“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. 6 And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. 7 And the LORD said, 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. 8 But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD. 9 These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God” (Genesis 6: 5-9)
The tenth in descent from Adam, Noah was the son of Lamech and the grandson of Methuselah, the oldest man who ever lived (969 years). Nothing is recorded of Noah till he was 500 years old when his first son was born (Gen 5: 32). His three sons were Shem, Ham and Japheth. Noah was 600 years old when the flood came. He died at the age of 950 (Gen 7: 6; 9: 28-29).
Noah lived in a morally degenerative time and age. We are told three times in Genesis 6: 11-12 that the earth was very corrupt: “The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.”
His father Lamech named him “Noah” meaning “rest”– perhaps in the hope that he would be a blessing to his generation: “This same shall comfort us concerning our work and toil of our hands, because of the ground which the LORD hath cursed” (Gen 5: 29).
o Noah – “A just man and perfect”
In describing his godly character, the Bible tells us that “Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord” (v 8). While his generation was corrupt, Noah kept his integrity. He was upright in heart – “Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God” (v 9). God was displeased with the rest of the world, but He showed special favour to Noah.
“This vindicates God’s justice in his displeasure against the world, and shows that he had strictly examined the character of every person in it before he pronounced it universally corrupt; for, there being one good man, he found him out, and smiled upon him. It also magnifies his grace towards Noah that he was made a vessel of God’s mercy when all mankind besides had become the generation of his wrath: … Probably Noah did not find favour in the eyes of men; they hated and persecuted him, because both by his life and preaching he condemned the world. But he found grace in the eyes of the Lord, and this was honour and comfort enough” (Matthew Henry).
Like the old patriarch, we, too, live in a wicked and perverse generation. But are we like Noah in our witness before the unbelieving world? Are we upright in heart? Do we keep a close walk with the Lord?
o God’s purpose to destroy the earth
In contrast to Noah, the rest of the earth was corrupt and “filled with violence” (Gen 6: 11). Their wickedness displeased God Who revealed to Noah His purpose to destroy the earth: “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” (Gen 6: 13).
God gave Noah precise instructions for the building of the ark which would be a sanctuary for his family and the thousands of animals during the Flood. The deluge would totally “destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven” (Gen 6: 17 cf: II Pet 3: 6). Every creature that had “the breath of life” in it would perish, but the Lord would preserve Noah and his family (Gen 7: 1).
o God’s grace upon the family
We note an important Biblical principle here. While God bestows His saving grace upon individuals, He is concerned for the salvation of their family members as well. Examples of household salvation recorded in the New Testament are: Zacchaeus, Lydia, the Philippian jailor and their families (Lk 19: 9; Acts 16: 15; 16: 34). This principle is aptly summarised in Acts 16: 31: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.”
Brethren, are we born into a Christian home? We should thank God for such a blessed privilege. Let us duly consecrate our lives to love and serve our Lord Who has graciously called us unto Himself.