Noah the Faithful Servant
Sermon: Noah the Faithful Servant (Gen.5-9) 2-4-2007
BE A NOAH……..BE DIFFERENT from the “crowd”……..BE OBEDIENT TO GOD
He’s an example of a long term commitment to a God assigned task (120 yrs)
Obedience is a long term commitment
Phil 2:14 Do everything without complaining or arguing, 15so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe (RVR) Háganlo todo sin quejas ni contiendas para que sean irreprensibles [intachables] y sencillos [puros], hijos de Dios sin mancha [tacha] en medio de una generación maligna [torcida] y perversa [depravada] en medio de la cual resplandecen [brillan] como luminares [estrellas] en el mundo;
Isai 54:9 "To me this is like the days of Noah, when I swore that the waters of Noah would never again cover the
earth. So now I have sworn not to be angry with you, never to rebuke you again. (NBLH) "Porque esto es para Mí como en los días de Noé, Cuando juré que las aguas de Noé Nunca más inundarían la tierra. Así he jurado que no me enojaré contra ti, Ni te reprenderé.
Ezek 14:14 even if these three men--Noah, Daniel and Job--were in it, they could save only themselves by their
righteousness, declares the Sovereign LORD. 20 as surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, even if Noah, Daniel and Job were in it, they could save neither son nor daughter. They would save only themselves by their righteousness. (NBLH) y aunque estos tres hombres, Noé, Daniel y Job, estuvieran en medio de ese país, sólo ellos se salvarían a sí mismos por su justicia," declara el Señor DIOS.
Matt 24:37 As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For in the days before
the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; 39 and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. (NBLH) "Pero de aquel día y hora nadie sabe, ni siquiera los ángeles del cielo, ni el Hijo, sino sólo el Padre. 37 "Porque como en los días de Noé, así será la venida del Hijo del Hombre. 38 "Pues así como en aquellos días antes del diluvio estaban comiendo y bebiendo, casándose y dándose en matrimonio, hasta el día en que Noé entró en el arca, 39 y no comprendieron hasta que vino el diluvio y se los llevó a todos; así será la venida del Hijo del Hombre.
Heb 11:7 By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his
faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith. (NBLH) Por la fe Noé, siendo advertido por Dios acerca de cosas que aún no se veían, con temor reverente preparó un arca para la salvación de su casa, por la cual condenó al mundo, y llegó a ser heredero de la justicia que es según la fe
1Pet 3:19 through whom also he went and preached to the spirits in prison 20 who disobeyed long ago when God
waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, 21 and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also--not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ,
NVI Por medio del Espíritu fue y predicó a los espíritus encarcelados, 20 que en los tiempos antiguos, en los días de Noé, desobedecieron, cuando Dios esperaba con paciencia mientras se construía el arca. En ella sólo pocas personas, ocho en total, se salvaron mediante el agua, 21 la cual simboliza el bautismo que ahora los salva también a ustedes. El bautismo no consiste en la limpieza del cuerpo, sino en el compromiso de tener una buena conciencia delante de Dios. Esta salvación es posible por la resurrección de Jesucristo,
2Pet 2:5 if he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah,
a preacher of righteousness, and seven others (NBLH) Tampoco perdonó al mundo antiguo, sino que guardó a Noé, un predicador (heraldo) de justicia, con otros siete, cuando trajo el diluvio sobre el mundo de los impíos.
Jude 14 Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men: “See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones 15 to judge everyone, and to convict all the ungodly of all the ungodly acts they have done in the ungodly way, and of all the harsh words ungodly sinners have spoken against him.(NBLH) De éstos también profetizó Enoc, en la séptima generación desde Adán, diciendo: “El Señor vino con muchos millares de Sus santos, para ejecutar juicio sobre todos, y para condenar a todos los impíos de todas sus obras de impiedad, que han hecho impíamente, y de todas las cosas ofensivas (duras) que pecadores impíos dijeron contra El
BKC – the genealogy from adam to noah (chap. 5) The genealogy in this chapter is a “vertical” list, showing descendancy from Adam through Seth to Noah. The Cainites’ genealogy in chapter 4 had 7 generations (from Cain to Jubal); this genealogy has 10 (from Adam to Noah). Both lists end with three sons coming from the final name on the list (Jabal, Jubal, Tubal-Cain [4:20-22]; Shem, Ham, Japheth [5:32]). In each list only one man spoke—Lamech in the Cainite list (4:23-24), and a different Lamech in the Sethite list (5:29). The Cainite Lamech was taunting the curse (4:24), whereas the Sethite Lamech was moaning under the curse, looking for comfort from his son Noah (5:29). Both the biblical record and the Sumerian King List from Mesopotamia attest to the longevity of the ancient people. Apparently the environment before the Flood enabled people to live longer. Certainly this could have been part of God’s plan to fill up the earth (1:28). 5:1-2. This chapter begins with a reiteration of the creation of man in (or, “as”) the likeness (“resemblance,” a synonym of “image”; 1:26-27) of God. One cannot miss the emphasis on the blessing of the image (He blessed them) at Creation. But with that in mind the chapter then traces the result of sin, death. 5:3-32. God’s image in Adam was then reproduced in Seth, Adam’s son. The capacities and qualities of a parent are passed on to his children by natural reproduction. Besides providing the link between Adam and his times and Noah and his, this chapter has a motif that cannot be missed—and then he died (vv. 5, 8, 11, 14, 17, 20, 27, 31). If one were in doubt whether the wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23), he need only look at human history.In Enoch’s case, the statement was not made—as it was with the other males in this genealogy—that he lived so many years and then died. Instead he walked with God (Gen. 5:22, 24). “Walk” is the biblical expression for fellowship and obedience that results in divine favor. Enoch’s walk lasted 300 years. No doubt his walk would have continued, but God took him away (v. 24)—he did not die. Such a walk was commanded of Israel (Lev. 26:3, 12) and of the church. Genesis 5 includes the etymology of the name of Noah (v. 29), whose life would be the dominant force in the sections to follow. Lamech named his son Noah, hoping he would bring comfort to them from the curse (v. 29; “painful toil” and the ground’s curse in 3:17). “Comfort” is not the meaning of “Noah,” but the words sound the same. Lamech had no idea how God would turn these words around and fulfill the wish in His own way (6:5-8), but he did have high hopes for his boy. Thus a second glimmer of hope appears in this chapter of death. Enoch escaped the curse of death, and Noah would comfort those under the curse. the corruption of the race (6:1-8)This section’s details have been the subject of endless debates, often leaving the obvious untouched. It must be remembered that it is part of the ṯôleḏôṯ beginning in 5:1. Whatever view one takes of the details, it is clear that these verses show how wicked the human race had become, and that death was its ongoing punishment. 6:1-4. Many have suggested that the sons of God were the godly line of Seth and the daughters of men were the Cainites. But this does not do justice to the terminology or the context. Others view the “sons of God” as angels (Job 1:6), who cohabited with women on earth. This, however, conflicts with Matthew 22:30. The incident is one of hubris, the proud overstepping of bounds. Here it applies to “the sons of God,” a lusty, powerful lot striving for fame and fertility. They were probably powerful rulers who were controlled (indwelt) by fallen angels. It may be that fallen angels left their habitation and inhabited bodies of human despots and warriors, the mighty ones of the earth. It is known from Ezekiel 28:11-19 and Daniel 10:13 that great kings of the earth have “princes” ruling behind them—their power is demonic. It is no surprise that in Ugaritic literature (as well as other nations’ literature), kings are described as divine, half-divine, or demigods. Pagans revered these great leaders. Many mythological traditions describe them as being the offspring of the gods themselves. In fact bn’lm (“sons of the gods”) in Ugaritic is used of members of the pantheon as well as great kings of the earth. In the Ugaritic legend of the Dawn, the chief god of the pantheon, El, seduced two human women. This union of a god with human women produced Šḥr (“Dawn”) and Šlm (“Dusk”) who seem to have become goddesses representing Venus. Thus for the pagans, gods had their origin in copulation between gods and humans. Any superhuman individual in a myth or any mythological or actual giant would suggest a divine origin to the pagans. Genesis 6:1-4, then, describes how corrupt the world got when this violation was rampant. It is also a polemic against the pagan belief that giants (Nephilim; Num. 13:32-33) and men of renown (Gen. 6:4) were of divine origin, and that immortality was achieved by immorality. The Canaanite cult (and most cults in the ancient Near East) included fertility rites involving sympathetic magic, based on the assumption that people are supernaturally affected through an object which represents them. Israel was warned to resist this because it was completely corrupt and erroneous. The passage, then, refutes pagan beliefs by declaring the truth. The sons of God were not divine; they were demon-controlled. Their marrying as many women as they wished (possibly this is the origin of harems) was to satisfy their baser instincts. They were just another low order of creatures, though powerful and demon-influenced. Children of these marriages, despite pagan ideas, were not god-kings. Though heroes and “men of renown,” they were flesh; and they died, in due course, like all members of the human race. When God judges the world—as He was about to—no giant, no deity, no human has any power against Him. God simply allots one’s days and brings his end.6:5-8. God’s words concerning the human race are filled with pathos. People’s wickedness was great, and every inclination (better, “plan,” yēṣer) of their hearts was only evil continually (8:21, “every indication of his heart is evil from childhood”). God had made man by design (yāṣar, “to form by design”; 2:7), but man had taken that capacity given to him and produced evil alone. There is hardly a stronger statement in the Bible about the sin of mankind. This passage gives insight into Jesus’ explanation that “before the Flood people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage” (Matt. 24:38)—seemingly a harmless statement until its context is studied. In addition man was “corrupt” and “full of violence” (Gen. 6:11, 13). The wordplays in verses 5-8 are striking. God “repented” (kjv) that He had made man because the sin of the race filled Him with pain. The words “repented,” “pain,” and “made” go back to chapters 3 and 5. Lamech longed for comfort (nāḥam), from the painful toil under the curse (5:29). Now God “repented” (nāḥam, was grieved, niv) that He had made man because human sin pained Him (6:6). This is why pain was brought into the world—God was grieved with sin. But now God, rather than comforting man, “repented” after making him. This gave an ironic twist to Lamech’s words. God determined to destroy them all. (“Repented” does not suggest that God changed His mind, for He is changeless [Mal. 3:6]. Instead, it means that God was sorrowful.) Even though swift judgment would fall because God’s Spirit would not always shield (dûn; “shield” is better than niv‘s “contend with,” Gen. 6:3) mankind, the judgment would be delayed 120 years (v. 3). During this time Noah was “a preacher of righteousness” (2 Peter 2:5). Noah was a recipient of God’s grace and therefore was spared from the judgment (in contrast with those who aspired to immortality). In the time of Moses, Israel would know they were chosen of God and should walk in righteousness. They, as God’s people, would meet the Nephilim, the Anakites (Num. 13:33), and the Rephaites (Deut. 2:11; 3:13; Josh. 12:4) when they entered the land. But Israel should not fear them as demigods. God would judge the corrupt world for its idolatry and fornication. And in the latter day the wicked will suddenly be swept away by judgment when God will establish His theocratic kingdom of blessing (Matt. 24:36-39).The succession from Noah (6:9-9:29) the judgment by the flood (6:9-8:22) God judged the wicked with a severe and catastrophic judgment in order to start life over again with a worshipful covenant. In the midst of the Flood, in which the sovereign Lord of Creation destroyed the world Noah, God’s servant and a recipient of grace, sailed through to the “new creation” and worshiped God.Why would God bring such a Flood? There are several reasons: (1) God is sovereign over all creation and frequently uses nature to judge mankind. (2) The Flood was the most effective way of purging the world. It would wash it clean so that not a trace of the wicked could be found. The dove would not find a place “to set its feet” (8:6-9). (3) The Flood was used by God to start a “new creation.” The first Creation with Adam is paralleled here by the second with Noah. Much as the dry land appeared from the receding waters (1:9), so here the waters abated until the ark came to rest on Ararat (8:4). When Noah was finished with the ark God commissioned him to be fruitful and multiply (9:1) and to have dominion over the earth (9:2), just as He had told Adam (1:26, 28). Noah planted a garden (9:20), whereas God planted a garden for Adam and Eve (2:8). But sin had tarnished the race. Adam and Noah are contrasted: whereas Adam’s nakedness was a sign of righteousness (2:25), Noah’s was one of degradation (9:21) and he ended up cursing his grandson Canaan (9:25-27).The motifs in 6:9-8:22 are significant. First, God is shown to be the Judge of the whole earth. In a word He made distinctions between the righteous and the unrighteous, the clean and the unclean. What was clean was for God.A second motif is that God made provision for the recipients of His grace. Thus the warning is that those who claim to be grace-receivers should walk with God in righteousness, being separate from sinners.A third motif had significance for Israel. As God judged the world in Noah’s day and brought Noah through the Flood, so He judged the wicked Egyptians and brought Israel through the waters of the Red Sea to worship and serve Him. Instructions for that worship were distinctly spelled out in Leviticus. It is not surprising that many terms used here (Gen. 6:9-8:22) also appear in Leviticus.It was expedient that that generation of sinners die so that all others might be warned of the coming wrath of God. However, Noah escaped through the judgment to a new age; catastrophe does not interrupt God’s program. The Flood narrative points up God’s power and freedom over His creation. The Flood reveals God’s deadly anger over sin. The Flood shows that God’s gracious redemption is meaningful in light of judgment, and that His grace is not to be taken lightly. The cause of God’s judgment is stressed—the monstrous acts of sin performed in their habitual courses. In this the Genesis Flood is distinct from pagan accounts; the Babylonian Gilgamesh account explained that the gods brought the Flood because of noise humans made. So basically chapters 6-9 answer the question, What is the end of man? Can he get away with pursuing life immorally and enjoying the pleasures of this world with reckless abandon? Is this life final or preparatory? God’s judgment makes the answer clear. But the expense seems so great. This judgment seems harsh. No word about the terror of the lost is mentioned, though Noah must have felt it. The Flood shows the extent to which God will go to help bring about holiness and rest on the earth. It is here that the godly find encouragement—in God’s plan for good to triumph ultimately over evil. Only one other event shows that holiness among people is the object for which God will sacrifice everything else—the crucifixion of His Son.The narrative divides into three sections: the commission to Noah to build the ark and preserve life (6:9-7:5), the destruction of all flesh outside the ark by water (7:6-24), and the sacrificial worship by Noah after the Flood (chap. 8).The commission to Noah (6:9-7:5) 6:9-13. In contrast with the reason for the Flood in the Babylonian account (the caprice of the gods because of man’s noise), the biblical record presents the Flood as a distinctly moral judgment. The human race had become so corrupt (vv. 11-12) and full of violence (vv. 11, 13) that God’s wrath would destroy all flesh, except Noah, who walked with God (v. 9), and his family (v. 18).6:14-18. The deliverance was to be by means of an ark, a flat-bottomed rectangular vessel 450 long, 75 wide, and 45 high, with a displacement of some 43,300 tons and three decks. (The sketch is one artist’s concept of how the ark may have looked.) The ship in the Babylonian tradition was of cubical construction and was five times as big as Noah’s ark. Genesis alone preserves the description of a seaworthy vessel. 