Dr. S. Lewis Johnson gives exposition on God's choice of Noah to build the Ark.
For our Scripture reading, we are turning to Genesis chapter 6 and reading verse 9 through verse 22. This is really the first part of the account of the flood, and we have here a description of conditions in the day of Noah and then God’s instructions concerning the construction of the Ark. In the ninth verse we read these words,
“These are the records of the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his time. Noah walked with God. (That expression blameless in his time has been understood in more than one way. Some have understood this as perfect in his generations, that is Noah’s generation. Noah’s family was not involved in the particular type of evil and iniquity described above, this union of angelic sons of God with the daughters of men. Evidently, an attempt to thwart the incarnation of the Lord Jesus Christ and so some have understood this to mean that Noah’s family was not involved and therefore that is the family that God took through the flood to inherit the earth after the flood. It is probably more likely however, that the expression blameless in his time is simply a reference to the completeness of the character of Noah. And so it is better, I believe, to read it as our New American Standard Bible has translated it, blameless in his time or blameless in his generation.) Noah walked with God and Noah became the father of three sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth.
“Now the earth was corrupt in the sight of God and the earth was filled with violence. God looked on the earth and behold, it was corrupt for all flesh had corrupted their way upon the earth. Then God said to Noah, the end of all flesh has come before me for the earth is filled with violence because of them and behold I’m about to destroy them with the earth. Make for yourself an ark, of gopher wood. You shall make the ark with rooms and shall cover it inside and out with pitch (and it’s very striking, I think, we’ll talk about this later that the word for cover, the Hebrew word chaphar is very closely related to the word for pitch and the word for atonement. Chaphar is the word for atonement and so most of the commentators, there are some exceptions among contemporary commentators, have seen in this a typical reference to the atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ, we’ll talk about that later) and shall cover it inside and out with pitch. And this is how you shall make it, the length of the ark 300 cubits, the breadth 50 cubits and its height 30 cubits. (A cubit was about 18 inches, there are different measurements for cubits. Some have suggested it’s only seventeen and a half inches, but you can see from this that the ark was a very large vessel, about roughly now 450 feet long, about 75 feet wide and about 43 or 44 feet high. It was like a gigantic barge, really.)
“You shall make a window for the ark and finish it to a cubit from the top and set the door of the ark in the side of it. You shall make it with lower, second and third decks and behold, I, even I, that emphasis rests upon the I in the Hebrew text as well. “And behold I, even I am bringing the flood of water upon the earth to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life. From under heaven everything that is on the earth shall perish. But I will establish my covenant with you and you shall enter the ark, you and your sons and your wife and your sons’ wives with you. And of every living thing of all flesh you shall bring two of every kind into the ark to keep them alive with you. They shall be male and female of the birds after their kind and of the animals after their kind, of every creeping thing of the ground after its kind. Two of every kind shall come to you to keep them alive.”
Notice that the reference is made here to the animals coming to Noah. He says, of every creeping thing of the ground after its kind, two of every kind shall come to you to keep them alive, rather strange expression, suggestive of the fact that perhaps this coming to Noah was something instinctive on the part of the animals that may be due to the weather suggested the need for hibernation. What it is, we don’t know, but the text says they shall come to you and it is a little strange. That would make sense, that would also explain incidentally why the animals that have come through the flood do have this instinct to hibernate. It also explains how animals could stay on the ark just in that limited space for a considerable period of time. It’s rather interesting when we get to heaven, we’ll understand all of these things. Verse 21,
“And as for you, take for yourself some of all food, which is edible, and gather it to yourself and it shall be for food for you and for them. Thus, Noah did according to all that God had commanded him, so he did.” (We’ll see that this in the next chapter is a kind of refrain and of course emphasizes the obedience of faith of this great man, Noah.)
The subject for this morning and the exposition of the book of Genesis is Noah and the power of the minority. All students of philosophy know of Emmanuel Kant. In fact, many students of history know of Emmanuel Kant. It is hard to find a man who has influenced the thought of our western society greater, in greater ways than this German philosopher, Emmanuel Kant. He once said, “seek not the favor of the multitude, it is seldom got by honest and lawful means, but seek the testimony of the few, and number not voices, but weigh them.”
