Introduction: Genesis chapter 6 explains the events that led to the Flood. Everything that happened in the Old Testament is a foreshadow of events that will unfold again in the New Testament. Just as God destroyed Noah’s world because of its sin, He will judge the world again during the end times. From this chapter, God reveals seven warnings for all of mankind.
First, from God’s judgment against the prohibited marriages between the “sons of God” and the “daughters of men”, He warns all believers to stay separate from the unclean things of the world and holy for His use. Second, from the continuously evil desires of mankind that brought about the Flood, He also warns you to repent of the continuously evil desires of your heart. Third, from His warning that He would “blot out” the evil men in Noah’s day and His similar end-time warnings, give thanks that Jesus paid for your judgment with His death at the cross. Fourth, from Noah’s example of righteous conduct and his preaching to a fallen world, He also advises you to be a righteous example and exhort others to be righteous in Christ. Fifth, from His directions to Noah to build an ark in the shape of a tomb as the only means of salvation, He reveals that you are also to direct others to the only source of salvation through Christ. Sixth, through His promise of a new covenant through Noah, He reveals that He also offers you a New Covenant through Christ. Finally, from Noah’s obedience in following God’s instructions in the face of likely ridicule, He encourages you to be obedient in the face of ridicule as well.
The unholy union of the “sons of God” and the “daughters of men.” After presenting Adam’s unrighteous and righteous genealogies, God reveals that the “sons of God'' married the “daughters of men.” This caused God to judge these people and their descendants: “1 Now it came about, when men began to multiply on the face of the land, and daughters were born to them, 2 that the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves, whomever they chose. 3 Then the Lord said, ‘My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, because he also is flesh; nevertheless his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.’” (Gen. 6:1-3). There are many theories as to the identity of “sons of God'' and the “daughters of men”. The two most accepted theories are discussed below.
Evil spread throughout the world1
Jheronimus Bosch ca. 1450 – 1516 (Garden of Earthly Delights - central panel)2
The theory that the “sons of God” were fallen angels. In the Bible, the term, “the sons of God” (bene elohim) can refer to angels. (e.g, Job 1:6, 2:1, 38:7). Those who believe that the reference the “sons of God” in Genesis 6:1 refers to angels point to New Testament references of “angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode, He has kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day.” (Jude 1:6). (See also, 1 Pet. 3:18-22, 2 Pet. 2:4-5). Many also point to the first of three non-canonized book of Enoch as evidence that the “sons of God” were angels: “1 Enoch, which is not inspired scripture, but may still contain some accurate accounts: ‘And it came to pass that the children of men had multiplied that in those days were born unto them beautiful and comely daughters. And the angels, the children of heaven, saw and lusted after them, and said to one another: Come, let us choose us wives from among the children of men and beget us children ... [They] took unto themselves wives, and each chose for himself one, and they began to go unto them and to defile themselves with them, and they taught them charms and enchantments ... And they became pregnant, and they bare great giants ... And there arose much godlessness, and they committed fornication, and they were led astray, and became corrupt in all their ways.”’ (David Guzik on Genesis Chapter 6).
