< What I Learned Teaching Sunday School: Noah's Ark - Part 1

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Noah's Ark - Part 1

The flood was the greatest catastrophe ever experienced by the earth and descendents of Adam since God created the world. The Bible gives the story more space then either creation or the fall of man. It marks the end of the old world and the beginning of the new. And the new earth was most likely a shadow of its former glory.

The flood was God’s judgment on a world that had rejected Him.

At the time there was only one man who worshipped God and took a stand against the evil and wickedness of his day. His example shows the power of one – because if he hadn’t done what he did, the entire human race would have been eradicated by the flood. This man was Noah.

(Genesis 6:1-10)

Man’s evilness seemed to have reached the point of no return, “the earth was filled with violence”, “all the people on earth had corrupted their ways.”

Doesn’t sound much different from us today! What was the world’s wickedness that was pushing the patience of God to the limit?

First, it may have been a dilution of God’s principals.

Some scholars think the “sons of God” mentioned here were the sons of Seth, the remnant who had placed their faith in God and were now marrying the “daughters of men” – or the daughters of Cain.

We are told, when we marry, to be equally yoked. Believers shouldn’t marry unbelievers. The Israelites were told not to marry pagans. This was because God knew the strong influence the ungodly have – that faith gets diluted in the next generation. That compromise would have to be made to preserve the marriage. And compromises would inevitably lead to the neglect of God’s Word.

What other wickedness was pushing God’s limit? Well, Jesus talked about the flood in Matthew and said the root of wickedness in Noah’s day was indifference to God.

(Matthew 24:38-39) “ For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.”

Nothing was really wrong with any of these activities Jesus described…except apparently God was left out of them. We can apply this to our lives by asking what we are leaving God out of: our discussions - our business – our home – our marriage – our plans and activities? And then make sure God isn’t neglected by our family. As Christians, our families should be in church every Sunday, there should be family prayer and Bible reading. We should be instructing our children and grandchildren on God’s principles and the world should see something different in us. Something good!

There’s another thought about the wickedness of Noah’s day and that’s a form of demon possession. Some Bible scholars think the Sons of God mentioned here were actually fallen angels (demons). Maybe/maybe not. But, if you remember the story of Jesus calling a demon to come out of a man and the demon said its name was legion because there were so many and it begged Jesus not to kill them and He sent it into a herd of pigs, who then jumped off a cliff – totally getting rid of them seemed to be the only way to deal with them – which does fit in with the story of the flood.

But, whether this was the reason or not, even in today’s world we need to be aware of demonic activity. Many Christian writers and preachers have pointed out that; “slasher movies, pornography and heavy metal music are all designed to arouse the human emotions to violence and destruction. We should also stay away from: witchcraft, channeling, satanic cults, tarot cards, oujia boards, séances and even horoscopes. A few of these things may sound harmless, like horoscopes – we all know what sign we are, but Satan is subtle and an expert at sucking people in– all he needs is a tiny crack. And the Bible prophesies that demonic activity will increase in the days preceding God’s final judgment on the earth.

We’re not to be afraid though because we’re told that the one in us is stronger then the one in the world. And besides, we’ve read the end of the book – we know how it’s all going to turn out. But, we do need to be aware and on guard.

Where the passage said that, “every inclination and the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time.” Can you picture a world like that?

A world of no goodness or kindness?
No humbleness? No thoughtfulness?
Road rage all the time? School shootings? Abortions as common as getting your teeth cleaned? Lawsuits all over the place?

Maybe we can imagine it…

It’s possible that God’s final judgment is nearer then the world thinks. We as Christians need to study Noah’s story and follow his example to be prepared, obedient and to warn our generation that God will not be mocked. And we can choose right now to live as if the message of God is of no importance – or as if it is the most important thing in the world!

Well, the world back then may have been ignoring God, but it had His undivided attention! God saw their sin. He saw it all and it grieved Him. Grieve is a love word. This is like saying it broke His heart. And since He never changes we can assume that our sin grieves Him too.

The time was ripe for judgment. God will only put up with so much. Through the flood God would exterminate a corrupt race. This was justice. But, God also showed His grace because He would preserve the race through the seed of the righteous Noah. And if anyone had listened to Noah they would have been saved too.

God gave them 120 years to change their ways. That’s how long it took for Noah to build the ark. So far God has given us about 2000 years.

He’s very patient.

But, don’t mix up patience with tolerance. Keep in mind in Noah’s day – time did run out. There will come a time of no more bargaining for more time for us too. And even if our world doesn’t end in our lifetime, when we die we will still face judgment. Hebrews tells us it is appointed that each will die one death and after that judgment.

So whether Christ comes back tonight or we personally die in 40, 50 60 years – we need to be ready. God warned the world back then and He warns us today.

In Old Testament times He would sometimes warn them through natural or national disasters; plagues, invading armies…

Some people think that’s happening today with events like 911…maybe…..

He does for sure though warn us through our conscience and through Godly people, who take a bold stand for Him. Who will say, “Judgment is coming – listen and repent.”

You know, one of the ways Noah may have pleased God was that he listened! He apparently was the only one back then listening to God. Noah was right with God when everyone else was wrong.

That must have been hard, when you stop and think about it, no one would understand you, they probably wouldn’t want to be around you because you made them look bad. You made that little neglected and ignored conscience flare up.

But, Noah got his strength from listening to God. From walking with God. Since he may not have had anyone else to really talk to, he probably talked to God about everything. And this is part of his example to us too.

Instead of working so hard to get in step with a world that is out of step with God, we need to just walk with God. Spend time with Him. There’s loneliness in the human spirit that only God can satisfy. He made us that way! So we’d come looking for Him.

Do you ever feel like no one really understands you?

They don’t!

But, God does. He knows everything about you. He “gets” you when no one else does. There’s a Christian song I like where one of the lines is “God sees your heart when the world just sees you crying.” He knows why we act the way we do. What happened to us that morning or 20 years ago that makes us react to something the way we do…He gets us….

It pleases God to have us walk with Him, just as it says Noah pleased God. Why do we care what this world thinks as long as we know God is pleased?

The more time we spend with God, the more He will reveal our work to us; how He wants us to be involved in bringing people to Him.

And so, while Noah and God were walking together, God told Noah what He was going to do and what He wanted Noah to do. God doesn’t want us to be just listeners of the Word, but doers.

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