Devo Scripture: Genesis 6
Key Verse: “Noah did all that the LORD had commanded him” (Gen. 7:5).
As a farmer’s wife I can’t help but have a love/hate relationship with rain. We need it. Desperately. Our livelihood depends on it. There are times when I beg God for rain and other times when I beg him to make it stop. During the spring and fall (planting and harvest) most of my conversations either begin or end with “If it rains….” Everything from my social life to my meal plan hinders on whether or not it rains. Because if it doesn’t rain my hard working farmer will be out working. So I watch the weather closely. I reacquaint myself with my favorite weather man. And I watch and I plan according to the rain.
It dawned on me this week..Noah had a season of life dictated by rain too…Though his admission was not “if it rains…” but “when it rains…” God told Noah it was going to rain. It had never rained; yet Noah believed God. He believed with his whole heart that it would indeed rain. “By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household” (Heb. 11:7a). God told Noah to build an ark so he did. For quite possibly 75 years he built the ark. Faithfully believing God would fulfill his word. [Sidenote: We don’t know how long it took Noah to build the ark. But Gen. 6:18 indicates Noah’s boys were already grown and married when Noah received his instructions. The flood began when Noah was 600 years old and his first son was born when he was 500 years old (Gen. 5:32).]
I wonder if he had days he didn’t feel like building? He kept on. I wonder how many jabs and sneers were thrown at him over 75 years? He kept on. I wonder how much his boys helped? Did they ever encourage him to try his hand at something else? He kept on. Was Noah’s wife supportive? Did she approve of using their savings for such a task? No matter, he kept on. And Noah “did all that God commanded him” (6:22).
God told Noah to make the ark out of gopher wood, so he did. God told Noah to make it 300 cubits long (450 ft or approx. 1 ½ football fields), so he did. God said make it with three decks, so he did. God said to make rooms (the Hebrew word for rooms = nests) in the ark, so he did. God said cover the ark inside and out with pitch (a covering to seal out the water), so he did. God said put a door in the side of the ark, so he did. God said make the roof a cubit (18 in.) above so there could be ventilation at the top, so he did. He did all of it just as God commanded.
He didn’t say, “That sounds too hard Lord. I think I’ll do it my way.” He didn’t say, “Maybe tomorrow.” He didn’t say, “I’m busy right now.” He didn’t say, “I don’t feel like it.” He did it. He faithfully did all that God commanded him to do. Do I? Do you? Do we faithfully do what God has commanded? Or are we too busy? Too tired? Is it too hard? Oh that we would be like Noah and do all that God commands of us! That we would listen and obey. That our faith would be expressed through action. “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?” “But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” “Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that God is one: you do well. Even the demons believe – and shudder!” (James 2:14, 18-19) Absolutely we are saved by grace alone through faith, and not by works. But Scripture says (not me), “For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead” (James 2:26).
Noah’s willingness to do all that God commanded was evidence of his faith. “By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith” (Heb. 11:7b). Noah proved his faith by his works. I find it fascinating that Noah “is the only major figure involved in an extended biblical event to whom no words are attributed in the course of that event. The point is that his obedience was expressed by his action.
Noah believed and obeyed God at a time in history when no one believed or obeyed. The earth was filled with violence (6:11) but that didn’t stop him. The Nephilim (Greek = giants; Original Hebrew = fallen ones) were on the earth, but that didn’t stop him. The intentions of man were only evil continually, but that didn’t stop him. Did Noah fear what man might do to him? Maybe. But he feared God more. In fact 2 Peter 2:5 tells us Noah not only built the ark but preached to the people while he did it!
Who did Noah preach to? His neighbors? Or did people come from far and away to see the crazy man building a humongous boat on a bunch of dirt? I wonder too if Noah employed workers to help? If so, what of them? To build the ark but refuse to step inside. To know the truth yet reject it. To place the nails; then walk away day after day. To have salvation right before them yet refuse it. To be so close yet perish on the day of judgment. My friends, don’t let that be you. Christ is our ark of salvation. Christ is the only way to Heaven (Jn. 10:9). You helped place the nails. Don’t walk away. Don’t be caught off guard. “For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man” (Matthew 24:37-39).
Judgment is coming. Jesus is returning. There is no doubt about that. He waits because he desires that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). But he will not wait forever. Judgment will come though many scoff at the idea. “They deliberately forget that God made the heavens by the word of his command, and he brought the earth out from the water and surrounded it with water. Then he used the water to destroy the ancient world with a mighty flood. And by the same word, the present heavens and earth have been stored up for fire. They are being kept for the day of judgment, when ungodly people will be destroyed” (2 Peter 3:5-7, NLT). Judgment is coming, only this time it won’t be rain.
So what should we do? We should live out our days as though judgment is coming! Noah certainly did. There was no doubting what he believed! It was evident. My friends, let us heed Noah’s example. May there be no doubt what we believe. Judgment is coming…let’s make it evident by the life that we life; faithfully obedient to the word of God.
Contemplate and Evaluate:
Do Christians today live as though judgment is coming?
How’s your obedience to all that God commands? Do your walk and words demonstrate your faith?
What has God commanded you to specifically do? Are you doing it?
A Little Something Extra: The first four verses of Genesis 6 are highly debated among scholars. The question in dispute hinders on “Who are the sons of God and the Nephilim?” I will tell you up front…we don’t know. And I will not pretend to know (though I do hold an opinion). Here are a few theories:
- The sons of God are Seth’s godly line who intermarry with Cain’s descendants (the daughter’s of men).
- The sons of God were the kings of the earth during those early years who had polygamous relationships with women.
- The sons of God were angels (fallen angels) who overstepped their bounds by taking possession of human bodies to have sexual relations with the daughters of men. Scholars who hold to this theory use 1 Peter 3:19-20, 2 Peter 2:4-5, and Jude 5-6 to support their view. The term sons of God is also used in Job 1:6 and 2:1 to refer to angels.
Some say the Nephilim were thus the offspring of the demonized marriages. While others say they were simply giants based on Numbers 13:33.
Though this portion of Scripture is not perfectly clear there is one thing we can definitely take away: Sexual sin was no doubt a part of the intense corruption on the earth prior to the flood.