Today I’m reading about Noah, a man who faced far more ridicule for his actions. In his day, no one had seen a deluge of rain nor a floating box called an ark. Not only that, Noah worked on this project for one hundred and twenty years, even though his neighbors mocked him and laughed at what seemed like total foolishness.
God didn’t laugh. 1 Peter 3:20 says that He “waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water.”
This Bible account is sometimes called a myth because other cultures have “flood” stories, but those retellings actually support the account, as do the layers of sea shells found in mountain ranges and other places where there has never been an ocean. The flood happened and it is an illustration of God’s judgment on sin and God’s power to save those who believe what He says.
God said to Noah, “The end of all flesh has come before Me, for the earth is filled with violence through them; and behold, I will destroy them with the earth. Make yourself an ark of gopherwood; make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and outside with pitch. And this is how you shall make it: the length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, its width fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits. You shall make a window for the ark, and you shall finish it to a cubit from above; and set the door of the ark in its side. You shall make it with lower, second, and third decks. And behold, I Myself am bringing floodwaters on the earth, to destroy from under heaven all flesh in which is the breath of life; everything that is on the earth shall die. But I will establish My covenant with you; and you shall go into the ark—you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you. And of every living thing of all flesh you shall bring two of every sort into the ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female. (Genesis 6:13-19)Besides the spiritual implications of this historical event, this account has some interesting twists. One is that someone reading it realized that “pitch” had to signify oil, and because of that, oil exploration began in the middle east.
Note also the size of the boat. People have laughed that no boat could hold every species, but this craft was the size of a modern ocean liner. Further, someone did the math and discovered that this boat not only had room for all the animals and those eight people, but also the food and fresh water they would need for their time in it. (Click here for photo!)
More importantly though, Noah provides an example of what it means to trust God. Faith is never passive. It is demonstrated by a believer’s life, just as it was demonstrated by the life of Noah. He totally trusted God, so he did everything that God commanded him. Hebrews 11:7 says that, “By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.”
God may never ask me to do something as grand as building a boat in my landlocked province, but every day brings challenges to my faith. I’m encouraged by a man who lived several thousand years ago. No matter the opposition or the difficulties that confronted him, Noah lived by faith and because of it was a condemnation to the sin around him. He also received the righteousness that God gives to those who trust Him. The bottom line is that Noah actually was saved by faith, not just a large, wooden ark.