Then the LORD said to Noah, “Go into the ark, you and all your household, for I have seen that you are righteous before me in this generation.”Genesis 7:1
If you are driving along a road and you see a sign that warns of impending danger ahead, do you ignore it or do you follow the detour to safety? If you have been provided a means of rescue from forthcoming danger, and you choose not to take it, it says more about you and your own stubborn sense of self-reliance than the temperament of the one who extends the hand of salvation.
Noah had already been given the directions of what to do to build the ark. Now all that is left is to populate the ark in order to repopulate the earth after the waters subside. The last instructions the God gives is for Noah and his family to “Go into the ark.” But the instructions don’t end there. God explains why He chose Noah out of His own sovereign choice: “for I have seen that you are righteous before me in this generation.”
Again, we see God reiterate that Noah is deemed righteous, even though we know Noah to be born in the image of sinful Adam. What is it about Noah that makes him so special in the eyes of God. Surely there were others in the world that worshipped God, were there not? Surely there were innocent children and infants existing in the world that would be consumed by the flood to come, judged in accordance with the sins of their parents or the rest of the world around them through no fault of their own. Why would God choose Noah and his family out of all of the rest of creation for this “Great Reset?”
The answer can be found in Hebrews 11:7: “By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.” Twice, it is noted that the righteousness that was imputed to Noah was a result of his faith, demonstrated by his unwavering obedience, in the face of an event that the world had not seen up to that moment.
There is a common misconception that Noah and the people of the world had never experienced rain before and this is largely due to a contextual misunderstanding of Genesis 2:5,6 when God created Adam when it says “When on bush of the field was yet in the land and no small plant of the field had yet sprung up, for the LORD God had not caused it to rain on the land, there was no man to work the ground and a mist was going up from the land was watering the whole face of the ground.” The next mention of rain isn’t until Genesis 7:4, over 1000 years later.
However, if Noah is to build an ark of wood, then there has to have been rain on the land to grow the trees needed to produce the wood. The concept of flooding and rain is nothing new and it harkens the reader of Moses’ time to the periodic regional flooding of the Nile River that the Hebrew refugees were intimately familiar with. However, this would be a flood on an unprecedented scale. The mist mentioned in Genesis 2:6 is likely a mist created by thermal springs or fog, but would be insufficient for the growth of trees. The implication of Genesis 2:5 is that rain, and not just the mist, would be necessary for plant life to grow and thrive sufficiently to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth, and the mist was simply a temporary watering meant to kickstart what we know today as the water cycle of evaporation, condensation, and precipitation. The argument that Noah had no concept of rain is an argument from silence that assumes that God did not send any rain to the earth for over a thousand years until the events of the flood.
As such, since not only Noah knew about rain, it is likely that the people of the world were also familiar with rain and flooding. Additionally, Noah is never told in the Scripture to warn the rest of the world of the coming doom. While Peter does describe Noah as “a herald of righteousness” (2 Peter 2:5), this speaks more to the reality of Noah’s relationship with God that set him apart from the destruction of the world in God’s judgement upon the rest of the ungodly world.
Furthermore, there is no indication that the rest of the world “mocked Noah” as is commonly espoused as it is never mentioned in Scripture. In fact, that is pure speculation based on various interpretations of Scripture in light of different contexts that have nothing to do with the immediate context of Genesis 6. While it is possible and plausible to have occurred and just was not recorded in Scripture, it is irrelevant and there is no Biblical evidence to suggest it did. The simple facts are these:
- The world had descended into utter darkness and depravity.
- Noah walked with God and found favor in God’s eyes.
- God told Noah to build an ark for his family and animals to repopulate the earth after the flood.
- Noah did all that God had commanded him to do.
Could anyone else had made into the ark beyond Noah’s family? The possibility likely existed, but there is no indication that anyone else in the world outside of Noah’s family even had a clue of the coming judgement. The bottom line is we just don’t know. What we do know is that even in God’s judgement upon evil and ungodliness, He showed grace by providing an ark to preserve His faithfulness to His word and mercy upon one family that would provide an opportunity to give the world a fresh start.
There are two common misconceptions about God’s favor, both of which are completely non-biblical. 1. God’s favor is something that we earn. 2. Material blessing is the evidence of God’s favor. There is nothing we can do to earn the love of God. The view that material blessing in this world is the sign of God’s favor is the propagation of idolatry that turns the Father into a celestial genie that grant wishes at our beck and call. Just look at Noah here. The Scriptures declare that Noah found favor in God’s eyes, but he is going to wipe out nearly everything in the world of material value. And Noah and his family will have to start over again with next to nothing. There have been a few times in this life that my family has had to “start over” with nothing. But that has nothing to do with God’s faithfulness or favor. And sometimes, it’s the fresh start itself can be perceived as the sign of God’s favor.
The reality of God’s favor is this: it has nothing to do with us and has everything to do with God’s sovereignty and faithfulness to His word. He is faithful to His word regardless of our faithfulness to Him.
Today, we have a means of escape from the judgement of God – the cross of Calvary. Jesus took the cross as payment for our ungodliness and provided a means of escape for us. However, it requires us to enter into the ark of fellowship with Him in order to have His righteousness bestowed upon us. “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire and burned.” (John 15:5-6)
Are you abiding in Him? Are you walking with God? If so, then the invitation to escape the judgement is in you. If not, then please – let’s talk about what it means to have a fresh start. Let’s come together and see what God has in store for you as you seek His face.