We are beginning a series on Men in the Bible for Father’s Day by discussing Noah. Whether or not you’re a Jesus, God, or church person, you’ve heard of Noah and the ark. Noah’s ark is a theme for baby nurseries, the plot for movies, and on shelves in homes represented with all sorts of tchotchkes.
Unfortunately, many don’t spend too much time thinking about Noah because they think they already know the whole story: God hated the sin in the world and told Noah to build the ark. God flooded and destroyed all life on earth except for the eight people in Noah’s family and the chosen pairs of animal species. (Even dinosaurs were included in the selection process. Noah just had to be sure he obtained a pink one and blue one. Sorry for the bad pastor humor.) Then, God made a promise never to flood the world again and sealed his promise with the first rainbow.
When we gloss over the story this way, we miss what we can learn from Noah, the man. There is a reason why our first introduction to Noah tells us he “found favor in the eyes of the Lord (Genesis 6:8)” and he “was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time (Genesis 6:9).” Not only is he introduced this way, in the New Testament, the apostle Peter “connects Noah and the flood with Christ (Wiersbe).” Given those descriptions, Noah is someone who deserves our attention.
For this blog series, we are referencing Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe’s book Life Sentences often. Life Sentences: Discover the Key Themes of 63 Bible Characters. It highlights a key sentence that sums up the life of 63 Bible characters, including Noah. We highly encourage you to pick up a copy of this book for your own reading. It works well for devotional reading or study.
The “life sentence” Wiersbe chose to reflect Noah’s life comes from Genesis 6:22.
“Noah did everything just as God commanded him.”
Noah Walked with God
The first thing we see is Noah’s relationship with God. Genesis 6:9 says, “He walked faithfully with God.” His blameless character surely stood out from the wickedness of the time. Not only did Noah walk with God, so did his family. They followed Noah’s example set on the solid foundation of his God rather than the popular, ever-changing ideologies and philosophies of the world. In a world filled with wickedness and sin, Noah and his family must have seemed strange. Imagine how much stranger they seemed when Noah started to build the ark and warn of the impending flood! (Keep in mind it had never rained before.)
Note: It is widely theorized the pre-flood earth was quite different than today. Many creation scientists believe the earth resembled a huge greenhouse with a large layer of ice in the Earth’s outer atmosphere. This created a very moist and oxygen saturated environment where plants, people, and animals thrived more than any time since.
Noah Listened and Obeyed
Noah listened to God and obeyed – even when God’s requests made little sense to him. Noah understood God’s ways are not our ways nor His thoughts our thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9). Noah’s world was crazy, and God asked him to do something that, on the surface, seemed even crazier.
“Yet four times the narrative of Noah’s life says he did everything just as God commanded,” Wiersbe explains (Genesis 6:22, 7:5, 9, 16). When it comes to the ark, God provided Noah with clear detail about how to build the ark and who and what should be in the ark. The Bible doesn’t say Noah ever fought back – he did as God asked.
Noah Preached and Persevered
Not only did Noah build a giant ark in front of his neighbors, but he also preached God’s message. Peter calls him a “preacher of righteousness” thousands of years later. During the 100 years building the ark, Noah proclaimed God’s righteousness and urged sinners to repent. The people didn’t listen.
Noah’s actions also preached. He was building the ark God told him to build right out in the open. The people saw but did not believe. Wiersbe pointedly suggests, “All preachers, teachers, missionaries, and Christian witnesses who feel their efforts have failed should remember Noah’s patience and keep being faithful.” Since we know these were wicked, sinful people, we can assume they were not receiving what Noah was saying and doing with kindness, but Noah persevered anyway.
Noah Practiced Patience
He was faithful to God’s ark-building plan even though it took many, many years. According to Wiersbe, “For 120 years, Noah patiently preached to the people and worked on the ark, always walking with the Lord and seeking to please Him.” Can you imagine building something for 120 years? How about trusting God to do the impossible for that length of time? He waited patiently on the Lord and trusted him in the waiting.
“Because you know that the
testing of your faith produces perseverance”
– James 1:3
Noah Expressed Thanks
After the flood and Noah’s family’s return to the dry ground, we read, “Then Noah built an altar to the Lord and, taking some of all the clean animals and clean birds, he sacrificed burnt offerings on it (Genesis 8:20).” Wiersbe points out that there is no record showing God’s command for the sacrifice, but Noah chose to worship God at that moment. He exited the ark and gave thanks for God’s grace and mercy. In response, God made a covenant promise to never again destroy all living creatures (Genesis 8:21).
Noah Was Human – and Humans Sin
While most people only associate Noah with the ark, that is not where his story ends. This righteous man who found favor in the eyes of the Lord was human. And humans sin. Noah sinned by becoming drunk on wine from his vineyard and passing out naked. This shameful exposure of himself is a sad bookend to a story of biblical hero.
As Wiersbe explains, “God wants to remind us that all heroes are human and all humans are sinners. Noah was a great man who did a great work, but he didn’t end well, and that can happen to any of us.”