Friday, October 29, 2010

Hall of Faith Series Part 3 - Noah

It's Friday so today we will be continuing our series though the Hall of Faith.  This ties right into yesterday where we studied a modern example of the people God names in the Hall in George Mueller.  We think sometimes that these great men of faith are some standard we can never reach, but they were mortal men and women just as we are, just as George Mueller was.  Never think we can not have that kind of faith.  God shows us them as examples and to have that kind of faith is something we should all seek after.  Here is today's subject.
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.  Hebrews 11:7 NKJV
For the account of Noah, we return to Genesis.
Now it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born to them, that the sons of God saw the daughters of men, that they were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves of all whom they chose. And the LORD said, "My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, for he is indeed flesh; yet his days shall be one hundred and twenty years."  There were giants on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown. Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. So the LORD said, "I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them."  Genesis 6:1-7 NKJV
Here we set the scene for Noah. The world was a terrible sinful place.  In fact, demons were mating with women, resulting in a super race of evil giants.  God gave man a warning in that he drastically curtained his lifespan to 120 years.  Remember, men were living hundreds of years before this time.  Man continued to get worse to where it had gotten to the point where there was nothing redeemable.  Mankind had completely fallen.  Man was living in utter rebellion to God.  God had come to the end of his patience with man and pronounced judgment upon the whole earth. 
But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.  Genesis 6:8 NKJV
God''s grace is an awesome thing.  God was so displeased with what He created, He could have just wiped it all away.  He could have hit the "reset" button and started all over again.  God did not give up on man, though.  God loved us whom He knew before the foundations of the world too much to erase us all from existence.  God needed a man of faith and He found that in Noah.  Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.  How did he find grace?  He found it by faith.  Noah maintained his faith in God despite the evil around him. God rewarded Noah's faith by not only saving him and his family, but through him God saved mankind's existence.  That is how much the faith of one man can matter.
This is the genealogy of Noah. Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God. And Noah begot three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth.  Genesis 6:9-10 NKJV
This may seem like a strange place for a genealogy, but this is also part of setting the stage for the account of Noah.  First of all, we see that Noah was a just man and also a good father.  He begot three sons and those sons are important because it is through Noah and his seed that mankind would repopulate the earth after the flood.  These men are important because all of us are ancestors of them.  We are all descended from Noah. 
The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. So God looked upon the earth, and indeed it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth.  Genesus 6:11-12 NKJV
Now we get back to the account of Noah.  We reprise the condition of the earth in that it is wholly in rebellion towards God.  
And 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."  Genesis 6:13 NKJV
Can you imagine Noah getting this news?  Noah, a man of faith, must have been grieved by what he saw around him each and every day. Now God comes and tells him that He will destroy it all.  God just told Noah that He is about to destroy the world. 
"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. Genesis 6:14-16 NKJV
Here God gives Noah the construction plans for the ark.  We do not speak in terms of cubits anymore so we lose site of the magnitude of this ship.  This ship was 450 feet long, 150 feet wide, and 45 feet tall.  It was gargantuan.  I read somewhere that this was equivalent to 552 cattle train cars in cubic feet.  This was not small boat, this was a giant ship.  Now put yourself in Noah's shoes.  First God tells him that he will destroy the whole world.  Now God is telling him to make a ship of the likes that mankind had never seen before.  And it is not like he could just go to Home Depot and get some two-by-fours, nails, and a hammer and put this thing together. He had to get and prepare his own wood.  That is a lot of trees he was to have to cut down.  
"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." Genesus 4:17 NKJV
God now reveals how He will judge the earth.  He is going to flood it.  Now Noah's first through here may have been "What's a flood?"  Remember it never rained up until this point.  With no rain, there would have been no floods.  So now God tells Noah that He will destroy the world, to build a giant ship, and that He was going to make something called a flood to drown the earth. 
"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." Genesis 6:18 NKJV