Exaggerating somewhat, Henrik Ibsen wrote, “The minority is always in the right.” Perhaps he was thinking of what Thomas Carlyle said in Heroes and Hero-Worship. “Every new opinion,” Mr. Carlyle said, “At its starting is precisely in a minority of one.” Or if what Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Literary history and all history is a record of the power of minorities of one.”
Ever since the day of Noah, the generation of Noah has regretted that it did not weigh the words of this preacher of righteousness. He saw it very futilely to warn the people of his generation of the flood that was coming. We today tend to mock as a society the words of the preachers who preach hellfire and damnation. I’ve made several comments concerning that in the last few months. We tend to think that people who preach hell, fire and damnation are fanatical, perhaps uncultured or uneducated. I can imagine that while hellfire and damnation was not the specific theme of Noah — his theme was deluge and drowning that — in that 120 years that there were lots of people who got awfully tired of hearing him and consequently they referred to him as that deluge and drowning preacher.
Noah’s views were in a hopeless minority. When the flood came, there were eight souls that were saved through the flood, but nevertheless they were the views of God and that’s the important thing for as it is commonly said, one with God is a majority. The prophecies of this deluge and drowning preacher, being the word of God, came to pass, and we may expect that of the word of God.
There are of course a number of other interesting lessons that come before us in this account in the book of Genesis. We can begin with this first one regardless of majorities and minorities, it’s the truth of the situation that counts with God. The eight souls that were saved at the time of the flood were saved because of the faith evidently of the one and it was through the faith of Noah that these seven came through. They owed their life, it would seem, to the faithfulness of Noah and that seems to be point of Hebrews Chapter 11 and verse 7. By faith, Noah moved with godly fear, prepared for the saving of his house, and so it was the faith of this one man that was dominant in the salvation of the 8.
But this minority that came through the flood becomes the inheritor and the possessor of this judged, although not purged yet, earth. That accentuates a second truth that we find illustrated here, and that is the fundamental significance of the place of grace, and faith and righteousness in God’s world. It is from grace that faith comes, and it is through faith that righteousness comes and that righteousness conveyed as a gift to men from God qualifies them for the walk with God.
And then also there is the truth of the long suffering of God for 120 years, he bore with that faithless wicked generation in the day of Noah. Reminds me too of another lesson that is found so straightforwardly in the New Testament in Romans Chapter 6, and verse 23. The wages of sin is death. But the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus, our Lord. You certainly see that illustrated in the flood and the destruction of it. The wages of sin is death.
Now there are truths that have reference to the future as well as to the present. We know from our studies last week if you were here that the days of Noah were likened by the Lord Jesus to the days of the Second Advent, and therefore it is fair for us and proper for us to analyze the days of Noah to have some inkling of the days of the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and they were days that were characterized by corruption and violence. Those words seem to be particularly singled out for stress by the Holy Spirit here. And that should be a warning to us because we are living in days it would seem of great corruption, and surely also great violence.
And then there is another lesson. This is the final one I mentioned in the introduction. This passage illustrates the ultimate preservation of the godly from the divine judgment that shall come at the time of the end. It is true we find a tremendous manifestation of the severity of God. But as Paul puts it in Romans chapter 11, “Behold the goodness and the severity of God.” And it is the goodness of God manifested in the deliverance of the 8. One might read this account and puzzle over why God destroyed all of the earth but 8 souls.
But really, the real thing we ought to puzzle over is why he saved 8. It is the same question that men often ask about the salvation that we possess itself. And that is, how can God create vast numbers of people and se them, a loving God, go to hell? But in the light of the nature of man, the question is not how can God judge men, it is how can he save any? And consequently we marvel at the grace of God that has been manifested in the salvation of the Lord’s people. So it is the minority that inherit the earth.
The Lord Jesus said the meek inherit the earth. I don’t think there is any contradiction because the meek are surely in the minority. He said the meek shall inherit the earth and someone has said, I wonder how long they will be able to keep it? The meek are truly in a minority and they shall inherit the earth, the minority inherits the earth, that’s the biblical teaching.