6:19-7:5. Into this ark Noah was to take all kinds of animals to preserve life on earth. A distinction was made very early between clean and unclean animals. To preserve life Noah had to take on board two of every kind of animal, but for food and for sacrificing he had to bring seven pairs of each kind of clean animal (7:2). The distinction between clean and unclean animals became a major point in the Levitical order (Lev. 11:2-23).The destruction of all flesh outside the ark (7:6-24) 7:6-20. After all preparations had been completed, the Flood came. On the one hand there was a torrential rain for 40 days and nights (vv. 11-12). On the other hand there were corresponding gigantic upheavals and shiftings of the earth’s crust which caused the oceans’ floors to rise and break up their reservoirs of subterranean waters (v. 11). As a result, the whole earth was flooded in the disaster (v. 19). No doubt the surface of the earth, the manner of life, and the longevity of life were changed by this catastrophe.7:21-24. Everything living . . . on the earth (outside the ark) was destroyed. Only marine life survived. Sin had infected every aspect of life, and nothing short of a new beginning would suffice. Thus it will also be at the end of this Age (Matt. 24:37-39). Noah’s sacrificial worship (chap. 8) 8:1-3. The heavy rains lasted 40 days (7:4, 12), but the waters continued on for 110 days (7:24, “The waters flooded the earth for 150 days”; kjv has “the waters prevailed”). The 40 days were part of the 150 days, with apparently lighter rain falling (or subterranean water upheavals continuing for another 110 days; see the chart “Chronology of the Flood”).8:4-19. The ark rested in the mountains of Ararat 150 days after the rains began. Assyrian records may identify such a name in Armenia of eastern Turkey, but the precise location remains unknown. After it was clear that the earth was suitable for habitation, the eight people and all the animals left the ark. This was 377 days after they had entered it (7:11 with 8:13-14). The theme of “rest” seems to be quite strong throughout the story. The ark rested (v. 4); at first the dove could find no place to set its feet (v. 9; lit., “could not find a resting place for its feet”). When the ark came to rest on Ararat, this was more than a physical landing on dry ground. It was a new beginning; the world was clean and at rest.8:20-22. Leaving the ark, Noah made a sacrifice to God, which was a pleasing aroma to Him. The people of God are a worshiping people, as Israel would learn, and that worship was to take the form of giving God some of the best of what was His. The redeemed of the Lord offer Him the praise of their lips (Heb. 13:15), the best of their possessions (Prov. 3:9), and the willingness and humility of their spirits. Noah received God’s grace, walked with God in obedience and righteousness, was preserved from judgment, entered a new age with people’s wickedness temporarily removed, and responded with worship and sacrifice.After Noah made the sacrifice, God promised never to curse the ground in this way again. The continuity of seasons is evidence of God’s forbearance. the covenant with noah (9:1-17) 9:1-4. God instructed Noah to be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth (vv. 1, 7) just as He had told Adam (1:28). And Noah, like Adam, was to have dominion over animals (9:2; 1:26, 28). Also both were given food to eat (9:3; 1:29; 2:16) with one prohibition (9:5-6; 2:17). 9:5-7. With Noah’s new beginning came a covenant. It was necessary now to have a covenant with obligations for mankind and a promise from God. Because of the Flood’s destruction of life people might begin to think that God holds life cheap and assume that taking life is a small matter. This covenant shows that life is sacred and that man is not to destroy man, who is made in the image of God. In essence, then, this covenant was established to ensure the stability of nature. It helped guarantee the order of the world. People would also learn that human law was necessary for the stability of life and that wickedness should not go unchecked as it had before. So human government was brought in. 9:8-17. That this covenant (vv. 9, 11-13, 15-17) is cosmic and universal (every living creature, vv. 10 [twice], 12; all living creatures, vv. 15-16; all life, vv. 11, 15, 17) is seen from the rainbow God gave as a sign (vv. 12-13, 17). When it arches over the horizon after a rainfall it is an all-embracing sign of God’s faithfulness to His work of grace. Signs remind participants in a covenant to keep the stipulations. In the rainbow God, who is omniscient, perpetually reminds Himself (repeated in vv. 15-16) never to flood the whole world again (vv. 11, 15). Since no rain had fallen before the Flood (2:5), no rainbow was needed. Now when clouds clear, light refraction shows this marvelous display. The rainbow arcs like a battle bow hung against the clouds. (The Heb. word for rainbow, qešeṯ, is also the word for a battle bow.) Elsewhere in the Old Testament God referred to judgment storms by using terms for bows and arrows.The bow is now “put away,” hung in place by the clouds, suggesting that the “battle,” the storm, is over. Thus the rainbow speaks of peace. In the ancient Near East, covenant treaties were made after wars as a step toward embarking on peace. Similarly God, after judging sin, made a covenant of peace. Israel certainly would be strengthened to see in the skies again and again God’s pledge that He keeps His promise of grace. But certainly it also reminded the faithful in Israel that God’s judgment was completed for that age. Judgment will come once again in the end times (Zech. 14:1-3; Rev. 19:15) before there can be complete millennial peace and rest (Rev. 20:6). So Genesis 9:8-17 anticipates that in the end Israel will beat her swords into plowshares (Isa. 2:4; Micah 4:3). In the meantime life goes on in a new order; the divine will of forbearance, “common grace,” is at work until that end.the curse of canaan (9:18-29)This passage has several interpretive problems that have always plagued Bible scholars. It is important to remember the purpose of the book, for this passage has direct reference to the nature and destiny of the Canaanites, Israel’s antagonists.9:18-23. Those who came out of the ark are identified, with the special note that Ham was the father of Canaan. From Noah’s three sons descended all the world’s people. The descendants of Shem were the Shemites from whom Abraham descended (10:21-31; 11:10-26).Noah, “the man of the earth” (as the rabbis translated the words a man of the soil), began to plant a vineyard. Though wine is said to cheer the heart (Jud. 9:13; Ps. 104:15) and alleviate the pain of the curse (Prov. 31:6), it is also clear that it has disturbing effects. Here Noah lay drunk and naked in his tent. Intoxication and sexual looseness are hallmarks of pagans, and both are traced back to this event in Noah’s life. Man had not changed at all; with the opportunity to start a “new creation,” Noah acted like a pagan (Gen. 6:5; 8:21). The basic question concerns what Ham, Noah’s youngest son, did (9:22, 24) and why Noah cursed Ham’s “son” Canaan (vv. 25-27). Many fanciful ideas have been proposed . The rabbis said Ham castrated Noah, thus explaining why Noah had no other sons. Others claim that Ham slept with his mother, thus uncovering his father’s nakedness, and that Canaan was the offspring of that union. Others have said that Ham was involved in a homosexual attack on his father. But the Hebrew expression here means what it says: Ham . . . saw his father’s nakedness (v. 22). He was not involved with Noah sexually, for in that case the Hebrew would be translated “he uncovered (causative form of gālâh) his father’s nakedness.” Instead Noah had already uncovered himself (wayyiṯgal, reflexive form, v. 21), and Ham saw him that way.To the ancients, however, even seeing one’s father naked was a breach of family ethic. The sanctity of the family was destroyed and the strength of the father was made a mockery. Ham apparently stumbled on this accidentally, but went out and exultingly told his two brothers, as if he had triumphed over his father.So what seems to be a trivial incident turned out to be a major event. Noah’s oracle (vv. 25-27) showed that the natures of his three sons would be perpetuated in their descendants. In all but one of the verses in Leviticus 18:6-19, Moses used the causative form of the verb gālâh to refer to the Canaanites’ (Ham’s descendants) “uncovering” another’s nakedness (rendered in the niv, “have sexual relations”). This euphemism reports the actual licentious and repulsively immoral behavior of the descendants of Ham (cf. Lev. 18:3). Ham’s disposition toward moral abandon thus bore fruit in the immoral acts of his descendants, the Canaanites.9:24-29. Because of this incident Noah prophesied about his sons’ descendants. He began with the direct words, Cursed be Canaan! However, Noah was not punishing Ham’s son for something Ham did. Instead, Noah’s words referred to the nation of Canaanites that would come from Ham through Canaan. Ham’s act of hubris could not be left without repercussions. A humiliation in like measure was needed, according to the principle of retributive justice. Ham had made an irreparable breach in his father’s family; thus a curse would be put on his son’s family. It has been suggested that Ham may have attempted to seize leadership over his brothers for the sake of his own line. This would be similar to other ancient traditions about a son replacing his father. But if he did his attempt failed, and his line through Canaan was placed not in leadership over other clansmen, but under them (v. 25). Noah’s oracle predicted that the Canaanites would be in servitude to the Shemites and Japhethites (vv. 26-27). But this was because the Canaanites lived degrading lives like Ham, not because of what Ham did. The point is that nationally, at least, drunken debauchery enslaves a people. This is why, in God’s program to bless Israel, the Canaanites were condemned. They were to be judged by God through the Conquest because their activities were in the same pattern and mold as their ancestor Ham.The enslavement of Canaanites is seen in many situations in the history of the Old Testament. Such a case turned up fairly soon; the Canaanites were defeated and enslaved by eastern kings (chap. 14). Another example was the Gibeonites who later under Joshua became wood choppers and water carriers for Israel’s tabernacle (Josh. 9:27). If the subjugation of Canaan to Japheth’s line is to be carried to the extreme, as ‘eḇeḏ (slave, Gen. 9:26-27) sometimes implies, then it would go no further than the Battle of Carthage (146 b.c.) where the Phoenicians (who were Canaanites) were finally defeated. But Noah’s words seem to be more of a general than a specific prophecy, that the line of Shem will be blessed and the line of Ham in Canaan will be cursed. This blessing-cursing motif is crucial in Genesis. The Canaanites would have to be dispossessed from their place by Israel under Joshua in order for blessing to come on Shem (v. 26) and for the Japhethites to dwell in the tents of Shem (v. 27). This meant that the Japhethites would live with the Shemites on friendly terms, not that the Japhethites would dispossess the Shemites. So verses 24-29 actually set the foundation for Israel’s foreign policy in the land (Deut. 20:16-18).
JM - 5:1–6:8 the genealogy of Adam. Ten specific families are mentioned. Most likely, in accord with other biblical genealogies, this listing is representative rather than complete (cf. Ruth 4:18–22).5:1–32 Adam … Noah. The genealogy connects Adam to the Noahic family which not only survived the Flood, but also became first in God’s re-creation. Two recurring phrases carry redemption history forward: “ … and he had sons and daughters,” “ … and he died.” These lines, which get repeated for each successive descendant of Adam, echo two contrasting realities; God had said “you shall surely die,” (2:17) but He had also commanded them to “Be fruitful and multiply” (1:28).5:1 the likeness of God. See notes on 1:26.5:2 called them Mankind. In naming man, God declared His own dominion over all creation (Matt. 19:4; Mark 10:6).5:3 in his own likeness, after his image. The human image and likeness in which God created mankind was procreatively passed to the second generation and to all generations which follow. 5:5 nine hundred and thirty years. These are literal years marking unusual length of life which are accounted for by the pre-Flood environment provided by the earth being under a canopy of water, filtering out the ultraviolet rays of the sun and producing a much more moderate and healthful condition. See notes on 1:7; 2:6. and he died. God told Adam that if he ate of the tree he would surely die (2:17). It included spiritual death immediately and then physical death later.5:24 walked with God … was not, for God took him. Enoch is the only break in the chapter from the incessant comment, “and he died.” Cf. 4:17,18; 1 Chr. 1:3; Luke 3:37; Heb. 11:5; Jude 14. Only one other man is said to have enjoyed this intimacy of relationship in walking with God, Noah (6:9). Enoch experienced being taken to heaven alive by God, as did Elijah later (2 Kin. 2:1–12).5:25–27 Methuselah. The man who lived the longest life on record. He died the year of the flood judgment (cf. 7:6).5:29 This one will comfort us. Comfort would come through the godly life of Noah, who is an “heir of the righteousness” which is according to faith (Heb. 11:7). 6:1–4 The account that follows records an act of degradation that reveals the end-point of God’s patience.6:1 Such long lifespans as indicated in the record of chap. 5 caused massive increase in earth’s population.6:2 the sons of God saw the daughters of men. The sons of God, identified elsewhere almost exclusively as angels (Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7), saw and took wives of the human race. This produced an unnatural union which violated the God-ordained order of human marriage and procreation (Gen. 2:24). Some have argued that the sons of God were the sons of Seth who cohabited with the daughters of Cain; others suggest they were perhaps human kings wanting to build harems. But the passage puts strong emphasis on the angelic vs. human contrast. The NT places this account in sequence with other Genesis events and identifies it as involving fallen angels who indwelt men (see notes on 2 Pet. 2:4,5; Jude 6). Matthew 22:30 does not necessarily negate the possibility that angels are capable of procreation, but just that they do not marry. To procreate physically, they had to possess human, male bodies.6:3 My Spirit. Cf. Gen. 1:2. The Holy Spirit played a most active role in the OT. The Spirit had been striving to call men to repentance and righteousness, especially as Scripture notes, through the preaching of Enoch and Noah (1 Pet. 3:20; 2 Pet. 2:5; Jude 14). one hundred and twenty. The span of time until the Flood (cf. 1 Pet. 3:20), in which man was given opportunity to respond to the warning that God’s Spirit would not always be patient. 6:4 giants. The word nephilim is from a root meaning “to fall,” indicating that they were strong men who “fell” on others in the sense of overpowering them (the only other use of this term is in Num. 13:53). They were already in the earth when the “mighty men” and “men of renown” were born. The fallen ones are not the offspring from the union in 6:1,2. 6:5 his heart was only evil continually. This is one of the strongest and clearest statements about man’s sinful nature. Sin begins in the thought-life (see notes on James 1:13–15). The people of Noah’s day were exceedingly wicked, from the inside out. Cf. Jer. 17:9,10; Matt. 12:34,35; 15:18,19; Mark 7:21; Luke 6:45.6:6 sorry … grieved. Sin sorrowed God who is holy and without blemish (Eph. 4:30). Cf. Ex. 32:14; 1 Sam. 15:11; Jer. 26:3. 6:7 God promised total destruction when His patience ran out (cf. Eccl. 8:11).6:8 But Noah found grace. Lest one believe that Noah was spared because of his good works alone (cf. Heb. 11:7), God makes it clear that Noah was a man who believed in God as Creator, Sovereign, and the only Savior from sin. He found grace for himself, because he humbled himself and sought it (cf. 4:26). See notes on Is. 55:6,7; he was obedient, as well (6:22; 7:5; James 4:6–10). 6:9–9:29 The generations of Noah. 6:9 a just man … perfect … walked. Cf. Ezek. 14:14,20; 2 Pet. 2:5. The order is one of increasing spiritual quality before God: “just” is to live by God’s righteous standards; “perfect” sets him apart by a comparison with those of his day; and that he “walked with God” puts him in a class with Enoch (5:24). 6:11 corrupt … filled with violence. Cf. 6:3,5. The seed of Satan, the fallen rejectors of God, deceitful and destructive, had dominated the world. 6:13 I will destroy them with the earth. Destroy did not mean annihilation, but rather referred to the flood judgment, both of the earth and its inhabitants.6:14 ark. A hollow chest, a box designed to float on water (Ex. 2:3). gopherwood. Probably cedar or cypress trees, abundant in the mountains of Armenia. 6:15,16 While the ark was not designed for beauty or speed, these dimensions provided extraordinary stability in the tumultuous floodwaters. A cubit was about 18 inches long, making the ark 450 feet long, 75 feet wide, and 45 feet high. A gigantic box of that size would be very stable in the water, impossible to capsize. The volume of space in the ark was 1.4 million cubic feet, equal to the capacity of 522 standard railroad box cars, which could carry 125,000 sheep. It had 3 stories, each 15 feet high; each deck was equipped with various rooms (lit. “nests”). “Pitch” was a resin substance to seal the seams and cracks in the wood. The “window” may have actually been a low wall around the flat roof to catch water for all on the ark. 6:17 floodwaters. Other notable Scriptures on the worldwide flood brought by God include: Job 12:15; 22:16; Pss. 29:10; 104:6–9; Is. 54:9; Matt. 24:37–39; Luke 17:26,27; Heb. 11:7; 1 Pet. 3:20; 2 Pet. 2:5; 3:5,6. 6:18 But I will establish My covenant with you. In contrast with the rest of the created order which God was to destroy, Noah and his family were not only to be preserved, but they were to enjoy the provision and protection of a covenant relationship with God. This is the first mention of “covenant” in Scripture. This pledged covenant is actually made and explained in 9:9–17 (see notes there).6:19,20 There are less than 18,000 species living on earth today. This number may have been doubled to allow for now extinct creatures. With two of each, a total of 72,000 creatures is reasonable as indicated in the note on 6:15,16; the cubic space could hold 125,000 sheep, and since the average size of land animals is less than a sheep, perhaps less than 60 percent of the space was used. The very large animals were surely represented by young. There was ample room also for the one million species of insects, as well as food for a year for everyone (v. 21).7:1 righteous. Cf. 6:9; Job 1:1. 7:2,3 seven … seven. The extra 5 pairs of clean animals and birds would be used for sacrifice (8:20) and food (9:3). 7:3 to keep the species alive. So that God could use them to replenish the earth. 7:4 God allowed one more week for sinners to repent. rain … forty days and forty nights. A worldwide rain for this length of time is impossible in post-Flood atmospheric conditions, but not then. The canopy that covered the whole earth (see note on 1:7), a thermal water blanket encircling the earth, was to be condensed and dumped all over the globe (v. 10).
