[Lesson 13: The Prophet Noah: God's Patience & Wrath] [Table of Contents] [Lesson 15: Noah & the Faithfulness of God]
Noah and the Great Flood
Peace be with you, listening friends. We greet you in the name of God, the Lord of peace, who wants everyone to understand and submit to the way of righteousness that He has established, and have true peace with Him forever. We are happy to be able to return today to present your program The Way of Righteousness.
In our last program we began to look at the fascinating story of the prophet Noah who was born ten generations after Adam. In a corrupt and depraved era, Noah walked with God. We saw how the Lord was grieved in His heart because of the sins of Adam's descendants. The Scriptures say that "man's wickedness on the earth had become great, and every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time." (Gen. 6:5) That is why God, in His holy wrath, planned to wipe (unrepentant) sinners from off the face of the earth.
However, God's grace was with Noah, because Noah loved God and believed His word. Thus, one day God said to Noah: I have purposed the death of all mankind because the earth is filled with wickedness. I will bring a great flood upon the earth, to destroy everything which lives under the heavens. As for you, you are to build a large ark (boat) to be a refuge for you and your family.
For one hundred years, Noah and his family worked to construct that large ark. But Noah did not limit his work merely to building the ark. He also preached to the people around him, saying: Repent of your sins then and return to God! God, the Righteous One, will judge the world!
Did the people of Noah's time repent of their sins and believe the word which God announced to them through His prophet? What do you think? Among the thousands and thousands of children of Adam who were upon the earth, how many of them repented and believed God enough to enter the ark? The Scriptures reply: "Only a few people, eight in all, were saved…" (1 Pet. 3:20)
How many people believed God? Only eight: Noah and his wife, their three sons and their wives. All the others did not believe the word of God. Some simply ignored Noah's preaching, while others mocked him. They thought he was crazy because of the boat he was building in a place where there was no water. The people may have mocked Noah like this: "Hey you guys! Come see this fellow who is building a huge boat out here in the wilderness! Noah must be insane! Floodwaters here in the desert? Impossible! Besides, God is good; He wouldn't destroy the people He has created! You're crazy, Noah!" However, Noah ignored their insults because he believed what God had said. He continued right on constructing the ark and preaching, saying, "Repent! God is going to judge the world in righteousness! Why do you refuse to believe the word of God? Why do you want to perish?"
Finally the day came when Noah and his family finished building the ark. In the last verse of the sixth chapter of the book of Genesis we read: "Noah did everything just as God commanded him." (Gen. 6:22) The boat was ready. Everything was complete. Only one thing remained: Noah and his family needed to enter the ark. One more time, we can hear Noah trying to convince the people: "Listen to God! Repent and believe His word! The flood is soon to come! Enter the ark while there is still time! The door is open! Whoever passes through it will be saved. But if you refuse to enter, how will you escape the judgment of God?" Thus, Noah earnestly warned the people. But they would not listen.
Consequently, in chapter seven, the Scriptures say:
(Gen. 7) 1The Lord then said to Noah, "Go into the ark, you and your whole family, because I have found you righteous in this generation. 2Take with you seven of every kind of clean animal, a male and its mate, and two of every kind of unclean animal, a male and its mate, 3and also seven of every kind of bird, male and female, to keep their various kinds alive throughout the earth. 4Seven days from now I will send rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights, and I will wipe from the face of the earth every living creature I have made." 5And Noah did all that the Lord commanded him.
Why did Noah and his family enter the ark? Because they saw a cloudy sky? Because they smelled the coming rain? No! A clear sky is all they saw when they entered the ark. Why then did they go in? There is only one reason. They entered because they believed what God had said. Perhaps there were those outside who thought: "I also believe God, but I am not going to go inside that ark! I believe in God, but I cannot accept Noah's preaching!" What can we say about those people? We can say that they did not really believe God, because they did not believe what God testified through His prophet. They refused to repent of their sins and they refused to accept the way of escape which God had provided for them through Noah. They may have honored God with their lips, but their hearts were far, far from Him.