Now there are many other questions that come to us when we think about this account. Was this a universal flood? This is the kind of thing discussed in seminary classrooms. Did it really take place? Was the Ark large enough to contain all the animals that it is claimed that it held including the birds and the insects too? Think of the thousands and thousands of varieties of insects. Where did all that water come from? Now these are interesting points and worthy of investigation, but the primary point pertains to the man Noah, and we want to set our attention upon Noah and the events in which he is involved rather than spend all of our time on these other questions.
But I hope, as we go through we will have some answers to some of the questions. You cannot expect an answer to all of them because if you could answer them all, somebody can think of a half a dozen more that you haven’t answered. And after you have answered them, they will go back, and begin all over again at the same old questions. That is characteristic of men.
You know if you talk to someone about the Lord Jesus Christ, then they have two or three questions. And you go down answering the questions satisfactorily after you finished, then they begin at number one again because basically our problem is not simply intellectual, but literally a moral problem, and until that problem is resolved, the others are usually the dodges that enable us to avoid the issue.
Now let’s look at the man Noah. We read in verse 9 that Noah was a righteous man blameless in his time, and Noah walked with God and then we read and this should be taken in conjunction with the proceeding, Noah became the father of three sons Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
The modern media, no doubt would have sensationalized the flood account. I would like to have read an account of the flood by something that corresponded to the modern media, one of the commentators has said that they would have made it an extravaganza of terror, reminding us of Earthquake and Airport and Jaws and The Body Snatchers and all of the other types of movies to which we have been exposed and the flood, what a tremendous thing the flood would be.
Meanwhile, the biblical account you will notice is of another style entirely. The stress rests not upon the physical, but upon the spiritual. Now in the course of the description, there are interesting facts that are revealed, but the description of the flood tends to focus attention upon the moral issues rather than those physical things. And we read here that Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his time, and Noah walked with God.
He would be called a futurist engineer, I guess in our day. Nothing is ever made incidentally over the poor response he received from the world when he preached to them, but we learned that by comparing Scripture with Scripture. Notice the first thing that is said about him. He is a righteous man. Now there is little question that he became that because he found favor in the eyes of God. Look at the preceding verse, the 8th verse, but Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord, and then we read Noah was a righteous man. It is by virtue of the prevenient grace of God that Noah responded to the message of the Lord, having been chosen in ages past. God came to him through the word and in the Holy Spirit, and gave him the faith to believe the message concerning the coming deluge and the Redeemer.
The world tends to say Noah was a righteous man because he was a good man, and God rewarded his goodness and therefore brought him through the time of the flood. So they take the word righteous to mean simply good. Now I do think that there is a stress upon that fact here. I think that when it says Noah was a righteous man, it does mean that he was probably a very good man. But it probably means more than that too. In its context and in the light of the total story of Noah, it is evident that more is involved and in fact in the New Testament, we read that by faith he did all of this and became an air of the righteousness, which is according to faith. So, it is in the New Testament, the interpretation put upon this that the stress rests primarily upon the standing that he possessed before God by virtue of the faith given him through the favor of the Lord. I say the world tends to think of him as a good man and God rewarded him for his goodness.
It’s amazing how many people can come to a Christian church like this over a period of time and think that too. That is so programmed into us. That is, to think that men are acceptable to God by virtue of what they do that when we read this, we are inclined to say well, he was righteous and therefore God brought him safely through the flood. So they say, God saw Noah’s goodness and chose him to become a member of the family of God.
In fact, that is just what a large body of professing Christians do say. They say God saw Noah would believe by an act of his free will apart from divine motivation and therefore because God saw that he would, through an act of his free will, choose to believe God chose Noah. They don’t realize because they often don’t think very far back in the line of the reasoning. They little realize that in this case the real decision is made not by God but by man because it’s clear, if God’s decision is based upon a decision that man is to make without divine motivation, without divine initiative, the decision is man’s decision, and God simply ratifies man’s decision. So the real source of salvation is the work of man in the exercise of his free will and not in the work of God in inclining the rebellious will of the man to faith.
Now these two views of Christianity prevail within evangelicalism. And you know the one by the name of Arminianism and the other by the name of its opposite. I would rarely ever mention that term any more you’ll notice. So I won’t mention it this time. It is Paulnism, biblical thinking, because you see in the Bible, our salvation is not traced to the act of our free will, uninitiated, unmotivated by God but it is traced to the work of the Holy Spirit who inclines our rebellious will to believe. Thus, as all of the authors of the Old Testament and the New Testament affirm salvation is of the Lord.