|The Flood Chronology|
|1.||In the 600th year of Noah (second month, tenth day), Noah entered the ark (Gen. 7:4,10,11).|
|2.||In the 600th year of Noah (second month, seventeenth day), the flood began (Gen. 7:11).|
|3.||The waters flooded the earth for 150 days (5 months of 30 days each), including the 40 days and 40 nights of rain (Gen. 7:12,17,24; 8:1).|
|4.||In the 600th year of Noah (seventh month, seventh day), the waters began to recede (7:24; 8:1).|
|5.||The waters later receded to the point that (600th year, seventh month, seventeenth day) the ark rested on Ararat (Gen. 8:3,4).|
|6.||The waters continued to abate so that (600th year, tenth month, first day) the tops of the mountains were visible (Gen. 8:5).|
|7.||Forty days later (600th year, eleventh month, tenth day) Noah sent out a raven and a dove (Gen. 8:6). Over the next 14 days, Noah sent out two more doves (Gen. 8:10,12). In all, this took 61 days or two months and one day.|
|8.||By Noah’s 601st year on the first month, the first day, the water had dried up (Gen. 8:12,13).|
|9.||Noah waited one month and twenty-six days before he disembarked in the second month, the 27th day of his 601st year. From beginning to end, the Flood lasted one year and ten days from Gen. 7:11 to Gen. 8:14.|
7:11 month … day. The calendar system of Noah’s day is unknown, although it appears that one month equaled 30 days. If calculated by the Jewish calendar of Moses’ day, it would be about May. This period of God’s grace was ended (cf. 6:3,8; 7:4). all the fountains of the great deep were broken up. The subterranean waters sprang up from inside the earth to form the seas and rivers (1:10; 2:10–14), which were not produced by rainfall (since there was none), but by deep fountains in the earth. the windows of heaven. The celestial waters in the canopy encircling the globe were dumped on the earth and joined with the terrestrial and the subterranean waters (cf. 1:7). This ended the water canopy surrounding the earth and unleashed the water in the earth; together these phenomena began the new system of hydrology that has since characterized the earth (see Job 26:8; Eccl. 1:7; Is. 55:10; Amos 9:6). The sequence in this verse, indicating that the earth’s crust breaks up first, then the heavens drop their water, is interesting because the volcanic explosions that would have occurred when the earth fractured would have sent magma and dust into the atmosphere, along with gigantic sprays of water, gas, and air—all penetrating the canopy triggering its downpour. 7:16 the Lord shut him in. No small event is spared in the telling of this episode, although the details are sparse. 7:19 all the high hills. This describes the extent of the Flood as global. Lest there be any doubt, Moses adds “under the whole heaven” (cf. 2 Pet. 3:5–7). There are over 270 flood stories told in cultures all over the earth, which owe their origin to this one global event. 7:20 The highest mountains were at least 22.5 feet under water, so that the ark floated freely above the peaks. This would include the highest peak in that area, Mt. Ararat (8:4), which is ca. 17,000 feet high. That depth further proves it was not a local flood, but a global one. 7:24 one hundred and fifty days. These days included the 40 day and night period of rain (7:12,17). The Flood rose to its peak at that point (cf. 8:3). It then took over 2½ months before the water receded to reveal other mountain peaks (8:4,5), over 4½ months before the dove could find dry land (8:8–12), and almost 8 months before the occupants could leave the ark (8:14). 8:1 Then God remembered Noah. God’s covenant with Noah brought provision and protection in the midst of severe judgment. The remnant was preserved and God initiated steps toward reestablishing the created order on earth. the waters subsided. God used the wind to dry the ground; evaporation returned water to the atmosphere. 8:4 the mountains of Ararat. These were in the region of the Caucuses, also known as ancient Urartu, where the elevation exceeded 17,000 feet.
|Major Mountains of the Bible|
|Mt. Ararat (in modern Turkey), where Noah’s ark came to rest (Gen. 8:4).|
|Mt. Carmel, where Elijah was victorious over the prophets of Baal (1 Kin. 18:9–42).|
|Mt. Ebal (opposite Mt. Gerizim), where Moses commanded that an altar be built after the Hebrews entered the Promised Land (Deut. 27:4).|
|Mt. Gerizim where Jesus talked with the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4:20).|
|Mt. Gilboa, where King Saul and his sons were killed in a battle with the Philistines (1 Chr. 10:1,8).|
|Mt. Hermon, a mountain range that marked the northern limit of the conquest of Canaan (Josh. 11:3,17).|
|Mt. Lebanon, the source of cedar wood for Solomon’s temple in Jerusalem (1 Kin. 5:14,18).|
|Mt. Moriah, where Abraham brought Isaac for sacrifice (Gen. 22:2) and the location of Solomon’s temple |
(2 Chr. 3:1).
|Mt. Olivet, or Mt. of Olives, where Jesus gave the discourse on His Second Coming (Matt. 24:3).|
|Mt. Pisgah, or Nebo, where Moses viewed the Promised Land (Deut. 34:1).|
|Mt. Seir, south of the Dead Sea, the location to which Esau moved after Isaac’s death (Gen. 36:8).|
|Mt. Sinai, or Horeb (near Egypt), where the law was given to Moses (Ex. 19:2–25).|
|Mt. Tabor, 6 miles east of Nazareth, served as a boundary between Issachar and Zebulun; also Barak launched his attack on Sisera from Tabor (Judg. 4:6–15)|
|Mt. Zion, originally limited to the SW sector (2 Sam. 5:7), was later used of all Jerusalem (Lam. 1:4).|
8:7–12 a raven … a dove. Ravens survive on a broad range of food types. If any food was available outside the ark, the raven could survive. In contrast, a dove is much more selective in its food choices. The dove’s choice of food would indicate that new life had begun to grow; thus Noah and his family could also survive outside the ark.8:14–16 Noah and his family had been in the ark for 378 days (cf. 7:4,10,11). 8:17–19 be fruitful and multiply. In the process of replenishing the created order that He had judged with destruction, God repeated the words of the blessing which He had put upon non-human creatures (1:22). Noah faced a new world where longevity of life began to decline immediately; the earth was subject to storms and severe weather, blazing heat, freezing cold, seismic action, and natural disasters. 8:20 built an altar. This was done as an act of worship in response to God’s covenant faithfulness in sparing him and his family. 8:21 smelled a soothing aroma. God accepted Noah’s sacrifice. curse … destroy. Regardless of how sinful mankind would become in the future, God promised not to engage in global catastrophe by flood again (cf. 9:11). See notes on 2 Pet. 3:3–10 for how God will destroy the earth in the future. 8:22 While the earth remains. With many alterations from the global flood, God reestablished the cycle of seasons after the catastrophic interruption.9:1 blessed Noah …. Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth. God blessed Noah and recommissioned him to fill the earth (cf. 1:28).9:2,3 the fear of you. Man’s relationship to the animals appears to have changed, in that man is free to eat animals for sustenance (v. 3). 9:4 blood. Raw blood was not to be consumed as food. It symbolically represented life. To shed blood symbolically represented death (cf. Lev. 17:11). The blood of animals, representing their life, was not to be eaten. It was, in fact, that blood that God designed to be a covering for sin (Lev. 17:11). 9:5 beast … man. Capital punishment was invoked upon every animal (Ex. 21:28) or man who took human life unlawfully. Cf. John 19:11; Acts 25:11; Rom. 13:4 for clear NT support for this punishment. 9:6 For in the image of God. The reason man could kill animals, but neither animals nor man could kill man, is because man alone was created in God’s image.9:7–17 This is the first covenant God made with man, afterwards called the Noahic Covenant.9:9,10 with you … with your descendants, … with every living creature. The covenant with Noah included living creatures as was first promised in 6:18. 9:11 by the waters. The specific promise of this covenant, never to destroy the world again by water, was qualified by the means, for God has since promised to destroy the earth with fire one day (2 Pet. 3:10,11; Rev. 20:9; 21:1). 9:12 the sign of the covenant. The rainbow is the perpetual, symbolic reminder of this covenant promise, just as circumcision of all males would be for the Abrahamic Covenant (17:10,11). 9:15 I will remember. Not simple recognition, but God’s commitment to keep the promise. 9:16 the everlasting covenant. This covenant with Noah is the first of 5 divinely originated covenants in Scripture explicitly described as “everlasting.” The other 4 include: 1) Abrahamic (Gen. 17:7); 2) Priestly (Num. 25:10–13); 3) Davidic (2 Sam. 23:5); and 4) New (Jer. 32:40). The term “everlasting” can mean either 1) to the end of time and/or 2) through eternity future. It never looks back to eternity past. Of the 6 explicitly mentioned covenants of this kind in Scripture, only the Mosaic or Old Covenant was nullified. 9:18 Ham was the father of Canaan. Canaan’s offspring, the idolatrous enemies of Israel whose land Abraham’s descendants would later take (15:13–16), became a primary focus in chap. 10. This notation is important since Moses was writing the Pentateuch just before the Israelites took Canaan 9:19 from these the whole earth. All men who have ever lived since the Flood came from these 3 sons of Noah (cf. 10:32). The “one blood” of Acts 17:26 is that of Noah through his sons. All physical characteristics of the whole race were present in the genetics of Noah, his sons, and their wives. 9:21 was drunk. Fermentation, which leads to drunkenness, may have been caused by changed ecological conditions as a result of the Flood. He may have taken off his clothes because of the heat, or been involuntarily exposed due to his drunkenness. 9:22 saw the nakedness. There is no reasonable support for the notion that some perverse activity, in addition to seeing nakedness, occurred. But clearly, the implication is that Ham looked with some sinful thought, if only for a while until he left to inform his brothers. Perhaps he was glad to see his father’s dignity and authority reduced to such weakness. He thought his brothers might share his feelings so he eagerly told them. They did not, however, share his attitude (v. 23).9:25–27 Cursed be Canaan. The shift from Ham to his son Canaan established the historic legitimacy of Israel’s later conquest of the Canaanites. These were the people with whom Israel had to do battle shortly after they first heard Moses’ reading of this passage. Here, God gave Israel the theological basis for the conquest of Canaan. The descendants of Ham had received a sentence of judgment for the sins of their progenitor. In 10:15–20, the descendants of Canaan are seen to be the earlier inhabitants of the land later promised to Abraham. 9:26 may Canaan be his servant. Conquered peoples were called servants, even if they were not household or private slaves. Shem, the ancestor of Israel, and the other “Semites” were to be the masters of Ham’s descendants, the Canaanites. The latter would give their land to the former. 9:27 dwell in the tents. This means that spiritual blessings would come to the Japhethites through the God of Shem (v. 26) and the line of Shem from which Messiah would come.
WIERSBE - When the Outlook Is Bleak, Try the Uplook Sin had entered the human race, and it didn’t take long for the corruption it spawned to spread and defile God’s creation. Like a cancerous tumor, evil infected civilization and brought death wherever it went. God’s vice-regents on earth, created in God’s image, couldn’t manage their own lives let alone God’s creation, and things began to fall apart.This section of Genesis covers over 1,500 years of human history, years that are overshadowed by sin and sorrow. But when the night is the darkest, the stars shine the brightest; and when the outlook is grim, the uplook is encouraging. Thirteen different people are named in this section, and four of them stand out because they’re associated with something special that God did to encourage His people. Those four were Seth, Enosh, Enoch, and Noah.1. Seth—a new beginning from God (Gen. 4:25; 5:1–5)The only ray of hope in that dark day was God’s promise that a Redeemer would one day be born of the woman and conquer the serpent (3:15). But Abel was dead, so he couldn’t beget a child; and Cain, the unbelieving murderer, had wandered off and built a city in the Land of Nod, east of Eden. Would God’s promise be fulfilled? How could it be fulfilled?God is sovereign in all things and His plans aren’t frustrated by the foolish and sinful ways of mankind. Because He is the sovereign God, He “works all things according to the counsel of His will” (Eph. 1:11, nkjv). “But our God is in heaven; He does whatever He pleases” (Ps. 115:3, nkjv). The Lord enabled Eve to conceive and bear a son whom she named Seth (“granted”) because God had appointed him to replace Abel.
Genesis 5 is the first genealogy in Scripture and introduces “the book of the generations of Adam” (v. 1). Ten generations are listed here, from Adam to Noah, just as ten generations are listed from Shem to Abraham in “the generations of Shem” (11:10–26). Eight times in Genesis 5 you find the melancholy phrase “and he died,” for death was now reigning over mankind because of Adam’s sin (Rom. 5:12–17, 21). Sin and death still reign today, but through Jesus Christ we can “reign in life” (vv. 17, 21).In Bible history, very often the birth of a baby has made the difference between defeat and victory for God’s people. During the Jews’ difficult years in Egypt, Moses was born and became the liberator of his people (Ex. 2:1–10). When the lamp of prophecy was burning very low, Samuel was born to bring Israel back to God’s Word (1 Sam. 1–3); and when the kingdom was disintegrating under Saul, God sent a son to Jesse whom he named David, the man God had chosen to be the next king (Ruth 4:18–22; 1 Sam. 16). At a very low point in Jewish history, by the grace of God, one little boy continued the messianic line from David (2 Kings 11:1–3). In spite of Satan’s attacks and the disobedience of His people, God was faithful to work so that His promise of a Redeemer would be fulfilled.Knowing this should encourage God’s people as they see the world turning more and more toward sin and rebellion. God is sovereign and He will accomplish His purposes.
