The Biblical Account of The Story of Noah
What a remarkable testimony to the faith of Noah.
Genesis 6:22 (NKJV)
22 Thus Noah did; according to all that God commanded him, so he did.
In the entire story of Noah, there is never a moment when Noah is recorded speaking back to God. Noah is a man who listens and obeys, who does not question or argue and he does not make excuses. Noah heard what is by far the most difficult assignment in all the Bible. Yet, he said not a word to question the instructions and he obeyed doing all that the Lord commanded him. In fact, the Hebrew in verse 22 is repetitive to emphasize Noah’s upmost obedience. Noah is arguably the most obedient man in the Old Testament. There are other men in the Old Testament who received much easier instructions, such as Jonah or Gideon. However, those men questioned God or even rebelled entirely as in the case of Jonah.
What is amazing about Noah is what he hears from God and what little he does to question it, seems so impossible to understand. Even when facing the most extreme and difficult instructions. We see a man living in a world that had never seen rain, yet this man was called to build a giant boat far from water. And we see Noah obeyed without hesitation. And on top of that we can include this fact, there is no evidence that God spoke to Noah again during the intervening 120 years it took him to build the Ark. Not until God tells Noah to enter the Ark. Can you take God’s instructions and obey them without questioning for decades if not millennia? This is an example of true faith! We could do much worse than to model our own obedience after this man. Especially since obedience isn’t valued today the way the Bible values it.
Genesis 7:1-9 (NKJV)
The Great Flood
7 Then the Lord said to Noah, “Come into the ark, you and all your household, because I have seen that you are righteous before Me in this generation. 2 You shall take with you seven each of every clean animal, a male and his female; two each of animals that are unclean, a male and his female; 3 also seven each of birds of the air, male and female, to keep the species alive on the face of all the earth. 4 For after seven more days I will cause it to rain on the earth forty days and forty nights, and I will destroy from the face of the earth all living things that I have made.” 5 And Noah did according to all that the Lord commanded him. 6 Noah was six hundred years old when the floodwaters were on the earth.
7 So Noah, with his sons, his wife, and his sons’ wives, went into the ark because of the waters of the flood. 8 Of clean animals, of animals that are unclean, of birds, and of everything that creeps on the earth, 9 two by two they went into the ark to Noah, male and female, as God had commanded Noah.
The time has come to enter the Ark. Previously, God said He would only strive with man for 120 years. It was a statement about the time left that God was giving the world prior to the flood. He was not going to allow the circumstances of this time to continue any longer than 120 years from when God made that statement. Since the flood is now about to begin, we know it’s been 120 years since God made that declaration. Now that the Ark is ready, God gives Noah new instructions for entering the Ark. Earlier, God had instructed Noah to bring in two of every land animal. Here God adds new instructions to Noah that he should bring additional numbers (7) of clean animals. The Mosaic Law establishes what animals are clean and unclean. And at this point in history the Mosaic Law had not yet to be established, but we can see God has obviously revealed to Noah what were clean animals and what were unclean animals. So God’s Law while not yet fully revealed still existed to some extent during Noah’s time and Noah was aware of it to some degree.
Why does God ask Noah to bring these additional clean animals? We can jump ahead in the story of Noah to see the answer. After Noah leaves the Ark, we read
Genesis 8:20 (NKJV)
God’s Covenant with Creation
20 Then Noah built an altar to the Lord, and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird, and offered burnt offerings on the altar.
The moment God speaks to Noah in verse 1 of chapter 7, we have reached a point on earth when there are none righteous living on the Earth, but Noah and his family. The line of Seth, the seed of the Messiah, has been reduced to only Noah. Methuselah must have died at the moment of verse 1 so now the flood can come without jeopardizing the righteous. Only Noah is left and we must consider the patience of God and the wisdom of His work through men.
- 969 years ago, God directed a father to name his son Methuselah, which means when he dies, it will come. His name was prophetically speaking for 969 years concerning God’s plan. God was at work planning a flood.
- Then 600 years earlier, God brought Noah into the word with the name that meant rest.
- And 120 year earlier from this moment, he directs Noah to begin building a boat.
- 20 years after Noah begins building, he receives his three sons when he is 500 years old.
God has set in motion all these events going back hundreds of years, so that on a day He appointed, they would come to this moment when the flood and the destruction of ungodly men came about according to God’s will. What is God doing now in you life, individually, prehaps what He has been doing for decades in preparation for something years from now? Have you ever stop to think about that. It is something we don’t think about as often as we should. But consider it from Noah’s point of view. Long before Noah knew he was going to be building a boat, there was a man named Methuselah already, prophetically, indicating the coming of this event. The Lord may not do what we want when we want Him to, but His timing is always perfect. He is always at work in our lives, through our lives, around us, and He invites us to participate and join Him in that work, in faith. God is always at work. He was at work around Noah. Not just in simple ways but probably many other ways as well. He calls us into a relationship with Him and then He brings us an awareness of His work around us and calls us to join Him in that work. Obedience is defined as working God’s plan instead of our own plan.