It’s very difficult for people to see that if salvation really is the work of a man’s free will, then, it’s not a salvation by grace. You cannot speak of salvation by grace logically, and free will at the same time. They are internally contradictory. Now it is true that people do say this and I do not deny that some of them are genuinely saved because in the final analysis when the trials of life come, they get down on their knees and pray. Incidentally that’s the sign of a man who believes in grace. He may get on his knee, get on his feet and talk about free will but when trouble comes, he gets on his knees and he prays. And he acknowledges in that very fact that he prays. That is God who ultimately does the work.
So, as a friend of ours often says it, such a person really just has a charley-horse between the ears. That is, he doesn’t think consistently through what he is saying and I am glad that God accepts some of the confused thinkers into heaven too because we all are probably confused in some ways. I don’t want you to understand that when I stand up here and speak like this that I am trying to say I see everything clearly. I do not. But there are some things that I think I do see rather clearly and that’s one of them. And I do not see that clearly because I have discovered it off myself. It has been revealed through the work of the Holy Spirit to a blind and rebellious will, my will. So, those who think like the Arminians and the semi-Pelagians even though the Bible says the opposite unwittingly affirm they that are in the flesh can please God. We don’t say that.
The Apostle Paul says they that are in the flesh cannot please God. Therefore, in order for a man to please God, he must be taken out of the flesh by the work of regeneration and put in Christ, then he may believe and please God by the grace of God. Isn’t that great? I am so glad that my salvation is depended upon something that God has done. That is really thrilling. I don’t think I’ll ever get over the joy of that. By the righteousness that Noah obtained you see the tendency is when a preacher starts talking about something like that, forget about anything that maybe before him and not finished the passage that I guess distinguishes preachers from other people and it may be a fault. The righteousness that Noah obtained was a standing before God, which meant that he had received a benefit that made him acceptable to God.
It’s what Paul speaks about in Romans 3 when he says being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ to be declared righteous before God by virtue of imputation of the righteousness of God to us through faith. Well that brings a person to the righteous spending that is acceptable to the Lord. So, the man who is justified as a man who is not righteous inherently but who has had righteousness conferred upon and imputed to him by the grace of God through the merits of the Lord Jesus Christ and what he has accomplished on the cross at Calvary.
Noah is also said to have been blameless in his time. Now that word blameless means “complete.” He was what moderns would call a whole person. In fact, he even had what many of our evangelical seek to prevail to many of the people of this day usually for a price, a seminar on the weekend on inner peace providing you pay $15, $25, or $40, but you don’t need to do that. Why waste your money? Put your money in the bank and read the Bible. It’s all found right here in holy Scripture. And we read in the word of God about inner peace. Inner peace is possessed by the person who has come into right relationship with the Lord Jesus and who understands that by virtue of the merits of Christ, he is given a righteousness that enables him to stand before God and a power in this life through the presence of the Holy Spirit to meet the trials of life. That’s inner peace.
It’s too fleeting and experienced for many of us of the people of God, I include myself. It’s something that’s beyond the natural man. He cannot have it until he comes to Christ. Finally, we read that Noah walked with God. The Hebrew text here lays a little bit of emphasis upon the fact that it was with God that he walked, and if you compare the preceding reference to Enoch you will see that here there is just a slight emphasis upon the fact that it is with God that Noah walked.
And I like the fact that the very next verse says and Noah became the father of three sons because that’s enough to make one wonder where you could ever walk with God. Three sons, just think of the disorder in the family. But we read he walked with God and he became the father of three sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth. So this is the picture of Noah. Now you are inclined to say we all are, I’ve said this several times but it pertains to all of the godly men of the Bible it would seem.
We are inclined to say yes but Noah lived hundreds of years ago when things were not as complicated as they are in the 20th Century. Well, things are not any more complicated in the 20th Century than they were in the century of Noah. Well, look at the kind of world in which Noah lived. Verse 11 now the earth was corrupt in the sight of God and the earth was filled with violence. Oh, I know they didn’t have people who when Monday came around, said Monday is a bad day. I knew, by the way, I know that Monday is a bad day. I worked for eight years. Then, I became a preacher. [Laughter]
But I used to have to get up on Monday morning and face the week. I did that for a number of years. I know the feeling you have when you go to work on Monday morning. You face this whole week. It’s not a good day. Friday is better, I agree. Friday is better. But after all, when a young child sits in a house and says Monday is a bad day, I think I will get my gun and start firing into a school lot. That’s carrying it a little too far. And so several people are dead and a number are wounded. That’s violence and then when they come and afterwards I did it just for the fun of it.