2. Enosh—calling on God (Gen. 4:26; 5:6–11)Seth was 105 years old when his son Enosh was born (5:6). “Enosh” means “man” and comes from a Hebrew word that means “frail, weak.” It’s the word for man that emphasizes how fragile and weak we really are in ourselves.A remarkable thing is recorded in connection with the birth of this boy: at that time, people began to gather together to worship God, proclaim His name, and pray. There was a revival of public worship and believing prayer as the descendants of Seth met together in the name of the Lord. While the worldly Cainites were boasting of their strength and valor (4:23–24), the godly Sethites were giving glory to the name of the Lord.Throughout sacred history, it has been the godly remnant that has kept the work of the Lord going in this world. Time after time, the nation of Israel drifted into idolatry and spiritual lethargy, but a believing remnant was raised up to keep the light burning. These courageous people cried out to God for deliverance, and He heard them and answered their prayers.After the Flood, Noah’s small family was the remnant God used to people the earth. The Prophet Elijah thought he was alone in serving Jehovah, but 7,000 people in the land re-mained faithful to the Lord (1 Kings 19:9–18). Whoever wrote Psalm 119 was part of a faithful remnant (v. 63), and the prophets wrote about the believing remnant in their day (Isa. 10:20–23; 37:31–32; Jer. 11:23; Micah 4:7; Mal. 3:16). Isaiah named one of his sons “a remnant shall return” (Isa. 7:3), and a remnant did return to their land after the Babylonian Captivity. God used them to rebuild the temple and the city of Jerusalem and to restore the Jewish nation as a political entity.How many people does God need to get a job done? Ten righteous people in Sodom could have saved the city from destruction (Gen. 18:16ff), and Jesus said that He was present if only two or three were gathered in His name (Matt. 18:20). Jesus sent the Holy Spirit at Pentecost to empower 120 believers, and Paul evangelized the Roman Empire with a small team of men and women who were wholly devoted to the Lord. God has always looked to the remnant to pray, trust Him, and get the work done.So, when the work of the Lord looks like it’s failing, and you feel like you’re the only one left to serve God, remember Enosh and the godly remnant in his day that called on the Lord. “For nothing restrains the Lord from saving by many or by few” (1 Sam. 14:6, nkjv).3. Enoch—walking with God (Gen. 5:12–27)People like Kenan, Mahalalel, and Jared may not seem important to God’s great story of salvation, but they are important; for they were “living links” in the great generational chain that reached from Seth to the birth of Jesus Christ. God’s promise in Genesis 3:15 could never have been fulfilled were it not for the faithfulness of many undistinguished people who to us are only strange names in an ancient genealogy.When Enoch was sixty-five years old, his wife gave birth to a son whom they named Methuselah (“man of the dart”). This was a turning-point in Enoch’s life, because he then began to walk with the Lord (5:22, 24; see 6:9). Did the responsibility of raising a son in such a godless world so challenge Enoch that he knew he needed the Lord’s help? Or when the baby was born, did God give Enoch insight into the future so that he knew the Flood was coming? We don’t know, but we do know that the arrival of this baby changed Enoch’s life.
The meaning of Methuselah’s name isn’t significant, but his long life of 969 years is significant. In the year that Methuselah died, the Flood came! Perhaps the Lord told Enoch this news after the baby was born, and it so gripped his heart that he began to walk with God and do God’s will. “Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness” (2 Peter 3:11, nkjv). The fact that Jesus is coming again to judge the world ought to motivate God’s people to lives of holiness and obedient service (1 John 2:28–3:3).The sobering phrase “and he died” isn’t used of Enoch, because Enoch is one of two men in Scripture who never died. Both Enoch and Elijah were taken to heaven alive (2 Kings 2:1–11). Some students see in Enoch’s pre-Flood “rapture” a picture of the church being taken to heaven before God sends tribulation on the earth (1 Thes. 4:13–5:11).It was “by faith” that Enoch was taken to heaven (Heb. 11:5). He believed God, walked with God, and went to be with God, which is an example for all of us to follow. Imagine how difficult it must have been to walk with God during those years before the Flood, when vice and violence were prevalent and only a remnant of people believed God (Gen. 6:5). But Enoch’s life of faith wasn’t a private thing, for he boldly announced that God would come to judge the world’s sins (Jude 14–15). In his day, the judgment of the Flood did come; but the judgment Enoch was announcing will occur when Jesus Christ returns, leading the armies of heaven and condemning Satan and his hosts (Rev. 19:11ff). Enoch’s life and witness remind us that it’s possible to be faithful to God in the midst of “a crooked and perverse generation” (Phil. 2:15). No matter how dark the day or how bad the news, we have the promise of our Lord’s return to encourage us and motivate us to be godly. One day sin will be judged and God’s people will be rewarded for their faithfulness, so we have every reason to be encouraged as we walk with God.
4. Noah—rest and comfort from God (Gen. 5:28–6:8)Though they bore the same name, Lamech in the line of Seth was radically different from Lamech in the line of Cain (4:18–24). Seth’s Lamech fathered a son, Noah, who walked with God (6:9) and was used of God to save the human race and continue the messianic promise. Cain’s Lamech murdered a young man who had wounded him and then boasted to his wives about his evil deed.Hope (5:28–32). Lamech’s great concern was that mankind find comfort and rest in the midst of a wicked world where it was necessary to toil and sweat just to stay alive. Life was difficult, and the only hope that true believers had was the coming of the promised Redeemer. Lamech named his son Noah, which sounds like the Hebrew word for “comfort.” His prayer was that his son would somehow bring to the world the rest and comfort that people so sorely needed. Centuries later, weary people would hear the voice of Jesus say, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28, nkjv).Lamech was 682 years old and Noah 500 years old when Noah’s son Japheth was born. The listing in Genesis 5:32 is not the sons’ birth order, because Ham was Noah’s youngest son (9:20–24) and Japheth his eldest (10:21). The birth order would be Japheth, Shem, and Ham.
Compromise (6:1–7). After chapter 3, Satan isn’t mentioned by name in Genesis, but he and his demonic hosts are at work doing their utmost to keep the promised Redeemer from being born. This was Satan’s purpose throughout all of Old Testament history. After all, he didn’t want to have his head crushed by the Savior! (3:15) God had declared war on Satan and the deceiver intended to fight back.One of Satan’s most successful devices is compromise. If he can delude God’s people into abandoning their privileged position of separation from sin and communion with God, then he can corrupt them and lead them into sin. He did this to Israel in the land of Moab (Num. 25; Ps. 106:28–31) and also after they had conquered the land of Canaan (Jud. 2; Ps. 106:34–48). The prophets warned the Jewish people not to compromise with the idolatrous worship of the pagans around them, but their warnings weren’t heeded; and the nation experienced shameful defeat at the hands of their enemies.What was Satan’s plan for defeating God’s people in Noah’s day? To entice the godly line of Seth (“the sons of God”) to mix with the ungodly line of Cain (“the daughters of men”) and thus abandon their devotion to the Lord. It was the same temptation that Christians face today: be friendly with the world (James 4:4), love the world (1 John 2:15–17), and conform to the world (Rom. 12:2), rather than be separated from the world (2 Cor. 6:14–7:1). Of course, this could lead to being “condemned with the world” (1 Cor. 11:32). Lot is an example of this danger (Gen. 13; 19).Some interpreters view 6:1–7 as an invasion of fallen angels who cohabited with women and produced a race of giants. But as interesting as the theory is, it creates more problems than it solves, not the least of which is the union of sexless spirit beings with flesh and blood humans. Even if such unions did occur, could there be offspring and why would they be giants? And how did these “giants” (Nephilim, “fallen ones”) survive the Flood (v. 4; Num. 13:31–33), or was there a second invasion of fallen angels after the Flood?The term “sons of God” does refer to angels in Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7; but these are unfallen angels faithfully serving God. Even if fallen angels could make themselves appear in human bodies, why would they want to marry women and settle down on earth? Certainly their wives and neighbors would detect something different about them and this would create problems. Furthermore, the emphasis in Genesis 6 is on the sin of man and not the rebellion of angels. The word “man” is used nine times in verses 1–7, and God states clearly that the judgment was coming because of what humans had done. “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth” (v. 5).The 120-year limit expressed in verse 3 probably refers to the years until the Flood would come. God is long-suffering with lost sinners, but there comes a time when judgment must fall. During that “day of grace,” Noah prepared the ark and gave witness that judgment was coming (2 Peter 2:5), the same message Enoch had given during his lifetime (Jude 14–15). God gave His message in the mouth of two witnesses, but the people wouldn’t listen.The word “giants” in Genesis 6:4 (kjv) is a translation of the Hebrew word nephilim which means “fallen ones.” Some who follow the “angel theory” of chapter 6 make the nephilim the fallen angels whose children became great leaders. As we’ve already seen, if these nephilim were angels with human bodies, then they either survived the Flood (because the Hebrew spies saw them in Canaan; Num. 13:31–33), or there was a second invasion of “fallen angels” after the Flood. Both ideas seem incredible.The most likely interpretation of Genesis 6:4 is that God saw the people of that day as “fallen ones,” while men saw these people as mighty leaders. Even today, much of what is admired by the world is rejected by the Lord (Luke 16:15). When the Sethites compromised by mingling with the Cainites, they fell from God’s blessing. God was grieved that they married godless Cainites, choosing wives as they pleased without considering God’s will (Gen. 6:2). In doing this, they endangered the fulfillment of the 3:15 promise; for how could God bring a Redeemer into the world through an unholy people? The people of that day “married and were given in marriage” (Matt. 24:37–39) and thought nothing of the warning that Enoch and Noah gave about the coming judgment. Human history was now at the place where only Noah and his family—eight people—believed God and obeyed His Word. God’s Spirit was striving with lost people, but they resisted the call of God; and God was grieved at what man was doing.Read Romans 1:17ff for a description of what civilization was like in those days. Man’s wickedness was great, every imagination of all his thoughts was only evil continually, so it was no surprise that God chose to send judgment.Grace (v. 8). The only way people can be saved from God’s wrath is through God’s grace (Eph. 2:8–9); but grace isn’t God’s reward for a good life: it’s God’s response to saving faith. “By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household” (Heb. 11:7, nkjv). True faith involves the whole of the inner person: the mind understands God’s warning, the heart fears for what is coming, and the will acts in obedience to God’s Word.To understand God’s truth but not act upon it is not biblical faith; it’s only intellectual assent to religious truth. To be emotionally aroused without comprehending God’s message isn’t faith, because true faith is based on an understanding of the truth (Matt. 13:18–23). To have the mind enlightened and the heart stirred but not act in obedience to the message is not faith, for “faith without works is dead” (James 2:14–26). The mind, heart, and will are all involved in true biblical faith.Everybody who has ever been saved from sin has been saved “by grace, through faith,” and this includes the Old Testament worthies listed in Hebrews 11. Nobody was ever saved by bringing a sacrifice (Heb. 10:1–4; Ps. 51:16–17), by keeping the Law (Gal. 2:16), or by doing good works (Rom. 4:5). Salvation is a gracious gift that can be rejected or received by faith. Like Noah, we must all “find grace in the eyes of the Lord” (Gen. 6:8). Genesis 6:9–7:24One Man’s Faith, One Man’s Family
Except for the increase in violence and crime, the times were pretty good. People were “eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage” (Matt. 24:38), and life was going on as usual. When friends met at the market or at wedding feasts, they laughed about Noah and his family (“Imagine building that big boat on dry land!”) or discussed Methuselah, the world’s oldest man (“He’ll die one of these days, mark my word!”), or talked about Enoch, the man who suddenly disappeared (“Strangest thing I ever heard!”).Methuselah was Noah’s grandfather, and Noah knew that when he died, nothing stood in the way of God’s judgment falling on a wicked world. For over a century, Noah had been warning people about the coming judgment, but only his own family had believed him and trusted the Lord.Then Methuselah died and things began to happen. One day, Noah and his family entered their “boat” and the rains came. (“It can’t go on forever,” people said. “It’ll stop one of these days.”) But it rained for forty days and forty nights, and subterranean explosions discharged more water on the earth. Even after the rain stopped, the water continued to rise; and within five months, the whole earth was under water and everything that breathed was dead. Everything, that is, except Noah and his family, the eight people everybody laughed at.What kind of a person was Noah? He was the kind of person you and I should be and can be as we live in our world today.1. A believing man who walked with God (Gen. 6:9–13)“But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord” (v. 8) introduces the third of the “generation” statements in Genesis: “These are the generations of Noah” (v. 9). Noah wasn’t a minor character in the story of redemption; he’s mentioned fifty times in nine different books of the Bible.
Noah was a righteous man (v. 9; 7:1). This is the first time the word “righteous” is used in the Bible, but Noah’s righteousness is also mentioned in other places (Ezek. 14:14, 20; Heb. 11:7; 2 Peter 2:5). Noah’s righteousness didn’t come from his good works; his good works came because of his righteousness. Like Abraham, his righteousness was God’s gift in response to his personal faith. Both Abraham and Noah believed God’s Word “and it was counted to [them] for righteousness” (Gen. 15:6; see Heb. 11:7; Rom. 4:9ff; Gal. 3:1ff).The only righteousness God will accept is the righteousness of Jesus Christ, His Son (2 Cor. 5:21); and the only way people can receive that righteousness is by admitting their sins and trusting Jesus Christ to save them (Rom. 3:19–30; Gal. 2:16). Noah must have learned this important truth from his father Lamech (Gen. 5:28–29), who learned it from his father Methuselah, who learned it from his father Enoch. How important it is to teach our children and grandchildren how to trust the Lord!Noah was a blameless man (v. 9). If “righteous” describes Noah’s standing before God, then “blameless” describes his conduct before people. “Blameless” doesn’t mean “sinless,” because nobody but Jesus Christ ever lived a sinless life on this earth (1 Peter 2:21–22). The word means “having integrity, whole, unblemished.” It was used to describe the animals acceptable to God for sacrifice (Ex. 12:5; Lev. 1:3, 10). Noah’s conduct was such that his neighbors couldn’t find fault with him (Phil. 2:12–16).The person who is right before God through faith in Christ ought to lead a life that is right before people, for “faith without works is dead” (James 2:14ff). Paul warned about “unruly and vain talkers and deceivers … who profess that they know God, but in works they deny Him” (Titus 1:10, 16). Noah wasn’t that kind of person.Noah was a man who walked with God (Gen. 6:9). His great-grandfather Enoch had “walked with God” and was suddenly taken to heaven and rescued from the impending judgment of the Flood (5:24). Noah walked with God and was taken safely through the judgment. Enoch modeled a godly way of life for Methuselah. Methuselah must have passed it along to his son Lamech who shared it with his son Noah. How wonderful it is when generation after generation in one family is faithful to the Lord, especially at a time in history when violence and corruption are the normal way of life.