The theory that the “sons of God” were ungoldly descendants of Cain. A second theory is that Seth’s holy descendants the (“sons of God”) married Cain’s unholy descendants (the “daughters of men”). In the Old Testament, the term “sons of the living God” is used to describe the children of Israel (Hos. 1:10, Ps. 73:15; 80:17). God called the Jews His “firstborn” (Ex. 4:22). Moses further called the people of Israel the “children of the Lord your God” (Dt. 14:1). In the New Testament, the term “sons of God” is also used to refer to people (Jo. 1:12; Ro. 8:14; 8:19; Phil. 2:15; 1 Jo. 3:1-2). The first theory also does not tie into the context leading up to this chapter. Besides Satan’s deception in the Garden of Eden, there are no other references to fallen angels before this chapter. Instead, the context leading up to this chapter is of two lines of humans, the evil descendants of Cain in chapter 4 and the righteous descendants of Seth in chapter 5. If the “sons of God” reference the descendants of Seth and the “daughters of men'' referenced descendants of Cain, this would tie together the chapters that precede Genesis into a single narrative. Advocates of this view argue that the references to angels in Jude may point to the time when one third of the angels rebelled with Satan before Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden (Rev. 12:3-9). Jesus also made clear that angels in heaven are spirit beings who do not have sex: “For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.” (Matt. 22:30). Advocates of the first theory argue that angels might be able to reproduce in a fallen earthly state. Yet, there is no Scripture to support this interpretation. Moreover, God’s subsequent judgment was only against mankind, not the angels. Others point out that: “Church Fathers, such as Augustine, as well as the Reformers (Luther, Calvin) interpreted the ‘sons of God’ as a reference to ‘godly men,’ that is the righteous lineage of Seth.”3 The proper interpretation of these verses is not an issue of salvation. Both stories might also be true. It could be that angels came down and influenced the godly and ungodly lines to unite. Satan manipulated Cain to kill Abel to prevent the prophecy that God gave to Eve of the Messiah coming through her. Here, his goal was to compromise mankind with immorality and sin in a failed effort to prevent the Messiah from coming. God’s point under either interpretation of these verses would also be the same. Believers should not marry or become bound to the unholy things or people of the world. This includes marriage, sex, and other social relationships.
The union of the Church with the world and believers with non-believers. Intermarriage with nonbelievers was forbidden in the Torah: “Furthermore, you shall not intermarry with them; you shall not give your daughters to their sons, nor shall you take their daughters for your sons. For they will turn your sons away from following Me to serve other gods; then the anger of the Lord will be kindled against you and He will quickly destroy you.” (Dt. 7:3-4; 12:3-4). Jesus also reveals that when two persons get married or if two unmarried persons have sex, they become “one flesh” (Matt. 19:5-6). Thus, believers are warned to avoid being unequally yoked with non-believers: “Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?” (2 Cor. 6:14; 11:14). “If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth;” (1 Jo. 1:6). Matthew Henry warns that this is a challenge in every generation of believers: “In all ages there has been a peculiar curse of God upon marriages between professors of true religion and its avowed enemies. The evil example of the ungodly party corrupts or greatly hurts the other. Family religion is put an end to, and the children are trained up according to the worldly maxims of that parent who is without the fear of God. If we profess to be the sons and daughters of the Lord Almighty, we must not marry without his consent. He will never give his blessing, if we prefer beauty, wit, wealth, or worldly honors, to faith and holiness.” (Matthew Henry on Genesis Chapter 6) Have you kept yourself separate and holy for God’s use?
God’s mercy and grace in granting humanity 120 years to repent. After warning that mankind’s actions would bring judgment, God showed mercy and grace in allowing mankind 120 years before His judgment: “‘nevertheless his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.’” (Gen. 6:3(b)). This view is also subject to two interpretations. One interpretation is that God limited the lifespan of future humans. A second interpretation is that God withheld judgment upon mankind for 120 years to give it an opportunity to repent. Both interpretations may be true. The early Jews interpreted this as an opportunity for mankind to repent before the Flood. (cf., Tg. Onq.; Pirke Aboth 5:2). Mankind also cannot naturally live past 120 years of age. This first judgment indicates that the intermarrying of the righteous and unrighteous lines was by itself not enough to bring about the Flood. It was mankind’s failure to repent after losing hundreds of years off the average lifespan that brought about the Flood. God is filled with mercy and grace. He does not want to judge. Yet, justice cannot exist without judgment. Either you accept in faith that Christ has taken your judgment for you or you will face the judgment that you deserve for your sins.
