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Noah and God's Judgment and Faithfulness

In our study of the Holy Scriptures, we have already seen that, in the beginning, when God created the world, everything was good.  However, when our ancestor Adam disobeyed God, evil entered the world through him and spread to all men. Truly, this nature of ours to do evil is called sin and is like a disease that is not confined to the one from whom it originates!    In this lesson we will begin to learn about another man who walked with God in a crooked and depraved era. This person is the prophet Noah {Noh in Arabic}.  Noah, belonged to the tenth generation after Adam. When Noah was five hundred years old, he became the father of his three sons - Shem, Ham and Japheth.  Scripture teaches us that in early times, people lived to be older than we do today. 

The study concerning Noah will be of great value to us, because the days of Noah were similar to the times in which we live today. In the time of Noah, the world was filled to the brim with sin. The Scriptures say that "the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time." (Taurat - Gen. 6:5) The hearts of the children of Adam were filled with evil thoughts, greed, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance, strife, fighting, adultery, theft, murder, and folly (based on Injeel - Mark 7:21,22). Men were ruining the world which God had created for them. Many had religion, but it was merely for show. Fleshly pleasure was their god, and their sins just kept piling up!  Read what the Scripture says in the Torah {Taurat in Arabic}, the book of Genesis, chapter six:

(Taurat - Gen. 6) 3Then the Lord said, "My Spirit will not contend with man forever, for he is mortal; his days will be a hundred and twenty years." 5The Lord saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. 6The Lord was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain. 7So the Lord said, "I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth, men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air, for I am grieved that I have made them."

Thus we see how God purposed to wipe out the descendants of Adam from the earth because of their wickedness. However, we also see how God, in His mercy, intended to be patient with sinners for another 120 years to give them time to repent, so that they might not perish. However, when that limit was reached, God would judge everyone who refused to repent and accept His way of righteousness.  There is something we can learn about the character of God, from that limit of 120 years. It is this: God is very patient, but His patience has a limit! He will speak and strive with man so that he might repent, but not forever. That is why in the time of Noah, God said, "My Spirit will not contend with man forever. His days will be a hundred and twenty years." Thus we see how God planned to be patient with sinners for a time and then judge them if they refused to repent. In this, we can observe two characteristics of God: His patience and His wrath. God is good and can be very patient; but He is also righteous and can get very angry.  This is who God is, it is His very nature!

Some think of God as one who hovers over them with a big stick, as though God is quick to anger and takes pleasure in hitting and hurting people. But God is not like that. Others think that God is never angry and will merely forgive and forget the sins of people. "God is good! God is good!" is all they know. But God is not like that either. The Holy Scriptures tell us the truth concerning the character of God. God is good and righteous! He can be patient and angry. His goodness and His mercy are why He is patient with sinners, but His righteousness and His holiness are why He is also angry with their sins. God is a Savior and a Judge. The prophets of God wrote a great deal about the patience and wrath of God. Let us read some of their words. The Scriptures say:

"But do not forget this one thing: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief." (Injeel - 2 Pet. 3:8-10) "The Lord will judge his people. It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God…. See to it [therefore] that you do not refuse Him who speaks…for our God is a consuming fire!" (Injeel - Heb. 10:30,31; 12:25,29)

In the Psalms {Zabur in Arabic} we read: "God is a righteous judge, a God who expresses his wrath every day [toward the sinner who] does not relent." (Psa. 7:11,12).   In the Injeel it is written:

"The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress thetruth by their wickedness …[God will judge them and His] judgment…is based on truth. You then …do you think you will escape God's judgment? Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness leads you toward repentance? But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God's wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. God will give to each person according to what he has done." (Injeel - Rom. 1:18; 2:2-6)

The wrath of God is not like the wrath of man. Man can become very angry, but his anger will diminish little by little until he may even forget what made him angry in the first place. The anger of God is not like that! The passing of time does not cause God's anger to diminish. God is a righteous Judge and He does not forget.  His anger does not diminish toward those who refuse to repent! This is what we just finished reading in the Scriptures: "Because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God's wrath."   The people of Noah's time were "storing up" for themselves the wrath of God! However, there remained one man at that time who loved God with all his heart, and believed God's word. That man was Noah. Thus the Scriptures say: "But Noah found favor (grace) in the eyes of the Lord. Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God." (Taurat - Gen. 6:8,9)

