The story of Noah and the ark is more popular than ever. Even people who don’t know the Bible and never come to church know about Noah, his big boat, and all those animals coming in two by two. And most people know about the great flood. But as we read these verses, we need to learn the right lessons.
There are basically two ways to approach
this very familiar story. The first is to focus on
the controversial issues: What was the extent
of the flood? Did it really cover the entire
earth? How large was the ark? How did Noah
get those animals into the ark?
But if we concentrate only on the
controversial elements, we risk missing the
real message. Even though it is important
to ask, “How did a flood cover the entire
earth?” if we stop there, we will miss the
main spiritual lessons the Lord intends for us
to learn. It is worthwhile to inquire about the
civilization that perished, but the emphasis of
the text is not on those who died but on the
one family that survived.
I. The man who built the ark
Our text reveals a number of important
facts about Noah. If we consider these things,
we will understand why he and his family
survived the flood while the rest of the human
A. Noah was a godly man (Gen. 6:9).
Noah believed in God and took His Word
seriously. He was not a doubter or a skeptic.
Noah believed God, and his faith was counted
as righteousness. His faith produced in him
a lifestyle that was so categorically different
from his contemporaries that he seemed
blameless by comparison.
Noah was a man who walked with God
and knew Him intimately. Noah didn’t merely
know about God; he knew God and walked
with Him on a daily basis. This is a high honor
since Noah and Enoch (Gen. 5:24) are the
only two men in the Bible who are specifically
said to have walked with God.
B. Noah was a family man (Gen. 6:10).
We know that Noah was married, that he and
his wife had three sons, and that each son
was also married. Noah was the head of his
household and the spiritual leader to his wife,
sons, and daughters-in-law.
C. Noah was a unique man (Gen.
6:11, 12). These verses are placed here to
emphasize the contrast between Noah and his
generation. The word “corrupt” means rotten,
putrid, or utterly foul. It describes a world in the
final stages of moral decomposition. Having
rejected the Lord, the men and women of the
world had fallen into a deep pit of violence,
hatred, abuse, murder, dishonesty, and every
ugly expression of the depravity of the human
heart. And in the darkness of those days, one
man stood out from the crowd. Noah was a
bright, shining light in the prevailing moral
darkness. In an impure world, he was pure.
In an unrighteous world, he was righteous. In
a world that dismissed God, he walked with
God. He stood alone, believing God, building
the ark (no doubt receiving much abuse from
his peers), always confident that God could
be trusted and that the flood would someday
come to the world.
D. Noah was an obedient man (Gen. 6:22). This verse comes immediately after God’s specific instructions for building the ark. Note the two things said in this verse:
1. Noah’s obedience was complete: He did everything the Lord commanded.
2. Noah’s obedience was absolute: He did everything just as the Lord commanded.
In other words, Noah didn’t do anything
E. Noah was a bold man (2 Peter 2:5).
This fact is implied in Genesis 6 and stated
explicitly in 2 Peter 2:5, where Noah is called
a “preacher of righteousness.” He wasn’t
just a builder who knew how to construct an
enormous boat. And he wasn’t just a godly
man who let his life speak for him. During
the 120 years before the flood, Noah built the
ark and preached righteousness to his own
generation. I’m sure he warned them of the
judgment to come and invited them to join
him in the ark. But no one seemed to listen.
Perhaps they were too busy to pay attention.
After all, no one had ever seen rain before.
Certainly no one had ever seen a worldwide
flood before. Why should they take Noah
seriously? To his contemporaries, he was
like those people who preach on the street
corners; it’s always easier just to walk on by
than to stop and listen.
Jesus compared the days of Noah to the
days preceding His return to the earth (Matt.
24:37-39). As it was then, so it shall be again.
The past is the key to the future.
F. Noah saved his own family. How did
Noah manage to save himself and his family
from such a negative environment? We are
not left to wonder about the answer because
it is spelled out for us in Hebrews 11:7. This is
a powerful verse that I recommend you read,
memorize, and teach to your own family. We
can break this verse down into four smaller
statements that help us see what Noah did:
1. He believed what God said.
2. He built an ark to save his family.
3. He rejected the corruption of the world.
4. He and his family were delivered from
Here is a message for all of us. Noah was
a righteous man who had great faith in God.
His faith saved his entire family. But note this:
Not one word is ever said about Noah’s wife’s
faith or the faith of Noah’s sons and daughters-in-law.
But they must have had some faith.
Why? Because when Noah entered the ark,
his wife went with him. Their sons followed
them. And their sons’ wives followed them. I
don’t know how much faith they had, but they
had enough to follow the head of their family.
And Noah had enough faith to inspire all of
them to follow his example. That’s the power
of a godly leader.
Noah was a godly man in an ungodly
age, a bright light shining in the darkness.
Because he had character and obeyed God
when the world thought he was crazy, he
ended up leading his own family to salvation.
God blessed him, just as God blesses all
who follow in His steps. Let there be no
complaining about how hard things are
and no excuses about how evil the world
has become. Be a person of character. Be
someone with conviction. Take a stand for
the Word of God and don’t worry about what
the world thinks. You’ll save yourself, and by
God’s grace, you may save your family and
many others, too.