The life of faith and obedience is compared to a “walk” because this life begins with one step: trusting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. This step of faith leads to a daily walk, a step at time, as the Lord directs us. He commands us to “walk in love” (Eph. 5:2), “walk as children of light” (v. 8), “walk in the Spirit” (Gal. 5:16, 25), and “walk circumspectly [carefully]” (Eph. 5:15). A step at a time, a day at a time, we walk with the Lord; and He guides us into His will and blesses us with His wisdom and strength.Noah was an obedient man (Gen. 6:22; 7:5, 16). One of the major messages in Scripture is that we must not only hear God’s Word but we must also obey it (James 1:22–25). Because Noah was obedient to the Lord, his “house” wasn’t destroyed when the storm came (Matt. 7:24–27). It wasn’t easy for Noah and his family to obey the Lord, because the rest of the population was disobeying God and rebelling against His will. According to Enoch, they were ungodly people committing ungodly deeds in ungodly ways and speaking ungodly words against the Lord God (Jude 15).Whether it has to do with sexual abstinence, using alcohol and drugs, or joining gangs and breaking the law, we hear a great deal today about “peer pressure.” It’s the excuse for all kinds of illegal and immoral behavior, from cheating on your income tax to cheating on your spouse. But anybody who has ever developed godly character has had to fight against peer pressure, including Noah and his family, Abraham and his family, Moses in Egypt (Heb. 11:24–26), and Daniel and his friends in Babylon (Dan. 1). Resisting peer pressure means not only saying a determined no to people but also a dedicated yes to the Lord (Rom. 12:1–2).Most people know that Noah built an ark. What they may not know is that he also built a godly character and a godly family. Had it not been for Noah’s godly family, Abraham wouldn’t have been born; and without Abraham, would there have been a Jewish nation, the Bible, and the Savior?2. A faithful man who worked for God (Gen. 6:14–22)“The secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him; and He will show them His covenant” (Ps. 25:15). When you walk with God, He speaks to you through His Word and tells you what you need to know and to do. Christians are more than just servants who do His will; we’re also His friends who know His plans (John 15:14–15). God’s plan involved three responsibilities for Noah and his family.Building an ark (vv. 14–17). God told Noah what his task was: to build a wooden vessel that would survive the waters of the Flood and keep Noah and his family safe. If the cubit mentioned was the standard cubit of eighteen inches, then the vessel was 450 feet long, 75 feet wide, and 45 feet high. It had three decks, one door, and a series of small windows eighteen inches high right under the roof, providing light and ventilation. The three decks were divided into compartments (Gen. 6:14) where the various animals would be kept and where Noah and his family would live.This vessel was designed for flotation, not navigation. It was a huge wooden box that could float on the water and keep the contents safe and dry. Dr. Henry Morris calculated that the ark was large enough to hold the contents of over 500 livestock railroad cars, providing space for about 125,000 animals. Of course, many of the animals would be very small and not need much space; and when it came to the large animals, Noah no doubt collected younger and smaller representatives. There was plenty of room in the vessel for food for both humans and animals (v. 21), and the insects and creeping things would have no problem finding places to live on the ark.Trusting God’s covenant (v. 18). This is the first use of the word “covenant” in the Bible. The word appears often in Scripture because the covenant concept is an important part of God’s great plan of redemption. (God would explain His covenant to Noah after he left the ark; 8:20–9:17.) A covenant is an agreement that involves obligations and benefits for the parties involved. In some of the covenants, God alone is the “covenant party” and makes unconditional promises to His people. But there were also covenants that required His people to fulfill certain conditions before God could bless them.God’s words in 6:13–21 were addressed specifically to Noah, but God also included Noah’s family in the covenant (v. 18). Noah didn’t become a father until he was 500 years old (5:32), and he entered the ark when he was 600 (7:6); so his three sons were still “young” as far as pre-Flood ages were concerned. Ham was the youngest son (9:24) and Japheth was the eldest (10:21), and all three boys were married (7:13).The fact that God had covenanted to care for Noah and his family gave them the peace and confidence they needed as they prepared the ark and then lived in it for over a year. God is faithful to keep His promises, and as God’s covenant people, the eight believers had nothing to fear.Gathering the animals (vv. 19–22). God not only wanted humans to be preserved from destruction but also every kind of creature that would be drowned by the waters of the Flood. But how was Noah to gather such a large number of animals, birds, and creeping things? God would cause these creatures to come to Noah (v. 20; 7:8, 15) and Noah would take them into the ark (6:19). This included not only pairs of unclean animals who would be able to reproduce after the Flood, but also seven pairs of clean animals, some of whom would be used for sacrifices (8:20; 9:3). Noah and his family not only learned about the faithfulness of God, but they also saw the sovereignty of God in action.In His sovereign power, God brought the animals to Noah and his sons and controlled them so that they did His bidding. However, this magnificent demonstration of God’s power didn’t touch the hearts of his neighbors, and they perished in the Flood. The birds, beasts, and creeping things knew their Creator’s voice and obeyed Him, but people made in the image of God refused to heed God’s call. Centuries later, God would say through His servant Isaiah, “The ox knows his master, the donkey his owner’s manger, but Israel does not know, my people do not understand” (Isa. 1:3, niv).During all of this important activity, Noah was serving the Lord and bearing witness to a sinful world. For 120 years (Gen. 6:3), God was long-suffering toward careless and rebellious sinners; but they ignored His message and lost their opportunity for salvation.3. A secure man who waited on God (Gen. 7:1–24)“Do not be like the horse or like the mule,” God counsels in Psalm 32:9, and Noah obeyed that counsel. The horse sometimes wants to rush ahead impetuously, and the mule wants to drag its feet and stubbornly stay back; but Noah walked with God and worked for God and let God arrange the schedule.
A week of waiting (vv. 1–10). Since the rains started on the seventeenth day of the second month (Gen. 7:11), it was on the tenth day of the second month that Noah and his family moved into the ark at God’s instruction (v. 1). During that final week before the Flood, they finished gathering the animals and putting in their supplies. They followed the Lord’s instructions, trusted His covenant promise, and knew that there was nothing to fear.David watched a thunderstorm one day and from that experience wrote a hymn (Ps. 29) telling how he had seen and heard God in that storm. As he pondered what happened, David thought about history’s most famous storm in the time of Noah, and he wrote, “The Lord sat enthroned at the Flood, and the Lord sits as King forever” (v. 10, nkjv). The sweeping rain, the echoing thunder, and the flashing lightning reminded David of the sovereignty of God. No matter how great the storms of life may be, God is still on the throne causing everything to work together for good. That’s why David ended his hymn with, “The Lord will give strength to His people; the Lord will bless His people with peace” (v. 11, nkjv).At the end of that final week of preparation, Noah and his family obeyed God’s command and entered the ark, and God shut the door and made it safe (Gen. 7:16). They didn’t know how long they would live in the ark, but the Lord knew, and that’s really all that mattered. “My times are in Your hands” (Ps. 31:15, nkjv). One year and ten days later, the same God opened the door and invited them to come out to live on His freshly cleansed earth (Gen. 8:16).The day of reckoning (7:11–24). The Flood was God’s judgment of a wicked world. God opened the floodgates of heaven so that torrential rains came down, and “all the springs of the great deep burst forth” (v. 11, niv), so that even the highest mountains were covered by water (v. 20). God had waited for over a century for sinners to repent, and now it was too late. “Seek the Lord while he may be found, call upon him while he is near” (Isa. 55:6).The rain stopped after 40 days, which would be on the twenty-seventh day of the third month (Gen. 7:12). However, the water continued to rise for another 110 days and reached its peak after 150 days (v. 24). At that time, the ark rested on a mountain peak of Ararat (8:4). It would take 150 days for the water to recede (v. 3), which takes us to the twelfth month, the seventeenth day. Two months and ten days later, Noah and his family left the ark and set the animals free (v. 14). From the day that God shut them in, they had been in the ark a year and ten days.A universal judgment. In recent years, people who want to accommodate Scripture to the views of modern science have opted for a flood that was “limited” and not universal. They suggest that the writer of Genesis used “the language of appearance” and described only what he could see.There are problems with both views, but the “limited” interpretation seems to be the weaker of the two. The clear language of the text seems to state that God was bringing a universal judgment. God said He would destroy humans and beasts “from the face of the earth” (6:7), and that “every living thing” would be destroyed (7:4, 21–23; 8:21). If the mountains were covered to such a height that the ark could float over the Ararat range and eventually settle down on a peak, then the entire planet must have been completely immersed (7:18–20). A person reading Genesis 6–9 for the first time would conclude that the Flood was universal.But if the Flood was not universal, why did God give the rainbow as a universal sign of His covenant? (9:11–15) Why would people in a local area need such a sign? Furthermore, if the Flood was a local event, why did God tell Noah to build such a big vessel for saving his family and the animals? Noah certainly had enough time to gather together his family and the animals in that area and lead them to a place where the Flood wouldn’t reach them.God promised that He would never send another flood like the one He sent in Noah’s day (vv. 8–17). But if the Flood was only a local event, God didn’t keep His promise! Over the centuries, there have been numerous local floods, some of which brought death and devastation to localities. In 1996 alone, massive flooding in Afghanistan in April left 3,000 people homeless; and in July, flooding in Northern Bangladesh destroyed the homes of over 2 million people. In July and August, the Yellow, Yangtze, and Hai rivers flooded nine provinces in China and left 2,000 people dead. If Noah’s flood was a local event like these floods, then God’s promise and the covenant sign of the rainbow mean nothing.The plain reading of the text convinces us that the Flood was a universal judgment because “all flesh had corrupted his [God’s] way upon the earth” (6:12). We don’t know how far civilization had spread over the planet, but wherever humans went, there was sin that had to be judged. The Flood bears witness to universal sin and universal judgment.Both Jesus and Peter used the Flood to illustrate future events that will involve the whole world: the return of Christ (Matt. 24:37–39; Luke 17:26–27) and the worldwide judgment of fire (2 Peter 3:3–7). If the Flood was only local, these analogies are false and misleading. Peter also wrote that God did not spare “the ancient world” (nkjv) when He sent the Flood, which implies much more territory than a limited area.A patient family. In spite of the devastation on the outside, Noah and his family and the animals were secure inside the ark. No matter how they felt, or how much the ark was tossed on the waters, they were safe in God’s will. Patiently they waited for God to complete His work and put them back on the earth. Noah and his family spent one year and seventeen days in the ark, and even though they had daily chores to do, that’s a long time to be in one place. But it is “through faith and patience” that we inherit God’s promised blessings (Heb. 6:12; 10:36), and Noah was willing to wait on the Lord.Peter saw in Noah’s experience a picture of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ (1 Peter 3:18–22). The earth in Noah’s day was immersed in water, but the ark floated above the water and brought Noah and his family to the place of safety. This was, to Peter, a picture of baptism: death, burial, and resurrection. The earth was “dead” and “buried” because of the water, but the ark rose up (“resurrection”) to bring the family through safely. Jesus died, was buried, and arose again; and through His finished work, we have salvation from sin. Peter makes it clear that the water of baptism doesn’t wash away sin. It’s our obedience to the Lord’s command to be baptized (Matt. 28:19–20) that cleanses the conscience so that we are right before God.The British expositor Alexander Maclaren said:For a hundred and twenty years the wits laughed, and the “common-sense” people wondered, and the patient saint went on hammering and pitching at his ark. But one morning it began to rain; and by degrees, somehow, Noah did not seem quite such a fool. The jests would look rather different when the water was up to the knees of the jesters; and their sarcasms would stick in their throats as they drowned.So is it always. So it will be at the last great day. The men who lived for the future, by faith in Christ, will be found out to have been the wise men when the future has become the present, and the present has become the past, and is gone for ever; while they who had no aims beyond the things of time, which are now sunk beneath the dreary horizon, will awake too late to the conviction that they are outside the ark of safety, and that their truest epitaph is, “Thou fool.”The God of New BeginningsWhen anxious believers are searching the Bible for something encouraging to read, they’re more likely to turn to Romans 8 than to Genesis 8. After all, Romans 8 is one of the most heartening chapters in Scripture, while Genesis 8 describes God’s “mopup” operation after the Flood.But the next time you find yourself in a storm, Genesis 8 can give you new hope and encouragement; because the major theme of the chapter is renewal and rest after tribulation. The chapter records the end of a storm and the beginning of new life and hope for God’s people and God’s creation. Just consider what God does in Genesis 8 and take courage!1. God remembers His own (Gen. 8:1a)When you’re going through a storm, it’s easy to feel forsaken. “I think the Lord has forgotten me,” said a church member whom I was visiting in the hospital. In her mind, she could recall Hebrews 13:5 and quote it (“I will never leave you or forsake you” [nkjv]); but in her heart, she felt lonely and abandoned. Where was her God? When would the storm end?Feeling forsaken is a normal human emotion that most of us have experienced, whether we admit it or not. “Why do You stand afar off, O Lord?” asked the psalmist. “Why do You hide Yourself in times of trouble?” (Ps. 10:1, nkjv) Paul confessed that his troubles in Asia had been so severe that he almost gave up on life (2 Cor. 1:8); and Jesus, who experienced all our human trials, cried from the cross, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matt. 27:46, nkjv) Feeling desolate is nothing new to the people of God; but then they recall the song:God is still on the throne,And He will remember His own!The word “remember” in Genesis 8:1 doesn’t mean to call something to mind that may have been forgotten. God can’t forget anything because He knows the end from the beginning. Rather, it means “to pay attention to, to fulfill a promise and act on behalf of somebody.” For example, God’s promise “and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more” (Heb. 10:17) means that God doesn’t hold our sins against us and treat us as sinners. Certainly God knows what we’ve done; but because of our faith in Jesus Christ, our sins are “forgotten.” God deals with us as though our sins had never been committed! The Lord remembers them against us no more.To remember means to act on behalf of another. God remembered Abraham and rescued Lot from destruction in Sodom (Gen. 19:29). The Lord remembered both Rachel and Hannah and enabled them to conceive and bear sons (30:22; 1 Sam. 1:11, 19). The Lord remembered His covenant and delivered the Jews from the bondage of Egypt (Ex. 2:24; 6:5). “To remember” implies a previous commitment made by God and announces the fulfillment of that commitment. Noah, his family, and the animals had been together in the ark for over a year, which is a lot of “togetherness.” Did they ever get impatient with each other or with the animals? There’s no record that God spoke to them after He had shut them into the ark, so perhaps somebody in the family experienced an occasional fleeting fear that maybe God didn’t care for them anymore.God not only remembered Noah and his family, but He also remembered the animals that were with them in the ark. God spared these creatures so they could live on the renewed earth and reproduce after their kind. It was His desire that His creatures enjoy the earth and contribute to the happiness of the people He had created in His own image. As we shall see later, the animals were included in God’s covenant with Noah.We can be sure that God never forgets or forsakes His people, not only because of His promises, but also because of His character. God is love, and where there’s love, there’s faithfulness. He can never deny Himself or His Word, for He’s the faithful God; and He can never change, because He’s immutable. Because He’s perfect, God can’t change for the better; and because He’s holy, He can’t change for the worse. We can depend on Him no matter what our circumstances or no matter how we feel.2. God renews His world (Gen. 8:1b–14)According to 7:24, the Flood reached its peak in 150 days. The torrential rain and the eruptions of water from beneath the earth had both ceased (8:2; see niv and nasb); and during the next five months, God caused the water to recede and leave the dry land behind.Where did the floodwaters go? Never underestimate the power of moving water! It’s possible that the Flood greatly altered the contours of the land and created new areas for the water to fill, both on the surface of the earth and underground. Since there were eruptions from beneath the earth (7:11), whole continents and mountain ranges could have risen and fallen, creating huge areas into which the water could spill. The winds that God sent over the earth helped to evaporate the water and also move it to the places God had provided. A God powerful enough to cover the earth with water is also wise enough to know how to dispose of it when its work is done.Centuries later, God’s wind would bring the locusts into Egypt and later drive them into the sea (Ex. 10:10–20). God’s wind would also open up the Red Sea and make a dry path for the people of Israel as they left Egypt (14:21–22; 15:10). The stormy wind fulfills God’s word (Ps. 148:8).