Why did God show Noah His grace? Did Noah merit the grace of God? No! Grace which is merited is no longer grace. Grace means "unmerited favor." Why did God extend His grace to Noah and not to the others? What does the Scripture say about that? It tells us that Noah believed God, while the others did not believe Him. Noah believed the word of God. He believed what God promised concerning the Redeemer who was to come into the world to save sinners. Like all of Adam's descendants, Noah had sin in him, but God counted Noah as a righteous person because he believed God and offered Him the blood of a sacrifice for his sin, as God had commanded. Thus, the Scriptures say "Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time."  One day God said to Noah:

(Taurat - Gen. 6) 13"I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth. 14So make yourself an ark of cypress wood; make rooms in it and coat it with pitch inside and out. 15This is how you are to build it: The ark is to be 150 meters long, 25 meters wide and 15 meters high. 16Make a roof for it…Put a door in the side of the ark and make lower, middle and upper decks. 17I am going to bring floodwaters on the earth to destroy all life under the heavens, every creature that has the breath of life in it. Everything on earth will perish. 18But I will establish my covenant with you, and you will enter the ark, you and your sons and your wife and your sons' wives with you. 19You are to bring into the ark two of all living creatures, male and female, to keep them alive with you… 21You are to take every kind of food that is to be eaten and store it away as food for you and for them."

Thus God told Noah how he planned to bring floodwaters on the earth to destroy everyone who refused to repent and believe the truth. God told Noah to build a large ark (boat) to escape the flood. The length of the ark had to be 150 meters; the length of one and a half soccer fields. It would be a refuge for Noah and his family and many animals and anyone else who would believe God's Word. God ordered Noah to make many rooms on the inside of the ark, but only one door on the outside of the ark. Thus, God's message for the people of Noah's time was this: Anyone who wishes to escape the judgment of the flood must pass through the one door of the ark. Every person who passes through the door will be saved. Those who do not pass through the door will perish!

So Noah started to build the ark. It was a huge task. Noah and his three sons had to chop down hundreds and hundreds of large trees, cut them into planks, shape and nail them, and coat them with tar inside and out. Noah's wife and his son's wives also helped them in that hard work. For one hundred years, day after day, Noah and his family worked on building the ark. But Noah did not limit his activity to merely building. He also preached to the people of his day. Perhaps he said something like this: "Listen! The Lord has told me to warn you of His wrath! God's anger boils because of your sin! He has decided to bring a flood on the earth to destroy everyone who refuses to repent. However, I make known to you good news! God, in His mercy, has ordered me to build an ark to be a refuge for anyone who repents of their sin and believes the word of God!" Thus Noah warned the people with many words, and urged them to turn from the evil ways of their corrupt generation.  Did the people of Noah's time repent of their sins and believe the word which God announced to them through His prophet? What do you think? Among the thousands and thousands of children of Adam who were upon the earth, how many of them repented and believed God enough to enter the ark? The Scriptures reply: "Only a few people, eight in all, were saved…" (Injeel - 1 Pet. 3:20)

How many people believed God? Only eight: Noah and his wife, all of their three sons and their wives. All the others did not believe the word of God. Some simply ignored Noah's preaching, while others mocked him. They thought he was crazy because of the boat he was building in a place where there was no water. The people may have mocked Noah like this: "Hey you guys! Come see this fellow who is building a huge boat out here in the wilderness! Noah must be insane! Floodwaters here in the desert? Impossible! Besides, God is good; He wouldn't destroy the people He has created! You're crazy, Noah!" However, Noah ignored their insults because he believed what God had said. He continued right on constructing the ark and preaching, saying, "Repent! God is going to judge the world in righteousness! Why do you refuse to believe the word of God? Why do you want to perish?"

