“The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the LORD regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. So the LORD said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them.” But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD. These are the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God. ” Genesis 6:5-8
What an introduction—”Noah walked with God.” In a time when evil was so rampant that the Lord’s course of action was to “blot out man” from the face of the earth, Noah is one who finds favor because he is the one who has walked with God. So much so, in fact, God tells Noah what He is going to do and how He will rescue Noah and his family from the planned destruction.
“For behold, I will bring a flood of waters upon the earth to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life under heaven. Everything that is on the earth shall die. But I will establish my covenant with you, and you shall come into the ark, you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you.” Genesis 6:17-18
But that rescue wouldn’t come easily—it actually required A LOT of work. Build an ark? Because water would do what? Two of each kind of animal? Wait, seven of each kind? Can you imagine taking down measurements for a structure you’re entirely unfamiliar with? From God Himself?!
Here’s the thing, though: Noah was obedient. “As God commanded” is a phrase repeated 4 times in the span of just a couple of chapters. (Gen. 6:22, Gen. 7:5,9,16) He followed every instruction. He believed everything that God said was true. Oh, that my obedience would be so simple and complete! Instead, I am easily entangled by the enemy’s lies, just like the original Eve—not believing what God has said is true, and believing that He must be holding out on me in some way. Not Noah. Noah did all that the Lord commanded.
He did all that was commanded even when it must have seemed crazy. Noah’s obedience wasn’t easy. I’m sure it didn’t “make sense” to the culture around him, either, but the taunts of the world did not stop his faithfulness to the task. In Hebrews 11:7 it says,
“By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.”
Is the Lord asking you to be obedient in something that’s just really hard? Staying in a marriage when your spouse isn’t a believer? Waiting for a spouse and honoring God as you do it? Moving to a new place without a long-term plan? Waiting for a baby and not growing bitter? Working in a difficult job because you know He’s called you to it? There is a myriad of seasons and situations the Lord calls us to, each with unique circumstances and nuances, but all with a call to obedience. Even when it’s hard.
Just as God said it would, the floods came and all the earth was destroyed, except for Noah, his wife, and his three sons and their wives. God rescued Noah. I find this reality to be incredibly encouraging. Even when the world is literally full of evil, but there are eight people that find favor with God, He rescues them. Eight people. He didn’t just let them die with the rest of the world, choosing to only focus on what came next. He rescued those who had been counted righteous! Let this be a reminder to our own feeble hearts when the world seems dark—God will rescue His people.
What’s crazy is that Noah’s obedience, and even his rescue, was just the beginning! After obedience came the waiting. Waiting for the rain to stop (40 days), waiting for the water to abate (150 days), waiting to send out a raven to see if the water had gone down enough for life to once again be sustained (40 days), waiting to send out a dove because the raven hadn’t found anything (7 days), waiting to send the dove a second time (7 days), and waiting to leave the ark (roughly two more months). Waiting, waiting, waiting. Noah’s full deliverance wasn’t immediate. Just like He did with Noah and his family, God has a plan for our rescue, our deliverance. If I was Noah I would have been ready to get off that boat as soon as the rain ended. I don’t know about you, but forty days and forty nights seem sufficient. Let’s wrap this little incident up and move on to what’s next! But that wasn’t the plan.
It reminds me a little bit of sanctification. We are rescued from sin and death when we put our faith in Jesus and His sacrifice, but that’s not the end of the story—it’s just the beginning! There will be lots of waiting before perfection in the presence of our Savior. Lots of asking. Lots of waiting. Noah’s full deliverance wasn’t immediate and neither is ours.
My prayer is that today you see the story of Noah with fresh eyes and rest in the faithfulness of God. He is the same yesterday as He is today, and will be forever. Amen.