On the seventeenth day of the seventh month, the ark rested on a peak in the mountains of Ararat, located in modern Turkey. We don’t know which peak it was; explorers searching for the remains of the ark can’t find much biblical data to help them. In later years, the seventh month was very special to the Jews, for during that month they ushered in the new year with the Feast of Trumpets and celebrated the Day of Atonement and the Feast of Tabernacles (Lev. 23:23–44).The Hebrew text says that “the ark came to rest,” reminding us that Noah’s name means “rest” and that his father Lamech had hoped that his son would bring rest to a weary world (Gen. 5:28–29). Though the ark had rested safely, Noah was waiting for the Lord to tell him what to do. He waited forty days and then sent out the raven; and being an unclean carrion-eating bird (Lev. 11:13–15), it felt right at home among the floating carcasses.Noah waited a week and then sent out a dove, which, being a clean bird, found no place to land; so it returned to the ark (Gen. 8:8–9). A week later Noah sent the dove out again, and when it returned with a fresh olive leaf, Noah knew that the plants were growing and fresh life had appeared on the earth (vv. 10–11). A dove bearing an olive branch is a familiar symbol of peace around the world. A week later, when Noah sent the dove out the third time, it didn’t return; so he knew the water had dried up.Noah had built a “window” (hatch?) in the upper deck of the ark (v. 9, niv reads “covering”), and this he opened so he could survey the world around him. This was on the day the passengers had been in the ark one entire year. Noah saw that the ground indeed was dry, but he didn’t make a move out of the ark until the Lord told him to leave. Twenty-six days later, that order came and he obeyed it (v. 15).3. God rewards faith (Gen. 8:15–19)Noah was a man of faith whose name is recorded in Hebrews 11 with those of other heroes of faith (v. 7). He had the faith to walk with God when the people of the world were ignoring and disobeying God. He had the faith to work for God and to witness for God when opposition to truth was the popular thing. Now that the Flood was over, he exercised faith to wait on God before leaving the ark.After being confined to the ark for over a year, he and his family must have yearned to get back on dry land; but they waited for God’s directions. Circumstances on the earth looked suitable for their disembarking, but that was no guarantee that God wanted them to exit immediately and begin their new life. Obedient faith is our response to God’s Word, for “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom. 10:17, nkjv).Was Noah revealing unbelief when he sent out the birds or opened the hatch to look at the terrain? No, he was simply using available opportunities to gather data. It isn’t wrong to have an understanding of the situation; just don’t lean on your own understanding (Prov. 3:5–6). Obeying the will of God involves not only doing the right thing in the right way for the right motive, but it also means doing it at the right time. “My times are in Your hands” (Ps. 31:15, nkjv).God rewarded Noah’s faith, and the faith of his family, by caring for them in the ark for over a year and then preparing the earth for them so that they could leave the ark. Noah was like a “second Adam” as he made this new beginning for the human race. God had brought the earth out of the waters during Creation week, preparing it for Adam and Eve; and now He had brought the earth through the Flood and made it ready for Noah and his family. The Lord even gave Noah’s family and the animals the same mandate that He had given at the beginning: “Be fruitful and multiply” (Gen. 8:17; 1:22, 28).Noah prepared the ark “for the saving of his household” (Heb. 11:4, nkjv), and God was faithful to save his household. There’s no indication in Scripture that Noah in his witnessing invited others to join him and his family in the ark, but he certainly must have encouraged them to trust God and prepare their own arks. Of course, nobody took his message seriously; and the world of that day perished (2 Peter 3:6).What was it that caused the population to reject God’s word and perish? They were like the people in our Lord’s parable (Luke 14:16–24) who were occupied with the ordinary things of daily life (Matt. 24:37–39) and unconcerned about eternity. They believed that life would go on as it always had and that nothing would change. They said that God wouldn’t invade the world or interrupt the scheme of things, but He did! People today have the same attitude concerning the return of the Lord (2 Peter 3:1–9; 1 Thes. 5:1–10).When it comes to saving faith, each of us must trust Jesus Christ personally; we can’t be saved by the faith of a substitute. Noah’s wife, their three sons, and their three daughters-in-law were also believers; and they proved it by standing with Noah while he worked and witnessed, and then by entering the ark in obedience to the Lord.4. God receives worship (Gen. 8:20)After he stepped out of the ark and stood on the renewed earth, Noah was so filled with gratitude that his first act was to lead his family in worship. He built an altar and offered some of the clean animals as sacrifices to the Lord.Noah was a balanced believer. He walked with the Lord in loving communion and enjoyed His presence. He worked for the Lord in building the ark, and he witnessed for the Lord as “a preacher of righteousness” (2 Peter 2:5). While in the ark, he waited on the Lord for instructions concerning his leaving, and once he was standing on the earth, he worshiped the Lord. Like Abel, he brought God his very best (Gen. 4:4); and like the Sethite remnant, he called on the name of the Lord (v. 26). The true worship of the Lord had been restored on the earth.In Old Testament days, when you sacrificed a burnt offering, you gave the entire animal or bird to the Lord with nothing kept back (Lev. 1). “All on the altar” (v. 9) was the biblical law, because the sacrifice symbolized total dedication to the Lord. In a new step of commitment, Noah gave himself and his family completely to the Lord. God had graciously protected them and brought them through the storm, so it was only fitting that they make themselves available to the Lord to do His will.The description of God “smell [-ing] the pleasant aroma” (Gen. 8:21, niv) is a human way of stating a divine truth: God was satisfied with the sacrifice, accepted it, and was pleased with His people and their worship (Lev. 1:9; 3:16). If God refused to “smell” the fragrance of the offering, it meant that He was displeased with the worshipers (Lev. 26:31; Isa. 1:11–15). In New Testament language, the sacrifice speaks of Jesus Christ offering Himself up for us. “And walk in love, as Christ has also loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma” (Eph. 5:2, nkjv).In and of ourselves, we can’t please God by what we are or by what we do; but by faith, we can be accepted in Jesus Christ. The Father said of Jesus, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matt. 3:17). Those who put their faith in Christ are “in Christ” (2 Cor. 5:17); and when the Father looks at them, He sees the righteousness of His Son (2 Cor. 5:21). Believers are “accepted in the beloved” Son who is well-pleasing to the Father (Eph. 1:6).Like the ark that saved Noah and his family, Jesus Christ went through the storm of God’s judgment for us. Jonah, who is a type of Christ in death, burial, and resurrection (Matt. 12:38–40), went through the storm of God’s wrath because of his disobedience, but Jesus went through the storm in obedience to God’s will. Jesus could say, “All thy waves and thy billows are gone over me” (Ps. 42:7; Jonah 2:3). Our Lord’s suffering on the cross was the “baptism” Jesus referred to in Luke 12:50 and that was pictured when John baptized Jesus in the Jordan River.5. God reaffirms the natural order (Gen. 8:21–22)The Lord didn’t speak these words to Noah; He spoke them to Himself in His own heart. It was His gracious response to Noah’s faith, obedience, and worship. What did God promise?The ground cursed no more (v. 21a). God had cursed the ground because of Adam’s sin (3:17) and had added a further curse because of Cain’s sins (4:11–12). God’s promise recorded here didn’t invalidate either of those curses, and they won’t be removed until Jesus returns and God’s people dwell in the holy city (Rev. 22:3). But in His grace, God decided not to add to man’s affliction.No more universal floods (v. 21b). God also determined that there would be no future floods. God’s reason given in verse 21 has been variously explained, and your explanation depends to some degree on your translation of the text. Did God say “for the imagination of man’s heart is evil” (kjv, niv margin), or did He say “even though every inclination of his heart is evil”? (niv) The Lord had originally sent the Flood because of the evil hearts of the people (6:5), so not to send another judgment would make it look like the Flood was a mistake or a failure, or that God had given up on the human race created in His own image.If we translate 8:21 “for,” then we have God saying, “The human heart is incurably wicked. The Flood wiped out the transgressors, but it couldn’t change hearts. Therefore, to have another judgment won’t solve the problem.” If we translate it “even though,” then we have God saying: “Yes, they deserve judgment because their hearts are wicked. And to persist in sin and not learn their lesson from this flood only shows how evil they are. But in grace, I will not send another flood or curse the ground.”Perhaps both are true. The important thing is that God spoke these words in response to Noah’s sacrifice, and that the sacrifice was a picture of the sacrifice of Christ (Heb. 10:1–10; Eph. 5:2). On the basis of the atonement accomplished by Jesus Christ on the cross, God could say, “A price has been paid for the sins of the world, and I can withhold judgment. Justice has been met, My law has been upheld, and I can show grace to a lost world. I will not send another flood and wipe out the human race. Instead, I will offer them My great salvation.” This doesn’t mean that God doesn’t judge sin today or that there will be no future judgment of the world. Romans 1:18ff makes it clear that God’s judgment is being revealed against sinners right now through the consequences of their sins. God gave them over to their own sinful bondage and gave them up to the consequences of their sins in their own bodies. One of the greatest judgments God can send to sinners is to let them have their own way and then pay for it in their own lives. That’s the judgment the world is experiencing right now. There will be a future global judgment, but not a judgment of water; it will be a judgment of fire (2 Peter 3).No interruption of the cycle of nature (v. 22). The Flood had interrupted the normal cycle of the seasons for a year, but that would never be repeated. Instead, God reaffirmed that the rhythm of days and weeks and seasons would continue as long as the earth endured. Without this guarantee, mankind could never be sure of having the necessities of life.We know now that the steady cycle of days and nights, weeks and months, seasons and years, is maintained by the rotation of the earth on its axis and the orbit of the earth around the sun. God made it that way so that His universe would operate effectively. Although there were myriads of galaxies to choose from, the Lord chose to pour His love and grace down upon the inhabitants of the earth. “The earth is the Lord’s” (Ps. 24:1). The Lord so arranged the universe that the living things on earth might be maintained, and this includes men and women who too often forget God’s care.
The guarantee in Genesis 8:22 gives us hope and courage as we face an unknown future. Each time we go to bed for the night, or turn the calendar to a new month, we should be reminded that God is concerned about Planet Earth and its inhabitants. With the invention of the electric light and modern means of transportation and communication, our world has moved away from living by the cycles of nature established by God. We no longer go to bed at sundown and get up at sunrise; and if we don’t like the weather where we are, we can quickly travel to a different climate. But if God were to dim the sun, rearrange the seasons, or tilt the earth at a different angle, our lives would be in jeopardy.God invites us to live a day at a time. Jesus taught us to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread” (Matt. 6:11) and to be thankful for it. “As your days, so shall your strength be” (Deut. 33:25, nkjv; see Matt. 6:25–34). When His disciples warned Jesus not to go to Bethany, He replied, “Are there not twelve hours in the day?” (John 11:9) He obeyed the Father’s schedule and lived a day at a time, trusting the Father to care for Him.God’s “covenant of day and night” is especially meaningful to the people of Israel, for it guarantees them His care and protection so that they will never cease to be a nation (Jer. 33:19–26). God’s promise that He will not send another flood is assurance to the Jews that His covenant with them will never be broken (Isa. 54:7–10).We’re prone to take for granted sunrise and sunset, the changing face of the moon and the changing seasons, but all of these functions are but evidences that God is on the throne and keeping His promises. All creation preaches a constant sermon, day after day, season after season, that assures us of God’s loving care. We can trust His Word, for “there has not failed one word of all His good promise” (1 Kings 8:56).Genesis 9:1–17To Life! To Life!To Life” is one of the happiest songs in Fiddler on the Roof, the musical that dramatizes Jewish life in the little village of Anatevka.The milkman Tevye and his neighbors were defenseless, poor, and unsure of their future in czarist Russia; yet they still celebrated life as a joyful gift from a generous God. Whether it was the announcement of an engagement, the birth of a baby, or even the arrival of a sewing machine, the humble residents of Anatevka found reasons to give thanks for the blessings of life.In this paragraph (Gen. 9:1–17), God addressed the eight survivors of the Flood and gave them instructions concerning four areas of life. Though given initially to Noah and his family, these instructions apply to all people in all ages and all places. They are permanent ordinances from God for all humanity, and they must not be ignored or altered. Life is precious, and it must be handled with care.1. Multiplying life (Gen. 9:1, 7)When Noah came out of the ark, he was like a “second Adam” about to usher in a new beginning on earth for the human race. Faith in the Lord had saved Noah and his household from destruction, and his three sons would repopulate the whole earth (v. 18).God had told Adam and Eve to “be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the earth” (1:28), and He repeated that mandate twice to Noah and his family (9:1, 7). All of Noah’s descendants were important to the plan of God, but especially the line of Shem. From that line Abraham would be born, the man God chose to found the Jewish nation. From that nation would come the Redeemer who would fulfill 3:15 and crush the serpent’s head.
