Image

Noah Found Grace

“But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD” (Gen. 6:8).

God saw that the evil of man’s heart was rampant. God responded with a verdict. The entire human race must be exterminated. “But Noah!” The small words of the Bible many times make the greatest impact. Here is the one exception. “But Noah” is in contrast to an entire civilization of corrupt people. Every living thing in which was breath was about to die. “But Noah!”   Though it is extremely difficult for our human minds to grasp precisely why God would destroy all of mankind, He reserves the right to be God.  His wisdom and the ways that He brings about His justice are beyond us (Rom. 11:33).

God always provides an exemption from judgment. He will always preserve a line of grace. Noah became the recipient of God’s grace. The Hebrew word for “grace” here is “chan,” favor.  There is absolutely no explanation of why Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. God simply chose to set His love upon him. Grace is that which depends entirely upon God. Grace is the work of God on man’s behalf. Grace has absolutely nothing to do with man.  Man can never do anything to earn or deserve God’s favor. But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. That’s it! That’s all we have.

God, through Noah, is going to preserve humanity to fulfill His promise to bring the Seed of the woman into the world (Gen. 3:15).

“These are the records of the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his time; Noah walked with God.” (Gen 6:9)

Noah’s Faith

Noah was “a righteous man.” He was right before God. He had evidently responded to God’s favor by mental attitude faith. He had not been given a right standing with God by anything of his flesh. God responds to faith and faith only  (Heb. 11:6).  Faith is the channel through which one attains a right standing before Him.

“But to the one who does not work but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness.” (Rom. 4:5)

“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)

Noah’s faith was placed in the right object. The object was God’s command to build an ark. By faith Noah built an ark. The ark would preserve the race of human beings through whom God would send His seed into the world. Though Noah did not see the Lord Jesus Christ in that floating barge, He was there nonetheless.

What does it mean that Noah was “blameless in his time”? The King James translates the Hebrew phrase, “perfect in his generations.” This could imply that Noah had not been corrupted by the angelic infiltration of the human race (Gen. 6:1-4). Noah was pure in his physical generations. God preserved the uncorrupted human race that would eventually lead to the Jews. Through them He would come into the world. But it could also mean simply that Noah had found grace in the eyes of the Lord and responded by faith and by living a right lifestyle.

Noah walked (halak – synonym of peripateo in the Greek) with God. Like Enoch, Noah had an intimate relationship with God.  Walk is to “go on continually.” It is a word that points to a quality of life.

“By faith, Noah.” Noah believed God for things that He had never seen before. There was no precedent for the things that happened to him.  He had never heard of a flood! He had never seen rain. He had no idea what an ark was or what it was supposed to do. But Noah believed God!

“Noah became the father of three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth” (Gen. 6:10).

Every member of the human race came from these three people just as the pre-Noachian flood’s generation came from Cain and Seth.

The Corrupt Human Race

“Now the earth was corrupt in the sight of God, and the earth was filled with violence.” (Gen. 6:10).  (See “The Attack of the Angelic Realm.”)

Man is filled continuously with the lusts of the flesh. God knows every thought of every person who has ever lived. He is the only one who does. God judges based on a thorough knowledge of all the facts.

“O Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thought from afar. You scrutinize my path and my lying down, and are intimately acquainted with all my ways. Even before there is a word on my tongue, Behold, O LORD, You know it all. You have enclosed me behind and before, and laid Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is too high, I cannot attain to it.” (Psa. 139:1-6)

The human race was “filled with violence.” “Filled” is a Hebrew word which means to be filled to the brim, to fill to overflowing. There is no room for any more. Matthew 25 explains that the days just prior to the second coming of Jesus Christ will be like the days recorded here.  History is cascading helplessly toward this ultimate end.

“God looked on the earth, and behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way upon the earth. 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. Make for yourself an ark of gopher wood; you shall make the ark with rooms, and shall cover it inside and out with pitch.’” (Gen. 6:10-12)

The word “ark” should be translated “chest,” like a cedar chest.  This boat was to be a barge designed for floating, not a ship meant for sailing.

Kapher

God never judges in any generation without giving adequate information concerning the judgment and providing a way of escape. But He gives only one way to escape. The ark represented the only way to life, the only way to be delivered, the only way of salvation.

Every member of the human race was either going to be in the ark and saved, or off the ark and lost. There would be no other option. There was no “Plan B.

God always allows time for a change of mind.  In this case, he gave the people 120 years to change their minds (Gen. 6:3).  Peter insinuates that Jesus Christ Himself made a proclamation through Noah to that generation (1 Pet. 3:19-20).

God instructed Noah to cover the ark inside and out with pitch.  The “pitch was to keep the water out!  “Pitch” is the Hebrew word “kapher.” We pronounce it “kippur.”  This is the word translated “atonement” or covering.  The people were safe in the ark because of the kapher.

The ark is in many ways a symbol for Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ became our kapher; our covering for sin. Jesus Christ immerses Christians into His body (1 Cor. 12:13).  After being placed into Christ, we are sealed in Him by the Holy Spirit (Eph. 1:13-14). The Holy Spirit becomes our kapher.

“This is how you shall make it: the length of the ark three hundred cubits, its breadth fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits. 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” (Gen. 6:15-16).

I am indebted to Dr. John Whitcomb and Dr. Henry Morris for their excellent work in the book, The Genesis Flood, from which we learn these details of the ark: A cubit is 17.5 inches, therefore the ark was 437.5 feet long, 72.92 feet wide, 43 feet high, and had three decks.  Based upon that size, it would contain 1,400,000 cubic feet. There was room available for 522 standard livestock railroad cars. It would be almost impossible to capsize this huge barge.

One Door

The ark had only one door.  There was only one way in!  God has provided only one way to life, the Lord Jesus Christ. Only by personal faith in Him can we escape death.

“And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but through Me.’” (John. 14:6)

 

Sources

New American Standard Bible

Chester McCalley

The Genesis Flood; John Whitcomb, Henry Morris

Brown, Driver, and Briggs Hebrew Definitions

Bible Knowledge Commentary Old Testament