Finally the day came when Noah and his family finished building the ark. In the last verse of the sixth chapter of the book of Genesis we read: "Noah did everything just as God commanded him." (Taurat - Gen. 6:22) The boat was ready. Everything was complete. Only one thing remained: Noah and his family needed to enter the ark. One more time, we can hear Noah trying to convince the people: "Listen to God! Repent and believe His word! The flood is soon to come! Enter the ark while there is still time! The door is open! Whoever passes through it will be saved. But if you refuse to enter, how will you escape the judgment of God?" Thus, Noah earnestly warned the people. But they would not listen.  Consequently, the Scriptures say:

(Taurat - Gen. 7) 1The Lord then said to Noah, "Go into the ark, you and your whole family, because I have found you righteous in this generation. 2Take with you seven of every kind of clean animal, a male and its mate, and two of every kind of unclean animal, a male and its mate, 3and also seven of every kind of bird, male and female, to keep their various kinds alive throughout the earth. 4Seven days from now I will send rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights, and I will wipe from the face of the earth every living creature I have made." 5And Noah did all that the Lord commanded him.

Why did Noah and his family enter the ark? Because they saw a cloudy sky?  Because they smelled the coming rain?  No! A clear sky is all they saw when they entered the ark. Why then did they go in? There is only one reason. They entered because they believed what God had said. Perhaps there were those outside who thought: "I also believe God, but I am not going to go inside that ark! I believe in God, but I cannot accept Noah's preaching!" What can we say about those people? We can say that they did not really believe God, because they did not believe what God testified through His prophet. They refused to repent of their sins and they refused to accept the way of escape which God had provided for them through Noah. They may have honored God with their lips, but their hearts were far, far from Him.  Thus, the Scriptures say:

"And Noah and his sons and his wife and his sons' wives entered the ark to escape the waters of the flood. Pairs of clean and unclean animals, of birds and of all creatures that move along the ground, male and female, came to Noah and entered the ark, as God had commanded Noah…. Then the Lord shut him in." (Taurat - Gen. 7:7-9,16)

Did you read what God did after Noah and his family entered the ark? The Scriptures say,"The Lord shut them in!"The day of God's wrath had arrived. God had been patient with the people of that generation for a long time, but now His patience had run out! Only His wrath remained. God had closed the door; and when God closes the door, no one can open it.  Thus, God brought the floodwaters on the earth just as He had promised. The sky began to darken; the wind began to blow. There were clouds and thunder and lightning and earthquakes. Now the children of Adam were trembling with fear. When everything was peaceful, it had been so easy for them to challenge God with insulting words and works. But now that the judgment of God had begun to descend upon them, their mouths were shut! The hour for them to face God's righteous judgment had arrived and there was no longer anywhere to hide!

A heavy rain fell, the deep springs of the earth gushed forth water, the oceans and rivers overflowed, resulting in a great flood. Torrents of water surged into every town and village. Those who were not immediately swept away fled in terror, seeking higher ground. Those who had mocked Noah and rejected the word of God, now knew that what God had said through His prophet was the truth. However, this knowledge was of no benefit to them because now the opportunity to repent was gone; the period of salvation was past. Perhaps some were calling to Noah, shouting out, "Noah! Noah! Open the door! Noah, help us! Save us! We believe you Noah! You were right! We believe! We believe!" But it was too late. God had closed the door. The day of salvation was past. The day of judgment had come. Praying, weeping, beating on the door, even knowing the truth--nothing could change the mind of God. When God closes the door of salvation, no one can open it.   Thus, the Scriptures tell us that for forty days there was a continual downpour of rain and constant flooding until even the mountains were covered. But the ark floated on top of the water.

"Every living thing that moved on the earth perished. Every living thing on the face of the earth was wiped out; men and animals and the creatures that move along the ground and the birds of the air were wiped from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those with him in the ark." (Taurat - Gen. 7:21,23)

Did God do what He had promised to do? Of course! Did He judge those sinners who refused to repent? He surely did! He judged everyone who was not in the ark, just as He had said He would do.   There is an important lesson God wants to teach us through the story of the judgment of the great flood. It is this: God has planned another day when He will judge the people of the world. And that coming Day of Judgment will be even more terrible than the judgment which came upon Noah's generation!  Read what one of God's prophets declares concerning that final day of judgment. He writes:

"Then I saw a great white throne and Him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from His presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire." (Injeel - Rev. 20:11-12,15)

Are you confident as you consider that fearful day of judgment? Is your name written in the book of eternal life? Have you passed through the door of salvation which God has opened? The Word of God says: "Now is the time of God's favor, now is the day of salvation." (Injeel - 2 Cor. 6:2) We read how God patiently appealed to the people of Noah's day to repent, believe and be saved, but in the end, He closed the door of salvation. Whoever refused to enter through the door of the ark faced God's fierce judgment.   Concerning that coming Day of Judgment when God will judge the world in righteousness, the Scriptures say: "The day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, 'Peace and safety', destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape!" (Injeel - 1 Thes. 5:2,3) No one shall escape in that day, except those who have passed through the door of salvation which God has opened for the children of Adam.

Do you know about the Door that God has opened for sinners? Do you know the way of escape that God has provided for you? Who escaped the judgment of the flood in Noah's day? Only those who went through the door of the ark! Similarly, concerning the coming judgment day, the Scriptures clearly show us that God has provided only one door of salvation for the sinful children of Adam. Do you know about that door of salvation? Then read these sure words spoken by the holy Mediator whom God sent into the world. He said: "I am the [Door]; whoever enters through me will be saved!" (Injeel - John 10:9) "I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not [come into judgment]!" (Injeel - John 5:24)

Do think about this weighty question found in His Word: "How shall we escape, if we ignore such a great salvation?" (Injeel - Heb. 2:3)

Those who had mocked Noah and rejected God's word, now knew the truth. But now it was too late! The time of salvation was past. God had shut the door.  For forty days and nights rain poured down from the sky and springs gushed up from the earth until even the mountains were covered. But the ark floated on top of the water.  Thus, the Scripture records that God carried out the judgment just as He had promised. Everyone outside the ark perished. God is faithful to keep His word.  What happened to those inside the ark? Did God forget Noah and his family? God, who feeds the birds of the air, and not one of them falls to the earth except that He wills it, did not forget them. Let us read what is written in the book of Genesis in chapter eight. The Scriptures say:

"But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and the livestock that were with him in the ark, and he sent a wind over the earth, and the waters receded …And on the seventeenth day of the seventh month the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat." (Taurat - Gen. 8:1,4)

Thus we see that God remembered Noah and those who were with him inside the ark. He sent a wind to blow over the earth so that the waters would recede. God guided the ark so that it came to rest on a high mountain named Ararat. After Noah and his family had been in the ark for one year and a week, much of the water which had covered the earth had dried up. Thus God said to Noah, "Leave the ark, you and your wife, your sons and their wives." So Noah and his family went out of the ark, as did all the animals. When he had gone out, he built an altar, took some of the clean animals and birds and offered them to the Lord on the altar as a burnt offering.

Did you read what Noah first did after he left the ark? He sacrificed some innocent animals, burning them on an altar he built. God had not abolished His law which stated: "Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin." (Injeel - Heb. 9:22) While the great flood destroyed most of the sinners from off the face of the earth, it did not destroy the root of sin that remained in the hearts of the children of Adam. That is why Noah and his descendants had to continue offering to God sacrifices for sin. As we have seen, such animal sacrifices were the foundation of the way of salvation that God had decreed. The sacrifices that our ancestors slaughtered in early times, symbolized {illustrated} the Redeemer who was to come and shed His own blood to pay the debt of sin for Adam's descendants. That is why, when Noah left the ark, the first thing he did was to shed animal blood, thus showing his children and grandchildren that the laws of God had not changed-that "the wages of sin is death" (Injeel - Rom. 6:23) and "without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin." (Injeel - Heb. 9:22).   Thus, the Scriptures say:

"The Lord smelled the pleasing aroma (of the sacrifice)…Then God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them, 'Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth…I now establish my covenant with you and with your descendants after you…Never again will all life be cut off by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth…This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life." (Taurat - Gen. 8:21; 9:1,9,11-15)