The evil “Nephilim” giants in Noah’s day. After the first punishment of mankind following the union of the “sons of God” and the daughters of man”, God reveals that a mysterious group of giants called the “Nephilim” lived during that time period: “4 The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown.” (Gen. 6:4). There is only one other reference to “Nephilim” in the Bible. This is in reference to alleged giants that the ten fearful spies claimed to have seen inside the Promised Land: “There also we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak are part of the Nephilim); and we became like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.” (Nu. 13:33). Bible commentator Kenneth Mathews, however, points out that it is incorrect to assume that these people were one and the same. Moses never gave a warning about the need to wipe out a race of people called the Nephilim. If they were the same, that would also mean that the Nephilim survived the Flood. Thus, Mathews believes that the frightened spies were making figurative reference to the mythological people of old. Mathews also points out that the text does not clearly say that the Nephilim were the offspring of the sons of God and the daughters of mankind: “the primary exegetical challenge is understanding the logical relationship between v. 4 and the preceding verses, since there is no grammatical connection. Is there a relationship between the marriages of vv. 1-2 and the ‘Nephilim’ in v. 4? Thus are the ‘Nephilim’ the offspring of these marriages or only contemporaries? . . . The problem rests with the progression of vv. 1-4. The expected transition from the sexual unions recounted in vv. 1-2 to the acknowledgement of children born to those unions in v. 4 is interrupted by the oracle of judgment v. 3. Verse 3, however, is logically the end of vv. 1-2, which leads to God’s interdiction against marriages. There is no compelling reason to alter the present arrangement of vv. 3 and 4 . . . Sometimes overlooked is the fact that the Nephilim are not specifically said to be the offspring of the marital unions.”4 Kenneth Mathews believes that the reference was to a class of powerful people who were wicked. Yet, the term is also translated as “giants.” Some claim that the term “Nephilim” referenced a distinct race. They were giants who were renowned for their evil. Modern DNA evidence has confirmed that the Neanderthals lived concurrently with humans, had larger heads, were violent predators and on occasion mated with humans. The average cranial capacity of Neanderthals was 1600 cm3. This was much larger than the 1400 cm3 average for modern humans. Some researchers even claim that they were stronger than humans.5 Some further claim that their eyesight was better than humans.6 Commentator John Denton argues that they were the Nephilim.7 Yet, this is not the majority view amongst Bible commentators. There are some mysteries that God will reveal in heaven. The important point is that the Nephilim were wicked and violent.
The continuously evil desires of mankind in Noah’s day. In Noah’s day, mankind’s thoughts were continually evil. This included both the Nephilim and the mixed race of Cain and Seth’s descendants: “5 Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” (Gen. 6:5). God gave mankind 120 years to repent. Yet, they failed to change their ways.
The continuously evil desires of mankind today. Just as in the time of Noah, there are none who act righteously on their own without Christ: “as it is written, ‘There is none righteous, not even one; there is none who understands, there is none who seeks for God;” (Ro. 3:10-11). “And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.” (Ro. 1:29-32). “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, they have committed abominable deeds; there is no one who does good.” (Ps. 14:1). If you say that you are different and that there is no sin in your heart Jesus’ light and truth is not within you (1 Jo. 1:8). Do you humbly confess your sins each day to let Jesus cleanse you (1 Jo. 1:9).
Walk in the light of the Spirit, not the flesh. To keep yourself from sin, Paul warns: “ . . . do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” (Ro. 8:4(b)). This starts by guarding your heart from evil things. Solomon warned: “Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.” (Prov. 4:23). The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jer. 17:9). Jesus also warns: “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders.” (Matt. 15:19). “You brood of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak what is good? For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart.” (Matt. 12:34). Are you guarding your heart?
God’s warning that He would “blot out” evil men in Noah’s day. Because mankind was continuously evil and would not repent or turn back to Him, God warned Noah that He would wipe out the human race: “6 The Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. 7 The Lord said, ‘I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky; for I am sorry that I have made them.’” (Gen. 6:6-7). God’s expression of regret causes some to feel uncomfortable. He later also expressed “regret” about having made Saul, Israel’s first king: ‘“I regret that I have made Saul king, for he has turned back from following Me and has not carried out My commands.’ And Samuel was distressed and cried out to the LORD all night. (1 Sam. 15:11). These expressions do not mean that God felt He made a mistake about making mankind or in selecting Saul to be Israel’s first king. Instead, He expressed regret or sorrow over the choices of mankind in Noah’s day and Saul’s later choices. God exists outside of time and knows all things. Yet, He still regrets our sins. He is like a loving father or mother who mourns when a child makes bad choices. Are you causing God to grieve with sorrow with your choices by returning to sin each time He forgives you?