And now God reveals His grace.  God is asking Noah to build something of the size the world has never seen to prepare for something the world has never experienced.  That is quite a tall order for anyone, but God knew that Noah had the faith to accomplish what He had asked.  And now we see the reward of that faith.  God is going to save Noah, his wife, his sons, and his son's wives all because of the faith of Noah.  For the sake of that one just and faithful man, God did not wipe out all of mankind.  That is an amazing picture of the grace of God.  This is an amazing example of how God can use the faith of even just one person. 
"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. Of the birds after their kind, of animals after their kind, and of every creeping thing of the earth after its kind, two of every kind will come to you to keep them alive. And you shall take for yourself of all food that is eaten, and you shall gather it to yourself; and it shall be food for you and for them."  Genesis 6:19-21 NKJV
This is why the ship had to be so large.  God would save the animals He created as well as Noah and his family.  Think of this command though.  He had to round up several of every kind of animal on the earth.  Keep in mind, this was early in creation before man bred out so many of the different kinds of subspecies that we have today.  It was still quite the command! 
Thus Noah did; according to all that God commanded him, so he did.  Genesis 6:22 NKJV
What a statement.  Just meditate on that for a moment.  God told Noah to build a huge ship and while rounding up some each kind of all the animals of the earth.  What Noah was doing would have been large and public.  He was building the first ever ocean liner and filling it with animals, how do you hide that?  Imagine the ridicule he must have faced.  If they asked and he told them God was going to judge the earth, do you think they would have repented or thought him all the more crazy?  I daresay it was most likely the latter.  That is evident in the fact that the world did not repent.  But he pressed on and completed the task given to him by God.  For 100 years Noah built the ark faithfully while the world mocked him. Think on that, that he stood faithful working for the Lord for 100 years while the world mocked him. 
Then the LORD said to Noah, "Come into the ark, you and all your household, because I have seen that you are righteous before Me in this generation. You shall take with you seven each of every clean animal, a male and his female; two each of animals that are unclean, a male and his female; also seven each of birds of the air, male and female, to keep the species alive on the face of all the earth. For after seven more days I will cause it to rain on the earth forty days and forty nights, and I will destroy from the face of the earth all living things that I have made."  Genesis 7:1-4 NKJV
Now the ark is built and the animals are rounded up and God tells Noah that it is time to load up  God tells Noah that in seven days it will rain and rain for forty days and nights.  Again, Noah's first thought had to be "What is rain?"  It never rained on the earth and so Noah would have no concept of what that even is. 
And Noah did according to all that the LORD commanded him.  Genesis 7:5 NKJV
We know the rest.  God rained down water on the earth for forty days and nights destroying all of mankind save Noah and his family.  The whole world was in rebellion to God, doing what was evil.  Noah, on the other hand, did all that the Lord commanded him.  That is a stark contrast.  Noah must not have been very popular.  In fact, it is probably only by the grace of God that Noah was not killed by the evil wicked world that rebelled against God.  But despite the wickedness of the world, Noah had faith and through that faith he obeyed God.  Do you think that Noah built the ark in his own strength?  Building a ship of that magnitude is impossible for one man to do on his own.  He obeyed God out of faith and God provided the means and ability to build an ocean liner.  Do you think that Noah had the engineering ability necessary to design something so large?  I would say not, but in faith he leaned on God's wisdom and accomplished his task. 

Noah was a man of faith.  He had faith in God to do the impossible in building the ark.  He had faith that God would be true to His word that something the world had never seen before was going to happen in that he believed it would rain.  He had faith that God would save him through the judgment in that he entered the ark when God told him to.  He had faith that God was righteous and just in that God was going to judge the entire world.  Noah was a man of faith in that his faith was tested and stood strong for 100 years.  Noah was a man of faith and that faith was rewarded in that God chose Noah out of all the earth to reestablish the human race and to be the ancestor of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Hebrews said that Noah was a man of faith and Genesis tells us that Noah found grace in God.  Noah was saved by grace through faith. The fruit of his faith was the human race.  What will the fruit of yours be?  Remember who that faith you have is in.  With God, nothing is impossible.
And the apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith." So the Lord said, "If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, 'Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,' and it would obey you. Luke 17:5-6 NKJV

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