Today we read about the flood. After chapter 3 the evil one is not mentioned by name but that doesn't mean he isn’t busy. He and his demonic hosts are working overtime to keep the promised redeemer from being born. That was his purpose throughout Old Testament history. He didn't want to have his head crushed by the Savior. Our God is patient and long suffering, but He has set limits. We read that the people He had created were now evil and God was grieved because of His creation. There was one who found favor with God and that was Noah. Noah was righteous. In other words, he had a right relationship with God. Noah was blameless among the people and he walked with God. No doubt there were many who scoffed at Noah and his family. They lived differently because of their faith In God. His grandfather was Methuselah, who lived to be 969 years old. And then there was the ark Noah was building in the side yard of his house. It is possible no one had ever seen rain before this time. And for nearly 100 years Noah warned people about the coming judgement of God. No one listened or cared except for Noah's family.
Noah was righteous, blameless, obedient and he walked with God. God would save Noah and his family while the rest of the things on earth that had breath in them, would perish. Noah was to build an ark; 450 feet long, 75 feet wide, and 45 feet tall. It was to have three decks, one door and windows right under the roof for light and much needed ventilation. This was a HUGE undertaking.
In His sovereign power God brought animals to Noah and his sons and God controlled the animals so they did His bidding. During all this activity Noah was serving God and bearing witness to a sinful world. Noah was 600 years old when the rain began. And it took about 100 years to build the ark. Keep in mind they couldn't run down to Home Depot and buy their supplies. They had to find the trees, cut them down and make the lumber to build the ark. They made the nails and they had to find the pitch to cover the outside of the ark to waterproof it. This was no small feat for a 600-year-old man!
The flood was God's judgement on a wicked world. He opened the floodgates of heaven so that torrential rains would fall, and God also opened the springs of the deep so their water would burst forth as well. There is debate in the scholarly community about the scope of the flood. Some believe it was regional while many others believe it was universal. So here are some thoughts. In Genesis 6:7 God said He would destroy humans from the face of the earth. He also said that every living thing would be destroyed. If the mountains were covered with water to such a depth that the ark could float over them, then the entire planet must have been under water. And, if the flood was only regional, why would God have given a rainbow as a universal sign of His covenant? If the flood was simply a local event much of the world would not have needed or understood the sign God used as a covenant promise to His people. And one more thing...if the flood was regional Noah would not have needed such a big vessel for so many animals. In the 100 years it took Noah and his sons to build the ark they could have moved all the animals to a safer place.
When the waters finally receded and Noah and his family could leave the ark, Noah's first act was to build an altar to worship God. Noah had done all God asked him to do and God had kept His promises to Noah. Like Abel before him, Noah had a heart for God. And like Seth, Noah called on the name of the Lord. The true worship of the Lord had been restored on the earth. God smelled the pleasant aroma of a sacrifice given to Him, something we will see many times in our journey through the Old Testament.
Here too is where we see the first covenant God makes with His people. God told Adam and Eve to be fruitful and multiply and now He tells Noah and his family the same thing...twice. It is from Noah's son Shem’s line that Abraham would be born, along with King David and ultimately Jesus. From that nation would come the redeemer who would crush the head of the evil one. God's promises and plans will not be thwarted by the evil one. God speaks to Noah and his sons, but the words are for all generations to come and every living creature. Remember all of creation was affected when Adam and Eve first sinned. In this covenant promise God promises to never again send a flood to destroy all life on earth. For emphasis God says three times He will ”never again” send flood waters to the earth. This is the first of many covenants God will make with His people. The rainbow is the first sign of a covenant, but it will not be the last. We will see the sign of circumcision in the covenant God makes with Abraham. God promises Abraham land, descendants and blessings. The covenant God makes with Moses establishes God's law...not as a means of salvation but to distinguish Gods people from everyone else. God makes a covenant promise with King David as well. Here God promises a descendant of David will reign on the throne over the people of God.
In Jeremiah 31:31-34 God makes a promise of a new covenant that is unlike any other. We know this covenant as the one made for us in Jesus Christ, His blood shed, and His body broken for us for the forgiveness of our sins. Once again, we see the events of God's early people connected to events much later. And we see the fulfillment of promises and prophecies made long ago. This is how God works. We just need to trust that He will continue to be an active presence in our lives.
In His Grip
Pastor Matt W