That’s really violence or when a mother, I do not pass judgment upon these things but the facts are there. And when a mother plunges a screwdriver through the head of a child. That’s violence. That’s something that the Assyrians might have marveled at and we read here that the earth was corrupt, it was full of violence in the days of Noah but it is in this society that Noah walked with God. It’s in this society that he brought up his family, it’s in this society that he was a godly man.
So, corruption and violence have become the inevitable marks of the impending disaster in all of human civilizations. Arnold Toynbee said that the problem is internal discord. Man is a dependent being by creation. Man needs God for life, he needs God for mind, he needs God for breath, he needs God for power, he doesn’t even have something the animals possess. The animals at least posses instinct, we don’t even have instinct. Do you know that man is so dependent that of all the animal world, all the living world, he’s the most helpless when he is born. He cannot survive without help. That’s God trying to tell us a lesson, trying to teach us, that’s pedagogy. Man is dependent. But because he’s so dependent, he turns from that and seeks to control himself which he cannot do.
This pattern Professor Toynbee pointed out has developed in every civilization and in all spheres of human life and we can see it today. In the political life and in the social life of the nation, it’s clearly seen. All of the schemes of the politicians and the social engineers who unfortunately have becomes the mentors of the politicians, should feel because the one ingredient that might offer some hope of success is missing from their analysis of our society and their remedies for it.
Helmut Thielicke, the great German professor and theologian has spoken of the tendency in Germany, it is probably not as bad in the United States. But he said when he imagines that he can free men from need and fear by means of the welfare of state he is already declaring himself independent of this sustaining grace and pressing the buttons which set off the secret signals of catastrophe. Now we cannot in my opinion understand our society unless we understand that something like this is constantly transpiring in human society.
Now God had a remedy for Noah and we read of that in verse 13. Then God said to Noah the end of all flesh has come before me. Well, the earth is filled with violence because of them and behold I am about to destroy them with the earth, make for yourself an ark of gopher wood. That is the divine provision for Noah’s society.
The thought of Noah’s Ark to modern intellectuals is, as a modern commentator has said, a story for children’s coloring books. But the story doesn’t make that impression when you read it. It’s a sober, non-sensational nature, a narrative which suggests historical fact. Furthermore the author of the account doesn’t try to deal in generality. So if it doesn’t come to pass just exactly as he said it is still covered by the generalities but he deals in details, in precise details, it’s all there. The other authors of Scripture also referred to the ark and the flood and particularly the flood and they make reference to the fact that it was a historical fact, as far as the writers of Scripture are concerned through the prophets and on into the New Testament they regarded this as a historical event.
I know we have not discovered the remains of the ark on Mount Ararat yet. Some have said they have seen it. Perhaps it is there, who knows. But that doesn’t detract from the factual nature of this particular record. Again the Lord gives the reason for the Ark of Noah in verse 13, it is the corruption of the earth, incidentally. We must not think that divine retribution is contrary to nature of God. Works of retribution are just as much holy and good works of God as are works of grace. We are inclined to forget one and emphasize the other. But the Bible says that works of retribution are works of God and they are good and holy. They belong to the revelation of his nature.
As I was saying on Wednesday night in the class and those of you who were here you will have to pardon me for repeating this, but recently we had an illustration of this in the mis-trial of one of our congressman and it was evident afterwards that all of the jury men thought that this congressman was guilty, but one refused to vote guilty because the congressman was, in his words, too old. In other words, he wanted to be more compassionate than God himself.
It was his own way of doing an iniquitous thing for admitting that something so far as he understood it was wrong but nevertheless refusing to inflict the divinely required penalty. God is not like that. He’s compassionate, he is piteous in his mercy but his mercy is a mercy that comes to us righteously and in our case for we deserve judgment, the mercy and compassion that he has shown us is not at the expense of justice. It is the Lord Jesus Christ who has borne our judgment totally, perfectly before God so that we have a righteous salvation and God is righteous in the death of Christ and merciful in the death of Christ because the son pays the penalty to the full and in grace because righteousness is now free to bless, we have salvation.