In Scripture, children are described as a blessing, not a curse; and to have many children and grandchildren was evidence of the favor of God (Gen. 24:60; Pss. 127:3–5; 128:3–4). God promised Abraham that his descendants would be as the stars of the sky and the sand of the sea (Gen. 15:5; 22:17), and the patriarchs invoked the blessing of fruitfulness on their heirs (28:3; 35:11; 48:4). The Lord covenanted with Israel to give them many children if the nation would obey His laws (Lev. 26:9; Deut. 7:13).Many people today don’t seem to have that attitude toward children. Starting with the Revolutionary War, in nearly 200 years of American history, 1,200,000 military personnel have been killed in nine major wars. But in one year in the United States, 1,600,000 babies are legally aborted. In biblical times, Jewish couples wouldn’t have considered aborting a child, no matter how difficult their circumstances or meager their resources. Life was God’s gift and children were a heritage from the Lord, treasures to be protected and invested for His glory.2. Sustaining life (Gen. 9:2–4)A survey taken in 1900 revealed that people felt they needed 72 things in order to function normally and be content. Fifty years later, in a similar survey, the total came to nearly 500 things! But the Bible lists only two: “And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content” (1 Tim. 6:8, nkjv).In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught the same truth when He spoke about the birds and the flowers (Matt. 6:24–34). If the Heavenly Father clothes the flowers with beauty and gives the birds their food, surely He will provide food and raiment for His own dearly loved children. “For your Heavenly Father knows that you need all these things” (v. 32, nkjv).When God established Adam and Eve in their garden home, He gave them fruit and plants to eat (Gen. 1:29; 2:9, 16); but after the Flood, He expanded the human diet to include meat. The harmony in nature that Adam and Eve had enjoyed was now gone, for Noah and his family didn’t have “dominion” over animal life (1:26, 28). Now the animals would fear humans and do everything possible to escape the threat of death. Since most animals reproduce rapidly and their young mature quickly, the beasts could easily overrun the human population; so God put the fear of humans into the animals. Cain was a farmer, Abel was a shepherd, but Noah and his sons were now hunters.However, God put one restriction on the eating of animal flesh: the meat must be free of blood (9:4). God stated concisely to Noah what He later elaborated through Moses: the life is in the blood, and the life must be respected, even if you’re butchering an animal to eat at a feast. (See Lev. 3:17; 7:26–27; 17:10–14; 19:26; Deut. 12:16, 23–25; 15:23.) In this restriction, God revealed again His concern for animal life. The life is in the blood, and that life comes from God and should be respected. Furthermore, the blood of animals would be important in most of the Mosaic sacrifices, so the blood must be treated with reverence.Jesus taught that it was permissible to eat all foods (Mark 7:1–23), and both Peter (Acts 10) and Paul (1 Tim. 4:3–4; Col. 2:16) reaffirmed this truth. However, the early church still faced disagreements over diets (Rom. 14:1–15:7). To keep Gentile believers from offending Jewish believers or seekers, the early Christians were advised not to be careless about the eating of meat (Acts 15:19–21, 24–29). Paul’s counsel was: receive one another, love one another, do nothing to make one another stumble, and seek to build one another up in the faith. The approach was love; the goal was maturity.3. Protecting life (Gen. 9:5–6)From instructing Noah about the shedding of animal blood, the Lord proceeded to discuss an even more important topic: the shedding of human blood. Thus far, mankind didn’t have a very good track record when it came to caring for one another. Cain had killed his brother Abel (4:8), Lamech had killed a young man and bragged about it (vv. 23–24), and the earth had been filled with all kinds of violence (6:11, 13). God had put the fear of humans into the animals, but now He had to put the fear of God into the humans lest they destroy one another!Those who kill their fellow human beings will have to answer to God for their deeds, for men and women are made in the image of God. To attack a human being is to attack God, and the Lord will bring judgment on the offender. All life is the gift of God, and to take away life means to take the place of God. The Lord gives life and He alone has the right to authorize taking it away (Job 1:21).But how did God arrange to punish murderers and see that justice is done and the law upheld? He established human government on the earth and in so doing shared with mankind the awesome power of taking human life. That’s the import of God’s mandate in Genesis 9:6. Human government and capital punishment go together, as Paul explains in Romans 13:1–7. Government authorities carry the sword and have the right to use it.Under Old Testament Law there was no police force as we know it. If a murder was committed, it was up to the family of the victim to find the culprit and bring him to justice. There’s a difference between murder and involuntary manslaughter (Ex. 21:12–14), so the Lord instructed the nation of Israel to establish six cities of refuge to which an accused murderer could flee for safety (Num. 35:6–34; Deut. 19:1–13). The elders of the city would protect the accused until the case could be investigated; and if the accused was found guilty, the family of the deceased could proceed with the execution. Since the murderer had shed blood, the murderer’s blood must be shed.Government was established by God because the human heart is evil (Gen. 6:5) and the fear of punishment can help to restrain would-be lawbreakers. The law can restrain but it can’t regenerate; only the grace of God can change the human heart (Jer. 31:31–34; Heb. 8:7–13). But if individuals, families, or groups were allowed to deal with offenders in their own way, society would be in a state of constant chaos. Human government has its weaknesses and limitations, but government is better than anarchy and people doing what’s right in their own eyes (Jud. 17:6; 18:1; 19:1; 21:25).God ordained and established three institutions on this earth: marriage and the family (Gen. 1:26–28; 2:18–25), human government (9:5–6), and the church (Matt. 16:13–19; Acts 2). Each has its sphere of responsibility and one can’t substitute for the other. The church wields the sword of the Spirit (Heb. 4:12), not the sword of justice (Rom. 13:4; John 18:36); but if the government interferes with matters of Christian conscience, believers have the right to disobey (Acts 4:18–20).Opponents of capital punishment ask, “Does capital punishment deter crime?” But does any law deter crime, including parking laws and speed laws? Perhaps not as much as we’d desire, but the punishment of offenders does help society to honor law and justice. Nobody knows how many people learn about convictions and think twice before they disobey the law. The law also helps to protect and compensate innocent people who are victims of lawless behavior.Not everything that’s legal is biblical. Regardless of what philosophers, parliaments, and courts may say, God’s mandate of capital punishment begins with “whoever.” It was given by God to be respected and obeyed by all people.4. Enjoying life (Gen. 9:8–17)This section is what theologians call “The Noahic Covenant.” Though God spoke especially to Noah and his sons, this covenant includes all of Noah’s descendants (v. 9) and “all generations to come” (v. 12, niv). The covenant doesn’t stop there, however, for it also includes every living creature (vv. 10, 12) and “all living creatures of every kind” (v. 15, niv). Humans, birds, beasts, and wild animals are encompassed in this wonderful covenant.In this covenant, God promised unconditionally that He would never send another flood to destroy all life on the earth. As though to make it emphatic, three times He said “never again” (vv. 11, 15, nkjv, niv). He didn’t lay down any conditions that men and women had to obey; He simply stated the fact that there would be no more universal floods. From that day on, Noah and his family could enjoy life and not worry every time the rain began to fall.A covenant with creation. At least four times in this covenant, the Lord mentioned “every living creature.” He was speaking about the animals and birds that Noah had kept safe in the ark during the Flood (v. 10). Once again, we’re reminded of God’s special concern for animal life.When the Apostle John beheld the throne room of heaven, he saw four unusual “living creatures” worshiping before God’s throne, each one having a different face (Rev. 4:6–7). The first had a face like a lion, the second like a calf, the third like a man, and the fourth like an eagle. These four faces parallel the four kinds of creatures with whom God made this covenant: wild beasts, cattle, humans, and birds (see Gen. 9:9–10). These creatures are represented perpetually before the throne of God, because the Lord is concerned about His creation. They remind us that all creation worships and praises the God who provides for His creatures and rejoices in their worship.A covenant sign. To help His people remember His covenants, God would give them a visible sign. His covenant with Abraham was sealed with the sign of circumcision (Gen. 17:11; Rom. 4:9–12), and the Mosaic Covenant at Sinai with the sign of the weekly Sabbath (Ex. 31:16–17). God’s covenant with Noah and the animal creation was sealed with the sign of the rainbow. Whenever people saw the rainbow, they would remember God’s promise that no future storm would ever become a worldwide flood that would destroy humanity.Mark Twain and his friend William Dean Howells stepped out of church just as a violent rainstorm began. Howells said, “I wonder if it will stop”; and Mark Twain replied, “It always has.” He was right; it always has! Why? Because God made a covenant and He always keeps His word.God spoke of the rainbow as though Noah and his family were familiar with it, so it must have existed before the Flood. Rainbows are caused by the sunlight filtering through the water in the air, each drop becoming a prism to release the colors hidden in the white light of the sun. Rainbows are fragile but beautiful, and nobody has to pay to see them! Their lovely colors speak to us of what Peter called “the manifold grace of God” (1 Peter 4:10). The Greek word translated “manifold” means “various, many-colored, variegated.” The rainbow reminds us of God’s gracious covenant and the “many-colored” grace of God.Let’s pursue that thought. If the rainbow reminds us of God’s faithfulness and grace, then why do we fret and worry? God hasn’t promised that we’ll never experience storms, but He has promised that the storms won’t destroy us. “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you” (Isa. 43:2, nkjv). When the clouds appear and the sun is hidden, we have nothing to fear.Let’s think about the bow. A bow is an instrument of war, but God has transformed it into a picture of His grace and faithfulness, a guarantee of peace. God could certainly turn the bow of judgment upon us, because we’ve broken His law and deserve judgment. But He has turned the bow toward heaven and taken the punishment for us Himself! When Jesus died on the cross, it was the Just One suffering for the unjust (1 Peter 3:18) and bearing the suffering that rightfully belonged to us.
Rainbows are universal; you see them all over the world. God’s many-colored grace is sufficient for the whole world and needs to be announced to the whole world. After all, God loves the world (John 3:16), and Christ died for the sins of the world (1 John 4:10, 14).But the rainbow isn’t only for us to see, for the Lord said, “I will look upon it” (Gen. 9:16). Certainly God doesn’t forget His covenants with His people, but this is just another way of assuring us that we don’t need to be afraid. When we look at the rainbow, we know that our Father is also looking at the rainbow; and therefore it becomes a bridge that brings us together.Three rainbows. Three men in Scripture saw significant rainbows. Noah saw the rainbow after the storm, just as God’s people see it today. But the Prophet Ezekiel saw the rainbow in the midst of the storm when he had that remarkable vision of the wheels and the throne (Ezek. l:28). Ezekiel also saw living creatures and each one had four faces! One was like a man, one like a lion, one like an ox, and one like an eagle—the same faces John saw (Rev. 4:6–7).Of course, the Apostle John saw the rainbow before the storm of judgment broke loose (v. 3). In fact, John saw a complete rainbow around the throne of God! On earth, we see “in part”; but one day in heaven, we will see things fully as they really are (1 Cor. 13:12).
The personal lesson for God’s people is simply this: in the storms of life, always look for the rainbow of God’s covenant promise. Like John, you may see the rainbow before the storm; like Ezekiel, you may see it in the midst of the storm; or like Noah, you may have to wait until after the storm. But you will always see the rainbow of God’s promise if you look by faith. That’s the Old Testament version of Romans 8:28.God’s covenant with creation affects every living creature on earth. Without it, there would be no assured continuity of nature from day to day and from season to season. We would never know when the next storm was coming and whether it would be our last.God wants us to enjoy the blessings of natural life and spiritual life, because He “gives to us richly all things to enjoy” (1 Tim. 6:17). When you know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, the world of nature around you becomes much more wonderful, because the Creator has become your Father.When in later years the American evangelist D.L. Moody talked about his conversion as a teenager, he said, “I was in a new world. The next morning the sun shone brighter and the birds sang sweeter … the old elms waved their branches for joy, and all Nature was at peace. [It] was the most delicious joy that I had ever known.”The God of creation is the god of salvation. Trust Jesus Christ and you can then truly sing, “This is my Father’s world.”Genesis 9:18–10:32The Rest of the Story
I’m an incurable reader of biographies and autobiographies, and I’ve often regretted turning the page of a book and discovering a grinning skeleton lurking in the closet of someone I’ve admired. American columnist Russell Baker said, “The biographer’s problem is that he never knows enough. The autobiographer’s problem is that he knows too much.” But when God writes the story, He knows everything about everybody and always tells the truth, and He does it for our own good.The history of Noah and his family now moves from rainbows to shadows, and we behold the shameful sins of a great man of faith. Dr. William Culbertson, for many years president of Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, often closed his public prayers with, “And, Lord, help us to end well.” God answered that prayer for Dr. Culbertson, but not every believer now in heaven ended the race hearing God’s “Well done!” However, let’s be charitable and remember Paul’s warning, “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Cor. 10:12, nkjv). After all, Noah didn’t think it would happen to him!1. A family tragedy (Gen. 9:18–23)The index for “the rest of the story” is in verses 18–19. The main characters are listed—Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth—and the main theme of this section is announced: how Noah’s family multiplied and scattered over the earth. A contemporary reader of the Bible is tempted to skip these lists of obscure names, but that doesn’t minimize their importance. These “obscure people” founded the nations that throughout Bible history interacted with each other and helped to accomplish God’s purposes on this earth. The descendants of Shem—the people of Israel—have played an especially important part on the stage of history.Disgrace (vv. 20–21). In becoming a farmer, Noah followed the vocation of his father Lamech (5:28–29). While the Bible condemns drunkenness (Prov. 20:1; 23:19–21, 29–35; Isa. 5:11; Hab. 2:15; Rom. 13:13; 1 Cor. 6:10; Eph. 5:18), it doesn’t condemn the growing or eating of grapes or the drinking of wine. Grapes, raisins, and wine were important elements in the diet of Eastern peoples. In fact, in Old Testament society, wine was considered a blessing from God (Ps. 104:14–15; Deut. 14:26) and was even used with the sacrifices (Lev. 23:13; Num. 28:7).This is the first mention of wine in Scripture, but wine-making was practiced before the Flood, and Noah certainly knew what too much wine would do to him. In an attempt to exonerate Noah, some students claim that the Flood brought about a change in the earth’s atmosphere, and this caused the grape juice to ferment for the first time; but the defense is feeble. Noah had picked the grapes, crushed them in the winepress, put the juice into skins, and waited for the juice to ferment.Both his drunkenness and his nakedness were disgraceful, and the two often go together (Gen. 19:30–38; Hab. 2:15–16; Lam. 4:21). Alcohol isn’t a stimulant, it’s a narcotic; and when the brain is affected by alcohol, the person loses self-control. At least Noah was in his own tent when this happened and not out in public. But when you consider who he was (a preacher of righteousness) and what he had done (saved his household from death), his sin becomes even more repulsive.The Bible doesn’t excuse the sins of the saints but mentions them as warnings to us not to do what they did (1 Cor. 10:6–13). As Spurgeon said, “God never allows His children to sin successfully.” There’s always a price to pay.Twice Abraham lied about his wife (Gen. 12:10–20; 20:1ff), and his son Isaac followed his bad example (26:6–16). Moses lost his temper and as a result also lost the privilege of entering the Holy Land (Num. 20:7–13). Joshua jumped to conclusions and ended up defending the enemy (Josh. 9–10). David committed adultery and arranged to have the woman’s husband killed in battle (2 Sam. 11), and the sword plagued his family for years to come.Noah didn’t plan to get drunk and shamelessly expose himself, but it happened just the same. The Japanese have an appropriate proverb: “First the man takes a drink, then the drink takes a drink, and then the drink takes the man.”Disrespect (v. 22). Ham shouldn’t have entered his father’s tent without an invitation. Did he call to his father and receive no answer? Did he wonder if Noah was sick or perhaps even dead? Did he even know that his father had been drinking wine? These are questions the text doesn’t answer, so it’s useless for us to speculate. One thing is certain: Ham was disrespectful to his father in what he did.How people respond to the sin and embarrassment of others is an indication of their character. Ham could have peeked into the tent, quickly sized up the situation, and covered his father’s body, saying nothing about the incident to anyone. Instead, he seems to have enjoyed the sight and then told his two brothers about it in a rather disrespectful manner. He may even have suggested that they go take a look for themselves.Moses hadn’t yet said, “Honor your father and your mother” (Ex. 20:12), but surely the impulse is natural to children and should have been present in Ham’s heart. Why would a son show such disrespect for his father? Though Ham was the youngest of the three sons, perhaps he was an Old Testament “elder brother” who was angry with his father because of something he didn’t receive (Luke 15:25–32). By what he did, Ham revealed a weakness in his character that could show up in his descendants.Decency (v. 23). Instead of laughing with Ham and going to see the humiliating sight, Shem and Japheth showed their love for their father by practicing Proverbs 10:12, “Love covers all sins” (nkjv; see 1 Peter 4:8). The brothers stood together and held a garment behind them, backed into the tent with their eyes averted, and covered Noah’s naked body. “He who covers a transgression seeks love” (Prov. 17:9, nkjv), and “a prudent man covers shame” (12:16, nkjv).Love doesn’t cleanse sin, for only the blood of Christ can do that (1 John 1:7); nor does love condone sin, for love wants God’s very best for others. But love does cover sin and doesn’t go around exposing sin and encouraging others to spread the bad news. When people sin and we know about it, our task is to help restore them in a spirit of meekness (Gal. 6:1–2). It’s been said that on the battlefield of life, Christians are prone to kick their wounded; and too often this is true. But before we condemn others, we’d better consider ourselves, for all of us are candidates for conduct unbecoming to a Christian.2. A family prophecy (Gen. 9:24–29)When Noah awakened from his drunken stupor, he was probably ashamed of what he had done; but he was also surprised to find himself covered by a garment. Naturally, he wondered what had happened in the tent while he was asleep. The logical thing would be to speak to Japheth, his firstborn; and he and Shem must have told him what Ham had done.These words are Noah’s only recorded speech found in Scripture. It’s too bad that this brief speech has been misunderstood and labeled a “curse,” because what Noah said is more like a father’s prophecy concerning his children and grandchildren. The word “curse” is used only once, but it’s directed at Ham’s youngest son Canaan and not at Ham himself. This suggests that Noah was describing the future of his sons and one grandson on the basis of what he saw in their character, not unlike what Jacob did before he died (Gen. 49).Canaan—enslavement (v. 25). If Noah had wanted to pronounce a curse, it would have been directed at Ham, the son who had sinned against his father; but instead, he named Canaan three times. It was a principle in later Jewish law that the children could not be punished for the sins of their fathers (Deut. 24:16; Jer. 31:29–30; Ezek. 18:1–4), and it’s likely that this principle applied in patriarchal times.Looking down the centuries, Noah predicted three times that the descendants of Canaan would become the lowest of servants. The Canaanites are listed in Genesis 10:15–19 and are the very nations the Israelites conquered and whose land they inhabited (15:18–21; Ex. 3:8, 17; Num. 13:29; Josh. 3:10; 1 Kings 9:20). It’s difficult to describe the moral decay of the Canaanite society, especially their religious practices; but the laws given in Leviticus 18 will give you some idea of how they lived. God warned the Jews not to compromise with the Canaanite way of life and to destroy everything that would tempt them in that direction (Ex. 34:10–17; Deut. 7).