God’s Old Testament warning that He would “blot out” evil men in the end times. In the Torah, God later warned that He would “blot out” the evil people from heaven: “the LORD will blot out his name from under heaven.” (Dt. 29:20(b)). He also warned that He would destroy Israel when it was disobedient: “It shall come about that as the LORD delighted over you to prosper you, and multiply you, so the LORD will delight over you to make you perish and destroy you; and you will be torn from the land where you are entering to possess it.” (Dt. 28:63). He also warned that He would bring judgment upon the world using fire: ‘“For behold, the day is coming, burning like a furnace; and all the arrogant and every evildoer will be chaff; and the day that is coming will set them ablaze,’ says the LORD of hosts, ‘so that it will leave them neither root nor branch.’” (Mal. 4:1). “Behold, the day of the LORD is coming, cruel, with fury and burning anger, to make the land a desolation; and He will exterminate its sinners from it. For the stars of heaven and their constellations will not flash forth their light; the sun will be dark when it rises and the moon will not shed its light.” (Is. 13:10). “The sun will be turned into darkness and the moon into blood before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes.” (Joel 2:31). ‘“I will completely remove all things from the face of the earth,’ declares the LORD. I will remove man and beast; I will remove the birds of the sky and the fish of the sea, and the ruins along with the wicked; and I will cut off man from the face of the earth,’ declares the LORD.” (Zephaniah 1:2-3).
God’s New Testament warnings that He would destroy the world. In the New Testament, Jesus gave an analogy of God’s judgment in Noah’s day to warn of the coming judgment during the end times: “For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah.” (Matt. 24:37). “And just as it happened in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: they were eating, they were drinking, they were marrying, they were being given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all.” (Lk. 17:26-27). “The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness, and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matt. 13:41-42). “For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water, through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water. But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.” (2 Pet. 3:5-7). The final judgment will bring fire and darkness (Matt. 24:29; Mk. 13:24; Lk. 21:25; Acts 2:20; Rev. 6:12). You are no less deserving of this judgement than the people of Noah’s day. Yet, Jesus has paid the price for you at the Cross. Are you thanking Him daily for your undeserved mercy and grace?
Don’t grieve the Holy Spirit. Just as God expresses regret for mankind’s wickedness in the Old Testament, believers can “grieve” the Holy Spirit when they engage in evil acts. “But they rebelled and grieved His Holy Spirit; . . .” (Is. 63:10(a)). “How often they rebelled against Him in the wilderness and grieved Him in the desert!” (Ps. 78:40). “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” (Eph. 4:30). If you are thankful for what Christ did for you, is your conduct causing the Holy Spirit grief?
Noah lived a righteous life and preached righteousness to others. Although God planned to judge the evil generations of mankind in Noah’s day, He planned to use the righteous Noah to save the human race from extinction: “8 But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord. 9 These are the records of the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his time; Noah walked with God. 10 Noah became the father of three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth.” (Gen. 6:8-10). During his life time, Noah was an example to others by his righteous conduct. In the non-canonized Jewish literature, Noah was celebrated as a priest and as an example of righteousness for all. (e.g., Sir 44:17; Jub. 5:19; Wis., 10:4; 1 Enoch 67:1). The New Testament likewise reveals that he was a preacher of God’s righteousness to the lost: “ . . but preserved Noah, a preacher of righteousness, with seven others, when He brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly;” (2 Pet. 2:5(b)). Yet, the Bible qualifies Noah’s righteousness by saying that he was “blameless in his time.” (Gen. 6:9). He later got drunk after God saved him and his family through the Flood. (Gen. 9:20-27). Out of anger when Ham raped him, he then cursed his son out of anger. (Gen. 9:24-5). His righteousness also could not save the existing generation of sinners: ‘“even though these three men, Noah, Daniel and Job were in its midst, by their own righteousness they could only deliver themselves,’ declares the Lord GOD.” (Ezek. 14:14). His limitations pointed toward the need for a savior for all mankind. Mankind is incapable of saving itself from its sins.
