Genesis 6-9

The  Great Flood

In our reading today we find that the world is becoming more and more corrupted by sin. It is clear that God has a plan for the world He created. One of the passages that make this clear is Proverbs 8:22-31. God has a plan and we are to respond to His plan but we can choose to follow God’s plan or chart our own course. Of course, the course in life we choose has a built in set of consequences. As God looks on in Chapter 6 we read in verse 6 that God repented (KJ) or was sorry (NASB) that He made man on earth. The word translated “repented” means to breathe forcibly or strongly. It does not mean that God made a mistake He regretted. It means the consequences of the path the people of the world had chosen were about to kick in.

The book of Jude records that Enoch prophesied of the coming Great Tribulation. In a sense the Great Flood and the Great Tribulation are bookends between which the Bible records a series of judgements on wickedness that God brings throughout history as warning of what is ahead. This can be seen in 1 Peter 3 where Peter makes reference to Noah building the ark and 2 Peter 3 where he, again, references the Great Flood but also the final destruction of  heaven and earth by fire. Jesus also made reference to Noah and the Great Flood when he taught on the end times and His second coming in Matthew 24 and Luke 17. We would do well to seek the Lord for a way of escape and it would be wise to heed the wisdom of Proverbs 8:32-36. Many believe, including me, that it is Jesus who is speaking in Proverbs 8. (See also John 1:1-5; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Colossians 1:15:19; Hebrews 1:1-3.)

So how do we escape God’s judgement on wickedness? Noah escaped by being righteous. Righteousness is a product of faith. We often look at someone who we consider righteous and think their conduct is what makes them righteous. We then may conclude that in order to be righteous we must have righteous behavior- all the time. If we believe this then we will work hard to do right things in order to be considered righteous. As a result we end up working hard because we think our hard work will make us righteous. Often one will make a list of do’s and don’ts and judge themselves and others by the list. It should be obvious that this is not going to work but it will become a lot of work because our faith is in the wrong place. It is in ourselves and in our ability.

Hebrews 11 is called the Faith Chapter in the Bible. Listed in this chapter are the names of people who are known for their faith in God. Eleven verses in this chapter are devoted to Abraham who is a great example of faith. However, in verse 7 we read, …by faith Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household, by which he condemned the world, and became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith. NASB

Do you see the progression here? Noah believed what God said and by faith in what God said, he took action. With each board he put in place to build the ark, with each animal he brought on board, and when he and His family climbed the ramp to go in the ark, he was building a vessel of faith in God, and when he and his family were safe inside we are told in Chapter 7 verse 16 that God closed the door. We are also told in Chapter 7 that for forty days the water prevailed until it covered the mountains yet everyone and every animal in the ark was safe.

The Hebrew word translated “prevailed” means something that is stronger or mightier than something else, but in this case not everything. This water that “prevailed” was the very water that lifted up the ark and the waters upon which the ark floated. So the waters that prevailed over the earth were the very waters that carried Noah, his family and his cargo to safety. Forty is often used in the Bible to indicate a period of time for testing or even tribulation. In Chapter 8:5&6 we read that the mountains began to appear after forty days. Jesus spent forty days in the wilderness and was tempted by Satan there. Moses was on Mt. Sinai for forty days and Israel spent forty years in the wilderness. Nineveh, the capital of Assyria, was given 40 days before they were to be judged, however, they repented and remained another 150 years or so before the city was destroyed for their wickedness.

There is another place where the Hebrew word for “prevailed” is used only this time it is translated “confirm.” We read it in Daniel 9:27. Here it speaks of the antichrist rising to power by making a covenant with world rulers which will be made at the beginning of the Great Tribulation. However, in this case, he will not prevail for forty years, only seven years. The final three and a half years will be especially harsh we are told in Daniel 9. In Matthew 24 Jesus describes the harshness and the signs that will take place during that time. He said in verse 22 that the time of tribulation will be cut short otherwise no one would survive it.

So what do we need to learn from Noah and the Ark? Well, we need to understand that the Great Flood is behind us in history but we need to learn from the Great Flood that God says what He means and does what He says He will do. Jesus and the prophets have warned us of the coming Great Tribulation. That is yet ahead of us so we need to pay attention to what God has revealed to us regarding what is ahead. This means we need to put our faith in what God has said and do what God has said for us to do. Jesus said heaven and earth will pass away but His Word will remain. We need to receive it and believe it. As I said earlier righteousness is a product of faith in the Words of God spoken to us. The righteous one will live by his faith we read in Habakkuk 2:4.

God’s wrath will be poured out on the unrighteous and wicked people of the world during the Great Tribulation but the wrath of God has already been poured out on Jesus when He died for the sins of the world. Those who have put their faith in Him have escaped the coming wrath of God and will be caught up into heaven before the wrath of God will be poured out just as Noah was lifted above the waters and escaped the judgement that came in the flood. So it is important to have our “ark of faith” in place and be watching ready to go. Jesus warns us that we will not know when the Great Tribulation will start in Matthew 24:36-42 but the times will be just as they were in Noah’s days so consider these verses your warning.

Have you escaped the coming wrath of God by receiving Jesus as your Lord and Savior? The time to act is now!

Pastor Dave