God instructed them to be fruitful and multiply, so He is looking for fruitfulness in our lives. On the other hand all who have rejected Christ Jesus as Savior will stand before Him one day as their judge. The books are going to be opened and if your name is not found in the book of life you will be cast into the lake of fire (See Revelation 20:11-15).
If you have taken refuge in Christ your name is written in the book of life. Rejoice (Lk. 10:20), for you, like Noah, are an “heir of righteousness” by faith in Christ. What an example he has left us – and what a warning for all who are still not saved!
By Richard Barnett
With permission to publish by: Sam Hadley, Grace & Truth, 210 Chestnut St., Danville, IL., USA. Website: www.gtpress.org