Noah preached God’s righteousness to others8
Walk with God, blameless through Christ. Like Enoch, Noah “walked with God.” (Gen. 5:22, 24; 6:9). This suggested not just piety, but also fellowship. God later told Abraham when he was 99-years-old to “Walk before Me, and be blameless.” (Gen. 17:1(b)). Through Christ’s blood, you too can “walk” with Him and enjoy His fellowship (Dt. 5:33; 8:6). Like Abraham, it is never too late to start your walk if you have never started it. You are also His “ambassador” to the lost and to sinners. (2 Cor. 5:20). In other words, you might be the only Bible that some people read. Thus, you are called upon through Christ to be blameless in conduct: “You shall be blameless before the LORD your God.” (Dt. 18:13). “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matt. 5:48). “Speak to all the congregation of the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy.”’ (Lev. 19:2; 20:7; 1 Pet. 1:16). “Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him.” (Eph. 1:4). Are you a Noah to those around you, representing Christ well through your conduct?
Pray for the salvation of others. God later “grieved” at the Jews’ sins at building the golden calf. (Ex. 32:12,14). He relented only after Moses’ intercessory prayers. (Ex. 32:14; cf., Ps. 78:40-41). There is no record of Noah engaging in intercessory prayer or offering to blot out his own life the way Moses did. It’s possible that he did, and the people simply failed to repent. God still wants you to pray. Are you praying for the salvation of others?
God’s instructions to Noah to build an ark. In addition to saving humanity through his family, God wanted Noah to save mankind and the animals of His world inside of a massive ark, which was shaped like a rectangular tomb: “11 Now the earth was corrupt in the sight of God, and the earth was filled with violence. 12 God looked on the earth, and behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way upon the earth. 13 Then God said to Noah, ‘The end of all flesh has come before Me; for the earth is filled with violence because of them; and behold, I am about to destroy them with the earth. 14 Make for yourself an ark of gopher wood; you shall make the ark with rooms, and shall cover it inside and out with pitch. 15 This is how you shall make it: the length of the ark three hundred cubits, its breadth fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits. 16 You shall make a window for the ark, and finish it to a cubit from the top; and set the door of the ark in the side of it; you shall make it with lower, second, and third decks. 17 Behold, I, even I am bringing the flood of water upon the earth, to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life, from under heaven; everything that is on the earth shall perish.” (Gen. 6:13-17). In these verses, God declares mankind to be corrupt three times. They were beyond redemption. Their violence and murders polluted the land with sin (Nu. 35:33-34). Their sins and their failure to repent brought judgment upon the Earth (Gen. 3:17-19; Ro. 8:20-21). Although Noah preached repentance for 120 years while he built the ark, only his family repented and took refuge inside the ark: “who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water.” (1 Pet. 3:20). Jesus is the ark. He is the only means by which you can escape judgment. Are you taking refuge in Him or the things of the world that will disappear?
God’s promise of mankind’s salvation through Jesus’s death. Outside of Genesis, the “ark” is only used to reference the basket that God used to save Moses (Ex. 1-2). Thus, the ark is a symbol of salvation. The dimensions of the ark also formed a rectangular floating tomb upon God’s waters, a symbol of Jesus’ death for mankind. In the Genesis verses above, the word ark also appears exactly five times. In the Bible, the number five symbolizes God’s grace. It was by grace alone that He preserved the human race through Noah. It was also by grace alone that Jesus gave mankind eternal life. Yet, like in Noah’s day, God warns that He will not withhold His judgment forever: “For I will not contend forever, nor will I always be angry; for the spirit would grow faint before Me, and the breath of those whom I have made.” (Is. 57:16). “Who is a God like You, who pardons iniquity and passes over the rebellious act of the remnant of His possession? He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in unchanging love.” (Micah 7:18). It is only through the mercy and grace of Christ that mankind can be saved (Acts 4:12; Jo. 3:16). Jesus exhorted His believers: “Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, and then comes the harvest '? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest.” (Jo. 4:35). Are you helping with the harvest by pointing believers to Jesus as their only ark?
God will not always show you the fruits of your faith in your lifetime. Noah would have likely felt like a failure with no converts outside his family. Jesus’ disciples also deserted him before His death. Paul also could have had no idea what would become of his labors for Christ. It’s easy to look upon the lack of immediate results when you work for God and conclude that your efforts are a failure. Yet, God’s time is not your time. He sometimes does not show you the fruits of your labors because He does not want you to take credit or become prideful. Are you patiently serving God, even when you cannot see the results?