Two misconceptions should be cleared up. First, the descendants of Ham were not members of a black race but were Caucasian, so there’s no basis in this so-called “curse of Canaan” for the institution of slavery. Second, in spite of their evil ways, some of these Hamitic peoples built large and advanced civilizations, including the Babylonians, Assyrians, and Egyptians. In one sense, we can say that the descendants of Ham “served” the whole world through the ideas and implements that they discovered and developed. Like the Cainites (Gen. 4:17–24), these nations were gifted at creating things for this world (Luke 16:8).Shem—enrichment (v. 26). Noah didn’t bless Shem; he blessed “the Lord, the God of Shem” (niv). In so doing, Noah gave glory to God for what He will do with the descendants of Shem. Noah acknowledged before his sons that whatever Shem possessed would be God’s gift, and whatever blessing Shem brought to the world in the future would be because of the grace of God.Shem, of course, is the ancestor of Abraham (11:10–32) who is the founder of the Hebrew nation; so Noah was talking about the Jewish people. That the Lord would enrich the Jewish people spiritually was promised to Abraham (12:1–3) and later explained by Paul (Rom. 3:1–4; 9:1–13). It’s through Israel that we have the knowledge of the true God, the written Word of God, and the Savior, Jesus Christ, who was born in Bethlehem of the tribe of Judah. In the Hebrew, “Shem” means “name,” and it’s the people of Israel who have preserved the name of the Lord.Shem was Noah’s second-born son (Gen. 9:24; 10:21), but wherever the three sons are listed, Shem’s name is first (5:32; 6:10; 9:18; 10:1; 1 Chron. 1:4). It’s another instance in Genesis of the grace of God elevating the second-born to the place of the firstborn. God chose Abel instead of Cain (Gen. 4:4–5), Isaac instead of Ishmael (17:15–22), and Jacob instead of Esau (25:19–23). Paul discusses this profound theological truth in Romans 9.Japheth—enlargement (v. 27). He was the ancestor of what we generally call the “Gentile nations.” We have here a play on words, for in the Hebrew the name Japheth is very close to the word that means “to enlarge.” The Hamites built large civilizations in the east, and the Semites settled in the land of Canaan and surrounding territory, but the descendants of Japheth spread out much farther than their relatives and even reached what we know as Asia Minor and Europe. They were a people who would multiply and move into new territory.However, while the descendants of Japheth were successful in their conquests, when it came to things spiritual, they would have to depend on Shem. God is the God of Shem and the descendants of Japheth would find God “in the tents of Shem.” Israel was chosen by God to be a “light to the Gentiles” (Isa. 42:6; 49:6), for “salvation is of the Jews” (John 4:22). Sad to say, for the most part, the nation of Israel failed to witness to the Gentiles that they might believe in the true and living God (Isa. 52:5; Rom. 2:24).When Jesus came to earth, He brought light to the Gentiles (Luke 2:32), and the apostles and the early church carried that light to the nations (Acts 1:8; 13:47). The descendants of Noah’s three sons were represented in the early church: the Ethiopian treasurer, a descendant of Ham (8:26ff); Paul, a descendant of Shem (Acts 9); and Cornelius and his family, who were descendants of Japheth (Acts 10).Noah lived another three-and-a-half centuries, and we have every reason to believe that he walked with God and served Him faithfully. As far as the record is concerned, he fell once; and certainly he repented and the Lord forgave him. In our walk with God, we climb the hills and sometimes we descend into the valleys. As Alexander Whyte used to say, “The victorious Christian life is a series of new beginnings.”
Life App Notes: The great flood Notes for 6:1-4 Some people have thought that the "sons of God" were fallen angels. But the "sons of God" were probably not angels, because angels do not marry or reproduce (Matthew 22:30; Mark 12:25). Some scholars believe this phrase refers to the descendants of Seth who intermarried with Cain's evil descendants ("the daughters of men"). This would have weakened the good influence of the faithful and increased moral depravity in the world, resulting in an explosion of evil. Nephilim refers to a powerful race of giants. Notes for 6:3 "His days will be a hundred and twenty years" means that God was allowing the people of Noah's day 120 years to change their sinful ways. God shows his great patience with us as well. He is giving us time to quit living our way and begin living his way, the way he shows us in his Word. While 120 years seems like a long time, eventually the time ran out and the floodwaters swept across the earth. Your time also may be running out. Turn to God to forgive your sins. You can't see the stopwatch of God's patience, and there is no bargaining for additional time. Notes for 6:4 The Nephilim were giants, people probably nine or ten feet tall. These may have been the same people mentioned in Numbers 13:33. Goliath, who was nine feet tall, appears in 1Samuel 17. The Nephilim used their physical advantage to oppress the people around them. Notes for 6:6,7 Does this mean that God regretted creating humanity? Was he admitting he made a mistake? No, God does not change his mind (1Samuel 15:29). Instead, he was expressing sorrow for what the people had done to themselves, as a parent might express sorrow over a rebellious child. God was sorry that the people chose sin and death instead of a relationship with him. 6:6-8 The people's sin grieved God. Our sins break God's heart as much as sin did in Noah's day. Noah, however, pleased God, although he was far from perfect. We can follow Noah's example and find "favor in the eyes of the LORD" in spite of the sin that surrounds us. Notes for 6:9 To say that Noah was righteous and blameless does not mean that he never sinned (the Bible records one of his sins in Gen 9:20ff). Rather it means that he wholeheartedly loved and obeyed God. For a lifetime he walked step by step in faith as a living example to his generation. Like Noah, we live in a world filled with evil. Are we influencing others or being influenced by them? Notes for 6:14 Pitch was a tarlike substance used to make the ark watertight. Notes for 6:15The boat Noah built was no canoe! Picture yourself building a boat the length of one and a half football fields and as high as a four-story building. The ark was exactly six times longer than it was wide — the same ratio used by modern shipbuilders. This huge boat was probably built miles from any body of water by only a few faithful men who believed God's promises and obeyed his commands. Notes for 6:18 A covenant is a promise. This is a familiar theme in Scripture — God making covenants with his people. How reassuring it is to know God's covenant is established with us. He is still our salvation and we are kept safe through our relationship with him. For more on the covenant see Gen 9:8-17; 12:1-3; and 15:17-20. Notes for 6:22 Noah got right to work when God told him to build the ark. Other people must have been warned about the coming disaster (1Peter 3:20), but apparently they did not expect it to happen. Today things haven't changed much. Each day thousands of people are warned of God's inevitable judgment, yet most of them don't really believe it will happen. Don't expect people to welcome or accept your message of God's coming judgment on sin. Those who don't believe in God will deny his judgment and try to get you to deny God as well. But remember God's promise to Noah to keep him safe. This can inspire you to trust God for deliverance in the judgment that is sure to come. Notes for 8:6-16 Occasionally Noah would send a bird out to test the earth and see if it was dry. But Noah didn't get out of the ark until God told him to. He was waiting for God's timing. God knew that even though the water was gone, the earth was not dry enough for Noah and his family to venture out. What patience Noah showed, especially after spending an entire year inside his boat! We, like Noah, must trust God to give us patience during those difficult times when we must wait. The boat touched land in the mountains of Ararat, located in present-day Turkey near the USSR border. There it rested for almost eight months before Noah, his family, and the animals stepped onto dry land. Notes for 8:21,22 Countless times throughout the Bible we see God showing his love and patience toward men and women in order to save them. Although he realizes that their hearts are evil, he continues to try to reach them. When we sin or fall away from God, we surely deserve to be destroyed by his judgment. But God has promised never again to destroy everything on earth until the judgment day when Christ returns to destroy evil forever. Now every change of season is a reminder of his promise. Repopulating the earth Notes for 9:5 To "demand an accounting" means that God will require each person to account for his or her actions. We cannot harm or kill another human being without answering to God. A penalty must be paid. Justice will be served. 9:5,6 Here God explains why murder is so wrong: To kill a person is to kill one made in God's image. Because all human beings are made in God's image, all people possess the qualities that distinguish them from animals: morality, reason, creativity, and self-worth. When we interact with others, we are interacting with beings made by God, beings to whom God offers eternal life. God wants us to recognize his image in all people. The rainbow Notes for 9:8-17Noah stepped out of the ark onto an earth devoid of human life. But God gave him a reassuring promise. This covenant had three parts: (1) never again will a flood do such destruction; (2) as long as the earth remains, the seasons will always come as expected; (3) a rainbow will be visible when it rains as a sign to all that God will keep his promises. The earth's order and seasons are still preserved, and rainbows still remind us of God's faithfulness to his Word. Noah's descendants Notes for 9:20-27 Noah, the great hero of faith, got drunk — a poor example of godliness to his sons. Perhaps this story is included to show us that even godly people can sin and that their bad influence affects their families. Although the wicked people had all been killed, the possibility of evil still existed in the hearts of Noah and his family. Ham's mocking attitude revealed a severe lack of respect for his father and for God. Notes for 9:25 This verse has been wrongfully used to support racial prejudice and even slavery. Noah's curse, however, wasn't directed toward any particular race, but rather at the Canaanite nation — a nation God knew would become wicked. The curse was fulfilled when the Israelites entered the promised land and drove the Canaanites out (see the book of Joshua).
The Mountiains of Arat
| NOAH | The story of Noah's life involves not one, but two great and tragic floods. The world in Noah's day was flooded with evil. The number of those who remembered the God of creation, perfection, and love had dwindled to one. Of God's people, only Noah was left. God's response to the severe situation was a 120-year-long last chance, during which he had Noah build a graphic illustration of the message of his life. Nothing like a huge boat on dry land to make a point! For Noah, obedience meant a long-term commitment to a project.Many of us have trouble sticking to any project, whether or not it is directed by God. It is interesting that the length of Noah's obedience was greater than the lifespan of people today. The only comparable long-term project is our very lives. But perhaps this is one great challenge Noah's life gives us -- to live, in acceptance of God's grace, an entire lifetime of obedience and gratitude.Strengths and accomplishments: * Only follower of God left in his generation
- Second father of the human race
- Man of patience, consistency, and obedience
- First major shipbuilder
Weaknesses and mistake: * Got drunk and embarrassed himself in front of his sons
Lessons from his life: * God is faithful to those who obey him
- God does not always protect us from trouble, but cares for us in spite of trouble
- Obedience is a long-term commitment
- A man may be faithful, but his sinful nature always travels with him
Vital statistics: * Where: We're not told how far from the Garden of Eden people had settled
- Occupation: Farmer, shipbuilder, preacher
- Relatives: Grandfather: Methuselah. Father: Lamech. Sons: Ham, Shem, and Japheth
Key verse: "Noah did everything just as God commanded him" (Genesis 6:22). Noah's story is told in Genesis 5:29. |
Numb 26:33 (Zelophehad son of Hepher had no sons; he had only daughters, whose names were Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah and Tirzah.)
Numb 27:1 The daughters of Zelophehad son of Hepher, the son of Gilead, the son of Makir, the son of Manasseh, belonged to the clans of Manasseh son of Joseph. The names of the daughters were Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah and Tirzah. They approached
Numb 36:11 Zelophehad's daughters--Mahlah, Tirzah, Hoglah, Milcah and Noah--married their cousins on their father's side.
Josh 17:3 Now Zelophehad son of Hepher, the son of Gilead, the son of Makir, the son of Manasseh, had no sons but only daughters, whose names were Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah and Tirzah.
1Chr 1:3 Enoch, Methuselah, Lamech, Noah. 4 The sons of Noah: Shem, Ham and Japheth.
Isai 54:9 "To me this is like the days of Noah, when I swore that the waters of Noah would never again cover the earth. So now I have sworn not to be angry with you, never to rebuke you again.
Ezek 14:14 even if these three men--Noah, Daniel and Job--were in it, they could save only themselves by their righteousness, declares the Sovereign LORD. 20 as surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, even if Noah, Daniel and Job were in it, they could save neither son nor daughter. They would save only themselves by their righteousness.
Matt 24:37 As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark;
Luke 3:36 the son of Cainan, the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem, the son of Noah, the son of Lamech,
Luke 17:26 "Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man.
27 People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all.
Heb 11:7 By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.
1Pet 3:20 who disobeyed long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water,
2Pet 2:5 if he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others;
(NBLH) para que sean irreprensibles y sencillos, hijos de Dios sin tacha en medio de una generación torcida y perversa, en medio de la cual ustedes resplandecen como luminares en el mundo,
(NVI) para que sean intachables y puros, hijos de Dios sin culpa en medio de una generación torcida y depravada. En ella ustedes brillan como estrellas en el firmamento,