In these verses we have just read, there is a word which God repeated five times to Noah. Did you notice it? The word is "covenant." In the Word of God, a covenant is a special promise made by God to man. God is the Keeper of covenants. God is faithful, and He wants to show forth His faithfulness to the sons of Adam! That is why, in His goodness, He established a covenant with Noah and those who descended from Him saying, "Never again will all life be cut off by the waters of a flood." That is what God promised. And He did not limit His promise to mere words, but He confirmed it by putting His rainbow in the clouds.  Did you know that the beautiful rainbow that we see sometimes in the clouds after it has rained is a sign which declares the faithfulness of God?  Every time we see a rainbow in the clouds, God wants to remind us of His faithfulness that endures from generation to generation. God put the rainbow in the clouds to confirm His covenant in which He promised that the waters will never again become a flood to destroy all life. Truly, God is the Keeper of covenants! He is faithful!

Concerning the rest of Noah's life, there are other events of which you can read them for yourselves, however, in the Taurat, the book of Genesis, chapter nine. You will see that after the flood, Noah lived another 350 years, and when he was very old he went to be with the Lord on high.  In summary, perhaps we can conclude our discussion about God's prophet, Noah, with a question or two. What was the difference between Noah and the people of his time? What did Noah do to please God? He did simply one thing. Noah believed the word of God. That is why Noah did not perish with the people of his generation. Read what God Himself has testified about Noah:

"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." But "without faith it is impossible to please God." (Injeel - Heb 11:7,6)

Before we complete our study on prophet Noah, there are two thoughts which we must keep in our minds. We just considered the first of these two thoughts. What made Noah pleasing to God? His faith. Noah believed God; he believed what God said. Noah had confidence in the Lord and obeyed His word even when all others around him rejected it. It was Noah's faith that caused God to deliver him from the evil generation in which he lived. You who are reading, do you truly believe what God has said? God's will for each of us is that we believe His Word as Noah did.

The second thing we must understand and remember from the story of Noah is even more important than Noah's faith. Do you know what it is? It is God's faithfulness. Why is God's faithfulness more important than Noah's faith? Because if God was not faithful to keep His covenants and promises, the faith that Noah had in Him would be of no benefit. We all know what happens when we put our trust in someone who does not keep his promise. Suppose you have a friend who promises you: "Tomorrow I will bring you dinner." You believe him; you have faith in him. What happens if he does not bring it? You will be disappointed (and perhaps hungry!). The faith that you had in your friend was worthless. Why? Because your friend did not do what he had promised. You trusted someone who was unfaithful.  It is not like that with God. The Scriptures say:

"If we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself." (Injeel - 2 Tim. 2:13) "For, all men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever…. and the one who trusts in him will [not be disappointed!]" (Injeel - 1 Pet. 1:24,25; 2:6) Yes, "God is faithful!" (Injeel - 1 Cor. 1:9)

He will do what He has promised!  In the story of Noah we clearly see how God did everything that He promised. We read how God saved everyone who was inside the ark and judged everyone who was outside, just as He had promised. We also read how God forgave Noah his sins because he offered up the blood of an animal as a sacrifice, just as God had told him to do. And we learned how God placed His rainbow in the clouds so that Noah and all people would not forget that "God is faithful!"  If you should forget everything we have discussed in this study, remember this one thing: God is Faithful! He cannot go back on His Word. He does what He promises, even if it seems He is slow in doing so. "God is faithful…. and the one who trusts in Him will never be put to shame." (Injeel - 1 Cor. 1:9; 1 Pet. 2:6) Let us then believe Him and accept His Word with humility. And may we benefit from the story of the prophet Noah and the great flood--by imitating Noah who believed the Word of God when everyone around him refused to believe it and were destroyed.

God bless you as you remember this truth from His Word:

"The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. But [the day of God's judgment] will come like a thief." (Injeel - 2 Pet. 3:9,10)

"God is faithful…. and the one who trusts in Him will never be put to shame." (Injeel - 1 Cor. 1:9; 1 Pet. 2:6)

 

** This teaching from the Scriptures is a compilation of Lessons 13, 14 and 15 from “The Way of Righteousness” by Paul Bramsen.    Posted here by permission of copyright holder – Paul Bramsen.

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