God’s promise of a new covenant through Noah. God promised to establish a new covenant through Noah and his descendants: “18 But I will establish My covenant with you; and you shall enter the ark—you and your sons and your wife, and your sons’ wives with you. 19 And of every living thing of all flesh, you shall bring two of every kind into the ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female. 20 Of the birds after their kind, and of the animals after their kind, of every creeping thing of the ground after its kind, two of every kind will come to you to keep them alive. 21 As for you, take for yourself some of all food which is edible, and gather it to yourself; and it shall be for food for you and for them.’” (Gen. 6:18-21). After the Flood, God reaffirmed His promise of a new covenant with Noah: “Now behold, I Myself do establish My covenant with you, and with your descendants after you;” (Gen. 9:9). This foreshadowed the New Covenant offered through Christ.
The promise of the New Covenant. God later affirmed His covenant through Abraham: “I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your descendants after you.” (Gen. 17:7). God later promised that He would make a new and even greater Covenant with His people: ‘“Behold, days are coming,’ declares the LORD, ‘when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,’ declares the LORD.” (Jer. 31:32; Heb. 8:8-9). This foreshadowed Jesus’ promise of a New Covenant with His people: “And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, ‘This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood.’” (Luke 22:20). God “who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” (2 Cor. 3:6). You are no longer judged for your failures: “For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion sought for a second.” (Heb. 8:7). Under the New Covenant, your salvation is tied to your faith in Christ, not the Law (Ro. 7:6). “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us-- for it is written, ‘cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree’--in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” (Gal. 3:13-14). Out of gratitude for His mercy and grace, is your life a “living sacrifice” for Him? (Ro. 12:1).
Noah built the ark in faith that God’s Word was true. Noah was righteous because his faith led to unquestioning obedience: “22 Thus Noah did; according to all that God had commanded him, so he did.” (Gen. 6:22). When God directed Noah: “Make for yourself” an ark (Gen. 6:14), He prohibited Noah from hiring others to do this work. “Assuming a ‘cubit’ was about eighteen inches long, the vessel was approximately 450 feet long, 75 feet wide, and 45 feet high (v. 15.)”11 The ark is estimated to have been slightly smaller than the size of the Titanic. It was not until 1858 that mankind was able to build a larger boat.12 It is presumed that the massive size of the ark required that Noah spend the entire 120 years building it with his sons. He would have likely endured extensive ridicule during this time period. He might have viewed the same way a person with a sign proclaiming the end of the world is looked upon today as crazy. His children and his wife would have also likely doubted him as well. Yet, by faith, he remained obedient to God in the face of this doubt: “By faith Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household, by which he condemned the world, and became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.” (Heb. 11:7). Likewise, Abram was remembered because his faith led to his obedience in leaving Ur for the Promised Land: “By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going.” (Heb. 11:8). Moses and Aron were likewise remembered for their faith in obeying God: “So Moses and Aaron did it; as the LORD commanded them, thus they did.” (Ex. 7:6). Their faith is an example to all believers. If your faith does not produce obedience or works, it is dead.
Be obedient, even when you are ridiculed. Just like in the days of Noah, being obedient to God will seem crazy to non-believers around you. Some may even ridicule you for believing in God’s Word. Paul faced this type of persecution. He was put in prison. He was beaten and eventually died. Yet, he was never ashamed of God’s Word: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” (Ro. 1:16). Will you be obedient, even when you are mocked?
Have faith that God’s Word is true in your life as well. Like Noah, you are called upon to have faith, even when you do not understand: “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (Heb. 11:1). “for we walk by faith, not by sight—” (2 Cor. 5:7; 2 Cor. 4:18). “For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees?” (Ro. 8:24). Do you have faith in His Word?
Kenneth Mathews, “The New American Commentary: An Exegetical and Theological Exposition of Holy Scripture” Genesis 1-11:26, Vol. 1A, (B&H Publishing Group Nashville Tenn. 1996) p. 329.↩︎
Mathews, p. 337.↩︎
“Neanderthal brains focused on vision and movement leaving less room for social networking”. Science Daily. March 19, 2013.↩︎
Mathews p. 364.↩︎