Thus, the Scriptures say:
"And Noah and his sons and his wife and his sons' wives entered the ark to escape the waters of the flood. Pairs of clean and unclean animals, of birds and of all creatures that move along the ground, male and female, came to Noah and entered the ark, as God had commanded Noah…. Then the Lord shut him in." (Gen. 7:7-9,16)
Did you hear what God did after Noah and his family entered the ark? The Scriptures say, "The Lord shut them in!" The day of God's great anger had arrived. God had been patient with the people of that generation for a long time, but now His patience had run out! Only His wrath remained. God had closed the door; and when God closes the door, no one can open it.
Thus, God brought the floodwaters on the earth just as He had promised. The sky began to darken; the wind began to blow. There were clouds and thunder and lightning and earthquakes. Now the children of Adam were trembling with fear. When everything was peaceful, it had been so easy for them to challenge God with insulting words and works. But now that the judgment of God had begun to descend upon them, their mouths were shut! The hour for them to face God's righteous judgment had arrived and there was no longer anywhere to hide!
A heavy rain fell, the deep springs of the earth gushed forth water, the oceans and rivers overflowed, resulting in a great flood. Torrents of water surged into every town and village. Those who were not immediately swept away fled in terror, seeking higher ground. Those who had mocked Noah and rejected the word of God, now knew that what God had said through His prophet was the truth. However, this knowledge was of no benefit to them because now the opportunity to repent was gone; the period of salvation was past. Perhaps some were calling to Noah, shouting out, "Noah! Noah! Open the door! Noah, help us! Save us! We believe you Noah! You were right! We believe! We believe!" But it was to late. God had closed the door. The day of salvation was past. The day of judgment had come. Praying, weeping, beating on the door, even knowing the truth--nothing could change the mind of God. When God closes the door of salvation, no one can open it.
Thus, the Scriptures tell us that for forty days there was a continual downpour of rain and constant flooding until even the mountains were covered. But the ark floated on top of the water.
"Every living thing that moved on the earth perished. Every living thing on the face of the earth was wiped out; men and animals and the creatures that move along the ground and the birds of the air were wiped from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those with him in the ark." (Gen. 7:21,23)
Did God do what He had promised to do? Of course! Did He judge those sinners who refused to repent? He surely did! He judged everyone who was not in the ark, just as He had said He would do.
Fellow listeners, this is where we must stop today in the story of Noah. God willing, in our next program, we will conclude this story to see what happened to Noah and his family in the ark. However, before we bid you farewell today, there is an important lesson God wants to teach us through the story of the judgment of the great flood. It is this: God has planned another day when He will judge the people of the world. And that coming Day of Judgment will be even more terrible than the judgment which came upon Noah's generation!
Listen to what one of God's prophets declares concerning that final day of judgment. He writes:
"Then I saw a great white throne and Him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from His presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire." (Rev. 20:11-12,15)
Listening friend, are you confident as you contemplate that fearful day of judgment? Is your name written in the book of eternal life? Have you passed through the door of salvation which God has opened? The Word of God says: "Now is the time of God's favor, now is the day of salvation." (2 Cor. 6:2) We saw how God patiently appealed to the people of Noah's day to repent, believe and be saved, but in the end, He closed the door of salvation. Whoever refused to enter through the door of the ark faced God's fierce judgment.
Concerning that coming Day of Judgment when God will judge the world in righteousness, the Scriptures say: "The day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, 'Peace and safety', destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape!" (1 Thes. 5:2,3) No one shall escape in that day, except those who have passed through the door of salvation which God has opened for the children of Adam.
Do you know about the Door that God has opened for sinners? Do you know the way of escape that God has provided for you? Who escaped the judgment of the flood in Noah's day? Only those who went through the door of the ark! Similarly, concerning the coming judgment day, the Scriptures clearly show us that God has provided only one door of salvation for the sinful children of Adam. Do you know about that door of salvation? Then listen to these sure words spoken by the holy Mediator whom God sent into the world. He said: "I am the [Door]; whoever enters through me will be saved!" (John 10:9) "I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not [come into judgment]!" (John 5:24)
Friends, this is where we must stop today, but, in future programs, we will learn much more about this Savior whom God sent into the world, the One who said, "I am the [Door]; whoever enters through me will be saved!"
Thank you for listening. Next time, God willing, we will conclude the story of the prophet Noah….
May God bless you and teach you as you think about this weighty question found in His Word:
"How shall we escape, if we ignore such a great salvation?" (Heb. 2:3)