Isn’t it interesting too that it is to Noah that God divulges his purpose? Why? Noah walked with God. God walked with Noah like Abraham of whom God said, he is my friend, how can I hide from Abraham the things that I’m doing? So he spoke to Noah, the man who walks with God will discover that it is to him that God divulges his secrets, the secrets of his word, the interpretations of his Scripture.
The description of the ark is rather interesting, we will devote some time to this in our next study the Lord-willing, but the word ark incidentally means something like chest. It’s the word really that was used of Moses, the little chest in which he was put before he was discovered by Pharaoh’s daughter. So it’s a word that refers to something like a chest and therefore we are not surprised when the measurements of the Ark remind us of a barge and not a 20th Century oceangoing luxury liner.
Now I want to say just a word about the materials and particularly that last clause, verse 14, and shall cover it inside and out with pitch. The interesting statement is that statement and the word for cover and the word for pitch come from the same root. And that route is the route from which the Hebrew word for atonement comes. And this may not be just a verbal coincidence. In fact many of the wisest and in my opinion some of the capable interpreters of the Hebrew text have affirmed that that is probably so, that this is not a verbal coincidence but that it is purposeful and it is designed to make the ark a more fitting illustration of the saving work of the Lord Jesus Christ. In other words, they have seen in this the first reference to atonement in the Bible, a type of the atonement of the Lord Jesus. They shall cover it inside and out with pitch, with atonement, suggestive of atonement. In other words, they were safe in the ark because of the pitch, suggestive of atonement.
Now, first Peter Chapter 3 makes an analogy between the two. The ark and the saving of the eight souls and the Lord Jesus and the saving of those who are related to him. So, it is likely a biblical type. The ark is a type of safety in Christ for that is the key thought of the ark. Shelter from judgment. The outpoured water and the judgment and safety is in the ark. So, the ark was made waterproof by atonement. Just as those who are in Christ are saved by virtue of atonement, what he accomplishes.
The measurements of the ark indicate that it is a ship of vast size but of simple shape. Approximately, 440 feet long by a 73 feet long, wide, I should say, and approximately 44 feet high. It can be shown hydrodynamically that a gigantic box of such dimensions would be exceedingly stable — almost impossible to capsize. Even in a sea of gigantic waves the ark could be tilted through any angle up to just short of 90 degrees and would immediately right itself again. And furthermore, it would tend to align itself parallel with the direction of the major wave advance. So, God prepared the ark for a rather tremendous deluge and surge of waters that would come, suggestive too, in itself, of the vastness of the flood in Genesis Chapter 7 & 8.
As far as containing all of those animals are concerned, well, it has been estimated that this ark contains 1,400,000 cubic feet equal to the capacity, I don’t know who figured this out, but it is striking, 522 standard livestock railroad cars. And so it was not a difficult matter to get all of the animals into the ark and give them a little room and have room for the human beings and the food that was necessary as well. So, it was large enough for all that was needed.
Augustine said that these proportions suggested to him a man, he did it allegorically because, he thought of a lengthy vessel that was a certain width and a certain height, suggested the proportions of a man, but he did it allegorically because he thought the ark referred to the Lord Jesus Christ. It could be just as well a figure of a coffin suggesting some other things as well.
The exact position, shape and form of the window I must confess, I have read that Hebrew text over for many years and I still do not understand exactly what was meant. It may have been a kind of window around the top, in which it was possible for air and circulation to take place and it may well be that those who were in the ark looked only upward. And if so, it would suggest to us, the infinite obedience of the Lord Jesus Christ if the ark represents him. And how all that he did was with his eye upon the Father, but that may be stretching it a little too far. And consequently we don’t water base any great doctrines all that.
We do know that the ark had one door and that is very significant and certainly compatible with a representation of Jesus Christ because he is the door. He said “I am the door, by me if any man enter in he shall be saved.” And so he is the one door to salvation and anyone who was saved through the ark had to pass through that door. Can you not imagine the mockery of the generation of Noah?
