Out of the total population of the earth at around 2348 BC, only Noah was seen as righteous. Therefore Noah and his family were saved from a worldwide flood.
Then the Lord said to Noah, “Go into the ark, you and all your household, for I have seen that you are righteous before me in this generation. Take with you seven pairs of all clean animals, the male and his mate, and a pair of the animals that are not clean, the male and his mate, and seven pairs of the birds of the heavens also, male and female, to keep their offspring alive on the face of all the earth. For in seven days I will send rain on the earth forty days and forty nights, and every living thing that I have made I will blot out from the face of the ground.” And Noah did all that the Lord had commanded him. (Genesis Ch.7:1-5)
The world before the flood
1,656 years had passed, from when the first man was created to when Noah was saved. During that time the world had slowly deteriorated morally and politically. The people of the world showed ruthless indifference to the needs of others. There was widespread corruption of God’s ways and there was great violence. There had been those who were called sons of God as they did seek to obey God but as time passed they slowly succumbed to the evil environment they lived in.
However, Noah and his family kept their integrity before God. God had three times examined the world and each of these was followed by three warnings of coming judgment (Ch.6:3,7,13). In the final warning God declared that the end had come for the earth.
God has great mercy but this is combined with justice. For many years preaching and warning had been done to try and change the evil direction mankind was taking. However, mankind refused to changes its ways and eventually the end had to come.
And God said to Noah, “I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence through them. Behold, I will destroy them with the earth. (Genesis 6:13)
As a result, Noah was told to prepare for the flood that was about to cover the earth. This brings us to the verses quoted at the beginning of this article.
As can be seen from Genesis chapter 7 and verses 1 to 5 (see above), the people living on the world were to be destroyed but Noah and his family were exceptions. Noah was found to be righteous in God’s sight.
if He [God] did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly;… then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, (1 Peter 2: 5-9)
To be “righteous”, means being right in God’s eyes. It means obeying God, having the correct character which reflects God character (and Jesus character), and behaving in a way that is pleasing to God. It means having the correct attitude towards things.
God told Noah that he intended to destroy mankind because of their wickedness. God commanded Noah to build a ark. The ark was a large boat but was not like a ship we might see today – it did not have sails or a rudder. The purpose of the ark was to save the lives of those inside when the flooding started. The size of the ark is given in cubits but this translates to about 525 feet in length, 87 feet in breath and 52 feet in height. So it was a large boat capable of holding many living creatures.
The intention of the ark was to save life as God desires not the death of any, but that all should come to Him and live.
Say to them, As I live, declares the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die, O house of Israel? (Ezekiel 33:11)
But now the time had come, as the wicked had not turned back from their evil ways. God said to Noah: “For in seven days I will send rain on the earth forty days and forty nights, and every living thing that I have made I will blot out from the face of the ground”.
Noah and his family (eight people) entered into the ark. They were joined by seven pairs of clean beasts and birds, along with a pair of every unclean animal. The door of the ark was then closed so that no others could join them. All of those in the boat were now under the protection of God. Those outside must have started to realise the mistake they had made.
Making the decision – the consequences
We need to decide whether we are with Noah in the boat or outside it. Noah was taken into the protection of the boat before the flood came. So also will the friends of Jesus be gathered out of the nations before God finally punishes the world.
Come, my people, enter your chambers, and shut your doors behind you; hide yourselves for a little while until the fury has passed by. For behold, the Lord is coming out from his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity, and the earth will disclose the blood shed on it, and will no more cover its slain. Isaiah 26: 20-21
Those who choose Jesus will not completely escape the distress of the last days but they certainly will not be overwhelmed by it. God will ensure this.
It is a great reassuring feeling to know that you are protected by God. Noah had been faithful and obedient and as a result was given that protection by God. He was safe inside the ark when the storm and rain came. It rained for forty days and nights and, while everything was destroyed, the ark floated safely on the waters.
A year passed and Noah and his family were commanded to leave the ark into a new world. They took all of the living creatures that had been in the ark onto the dry land. Noah thanked God for delivering them from the flood.
What we can learn from the flood
We can learn three things from the flood:
God’s judgement can be seen in the flood
The judgement inflicted by God will come again on this earth in the future. There will never again be a flood of water but God will send His son, Jesus Christ, to purify the earth.
For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Matt.24: 37-39
They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.” For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly. (2 Peter 3: 4-7)
The Flood is a symbol of baptism
The sins of the old world were washed away by the flood. After the flood there was a “newness of life”. This same thing is done for us when we are baptised.
We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. (Roman 6:4)
Noah and his family were saved by water. Baptism through water now saves us as well.
For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, because they formerly did not obey, when God's patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water. Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him. 1 Peter 3: 18-22
Jesus Christ is our Ark
Back in the days of Noah the ark was built for safety and to preserve life. When we are baptised we enter into Christ who is our Ark of safety. With Christ in our lives there is security, peace and salvation.
When Jesus Christ returns to this earth in the future he will find it similar to the time of Noah. It will be place where the people go about their lives with very little acknowledgment of God. That is why it is important that we are like Noah and are obedient and faithful towards God. If we are then we will have God’s protection when punishment is brought against the rest of the world.
Noah found favour with the Lord God. He was a good man who was upright in the middle of a wicked people. As a result of him being righteous he was saved by God. He had faith in God’s promise and therefore obeyed God and built the ark. Because he was faithful he is included in a list of the faithful men of old.
By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith. (Hebrews 11:7)
Let us have faith like Noah and live a life of obedience to our God.