The patriarch Noah lived in morally degenerative time and age. We are told that “the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Gen 6: 5).
Despite the wickedness around him, Noah stood firm in his faith and found favour before God: “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD” (Gen 6: 8). This description of Noah stands out in sharp contrast to the evil culture of his day. Noah’s godly conduct and character shone forth as a beacon of light in a dark and perverse world.
God, Who sees the hearts of men, marked Noah out as one of the heroes of faith: “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” (Heb 11: 7).
What lessons of faith can we learn from this godly patriarch?
o Noah believed God
God had told Noah that He would send a flood to destroy the whole earth. This warning was given a hundred and twenty years before the deluge – “of things not seen as yet” – long before there were any visible signs of its occurrence. Noah had never seen or experienced anything that resembled a global flood before. But “moved with fear”, Noah acted on God’s Word, believing that the calamity would come as He had promised. He and his family “prepared an ark” which preserved them from the impending devastation of the flood.
o Noah stood alone in his faith
The apostle Peter rightly called Noah “a preacher of righteousness”: “And He (God) 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 Pet 2: 5).
For 120 years, Noah preached faithfully, warning his friends and neighbours of the coming judgment of God. They were skeptical when he urged them to turn away from their sins. Despite their ridicule and rejection, Noah was undeterred. He did not allow the difficulty of the task, nor the sneers of the unbelieving world to weaken his hands or discourage his heart from his God-given task.
“That which crowns his character is that thus he was, and thus he did, in his generation, in that corrupt degenerate age in which his lot was cast. It is easy to be religious when religion is in fashion; but it is an evidence of strong faith and resolution to swim against a stream to heaven, and to appear for God when no one else appears for him: so Noah did, and it is upon record, to his immortal honour” (Matthew Henry).
Noah’s righteous life was a constant testimony and rebuke to his unbelieving neighbours. Sadly, however, when the flood came, not a single one entered the ark with him. We are told that only eight were saved – Noah and his family. The rest of the world perished in the flood.
Brethren, have we ever been rejected or ridiculed for our faith? Learn from Noah who stood undaunted against the mockers of his day. Let nothing deter us from doing the Lord’s work of evangelising the lost.
o Noah obeyed God
God gave Noah precise instructions for the building of the ark which would be a sanctuary for his family and 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).
God also told Noah to lead into the finished ark, animals of every kind: “Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female. Of fowls also of the air by sevens, the male and the female; to keep seed alive upon the face of all the earth” (Gen 7: 2-3). Noah fulfilled every instruction of the Lord. We are told over and over again that he “did according to all that the LORD commanded him” (Gen 7: 5; cf Gen 6: 22; 7: 6, 16). What was the result of his absolute obedience? Noah and his household were saved. God honoured the faith and obedience of His godly servant (Gen 7: 1).
Brethren, let us be like Noah in our faith and obedience. Be conscious of our testimony before an unbelieving world. Though we live in a wicked and perverse generation, let us stand steadfast in our faith. Warn our fellowmen “of things not seen as yet” – the certainty of God’s wrath upon those who reject Him. Persuade them to trust in our Lord Jesus Christ – to enter the “Ark” while the door is still open. May the Lord help us to be a shining light in this dark and wicked world.