Now, we don’t mock at things like this our naval department, naval engineers. A few years back, well some years back now, they built a destroyer in the Philadelphia Naval Yard. They built it so large, it couldn’t go down the Philadelphia channel. And so, after they had built it, they discovered that and therefore they had to enlarge the channel to get the boat down that they had made. But I don’t think in the case of Noah, you can compare that because here is a man building a gigantic barge and so far as the Bible is concerned it hadn’t even rained at this time.
Now, perhaps it had rained. We do know of a mist in Genesis chapter 2 that went up to water the plants but so far as the Bible is concerned it had not even rained at this time. And you can imagine the people that came by and said Noah, what you are doing? Well there is going to be a giant deluge. Everybody is going to be drowned that is not in this boat. And there developed the deluge and drowning preacher. The preacher of righteousness. Day after day 120 years. He was the town joke and stayed that way. Reminds us of the Lord Jesus on the cross and how they mocked at him. Then when Paul went to Athens, they mocked him and down through the years; the preachers of the grace of God have been marked. They are constantly mocked, over and over and over again, but the things that they were doing were the things that were truth. And it was Noah who had the last laugh. Unfortunately there were not many people around to hear it.
Mockery, oh can you not imagine the things that were said as Noah built his ark? Well, the remainder of this section actually is something that will come up again in Chapter 9 and I am going to skip that part of it, simply to mention something about the inhabitants of the ark, two of all the animals entered into the ark except for the sacrificial animals as we shall see in the next chapter.
The problem of the existence of so many animals on the ark is eased somewhat, if we assume a kind of hibernation took place. But I love that expression those animals shall come to you Noah, so God moved upon them. It may be that there was as someone has suggested a kind of chill in the air. An evidence of a coming storm and something within the animals said trouble is coming. And they moved to Noah, the righteous man who was constructing that giant vessel and came at the direction of the Lord to him. Someone said, When those two flies flew in why didn’t Noah swap them then and there, and rid us of it? [Laughter]
Well, the chapter concludes with a statement about Noah’s faith, “Thus Noah did according to all that God had commanded him, so he did.” Well it is plain from this account that there does exist an omnipotent power in the minority, when the minority is on the side of the Lord God. It is Noah, not the antediluvians that God remembered and it is Noah and the ark that we remember.
The real story of the chapter is the survival of this man Noah and those that were with him, which is so beautifully illustrated in his life. Chosen through the grace of God, saved in grace, established in a righteous relationship to the Lord so that he was justified by faith, he walked with God right on through the flood on into the earth beyond the flood and on into eternity, a man of faith, and finally his name is inscribed in the great Westminster Abbey of Faith in Hebrews chapter 11 as a man who inherited the righteousness which is according to faith, called by Peter a preacher of righteousness, a man who practiced the faith that he proclaimed.
If you are here this morning and you have never believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, let me like Noah warn you while there is time that there is only one way of salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ and the sacrifice of the cross. That that sacrifice has been offered, the blood has been shed. The animal, the true Lamb of God has been slain and now for those who come and lay there head upon the lamb and acknowledge him as their lamb, God gives in wonderful grace a righteous standing before him.
May God the Holy Spirit move in your heart, bring you to your lost condition, bring you to the knowledge that there is coming not a flood, but a great destructive, catastrophic fire in which the elements of this earth shall be melted in preparation for the new heavens and the new earth, and we are headed into a future catastrophe far greater than the partial catastrophe of the day of Noah. May God put fear into your heart and may you come to Christ resting in the grace of God accomplished through the compassion of God for men who have come to see that they are sinners. And if you see yourself as that you are a candidate for salvation, may God help you to come, it would be terrible to come in and hear a message like this and pass out and not know the grace of God through Jesus Christ. May God work in your heart. Let’s stand for the benediction.
[Prayer] We are so grateful to the Lord for all of the blessings that are ours through Jesus Christ. Truly Lord, we could not survive, were it not for Him. And Father we do ask that if there are some in this audience who have never yet come to know him, as their own Lord and Savior, that through the Holy Spirit, they may be brought to the conviction of their sin and the confession of Christ as the Savior by virtue of the merits of the blood that was shed. May that grace go with us.
For Jesus’ sake. Amen.