But as Jesus said, we must be willing to set down our own work first, before we can pick up His cross and follow Him. Luke 9:59-62 (NKJV)
59 Then He said to another, “Follow Me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” 60 Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God.” 61 And another also said, “Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house.” 62 But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”
Speaking of timing. Jesus says if the things of your every day work and life and family are so important that it causes you to put on hold the obedience to the call of God, then you are not worthy of that call. For your priorities are wrong. And in a similar way for what ever Noah may had wanted to do, he put all the rest of his life on hold, so he could obey this call of God. What a great standard for us to live up to.
In verse 7, God announces that Noah and his family of seven must enter the Ark because He says He will bring rain in seven days. There is seven days before the flood begins, but it is time to enter the Ark. This is the first time rain will have fallen in the history of the world. Until now, the earth has been watered with a mist, as was
described in Genesis chapter 2. But God is about to change that pattern in a dramatic way. He is prepared to bring rain and initially it floods the world. But first notice that Noah and his family are entering the Ark well before the rain begins. As a matter of fact, it is seven days before the rain begins. Also, they haven’t seen anything change yet, nothing that would indicate that the disaster God predicted will actually come about. Can we imagine how difficult it might have been for them to enter this giant boat filled with animals while the sun was still shining? What compels someone to enter under those conditions? Simply, faith!
The world is filled with people, but God has declared only 8 are righteous. And we know that righteousness is not earned. That it can only be given to us by God on the basis of our faith in the One Who earned it on our behalf, Jesus. So Noah and his family are righteous because they believed – had faith in – God’s word.
So what did they believe in? Did they believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Had that been preached to them in that day? No, they believed in the word they had been given by God. And based on that word they reacted in a certain way. They believed in the reality of a coming judgment by flood waters.
Hebrews 11:7 (NKJV)
7 By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.
Hebrews tells us what defined Noah’s faith was his activity to build the Ark. And more specifically he entered it based on the faith he had in God’s word. What more visual proof do you need of Noah’s faith? That he entered into the Ark seven days before there was any proof or evidence that he would even need it. Rain had not yet been seen on the earth, yet Noah and his family entered seven days early.
Why did God call them in so early? So that there might be a visible proof of their faith. If you didn’t believe in the promise of God, you wouldn’t enter that Ark. You might consent to help build it, but if each member of the family hadn’t personally accepted the truth of God’s word, they would have never entered that boat under clear skies. Faith brings a response to God’s word, and the response by Noah and his family was to enter this Ark. We see proof, we see evidence of that faith in God’s word. He entered that Ark because he knew a flood was coming. It was a harder step than I think we can imagine, and it no doubt brought great ridicule by those in that day. And each of those who saw them enter heard Noah’s testimony, we can be certain, about the end was near, but there was no longer any hope for them. What do you think they were thinking maybe on day five or day six and everyone is outside making fun of them as they are stuck in this boat on dry land and sunny skies? And each of those who heard Noah’s testimony as he entered that Ark were dead as they stood outside the boat, even before the flood showed up.
Here we find another parallel and picture for the future judgment. In a future day, perhaps a day very soon, those God has declared righteous will be removed from the world for a short time so He can bring judgement upon those who remain on the Earth. Seven years to be exact. In Noah’s day it was seven days and in a future judgement it will be seven years. And those seven years will be a time of waiting for the world before judgment falls at Christ’s return. The entering of Noah and his family – the world’s entire righteous population – into the Ark pictures the rapture of the Church. All the world’s righteous are removed in an instant, gathered together with Christ, Who is pictured by the Ark itself. And we are hidden from the world for a time just as Noah’s family was hidden inside the Ark from the world. And we are taken as an early testimony to the world so they will know that there is a coming judgment.
Genesis 7:10-16 (NKJV)
10 And it came to pass after seven days that the waters of the flood were on the earth. 11 In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. 12 And the rain was on the earth forty days and forty nights.
13 On the very same day Noah and Noah’s sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth, and Noah’s wife and the three wives of his sons with them, entered the ark— 14 they and every beast after its kind, all cattle after their kind, every creeping thing that creeps on the earth after its kind, and every bird after its kind, every bird of every sort. 15 And they went into the ark to Noah, two by two, of all flesh in which is the breath of life. 16 So those that entered, male and female of all flesh, went in as God had commanded him; and the Lord shut (closed) him in.
We will learn more about Noah’s life in Part 5 on the story of Noah.
“The author’s biblical interpretations and conclusions presented in this document rely on original teaching used by permission of Verse By Verse Ministry International (VBVMI). The author’s views may not represent the views of VBVMI, it’s Directors or staff. Original VBVMI teaching may be found at http://www.vbvmi.org.”
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