I am preparing to teach about Noah during our annual Vacation Bible School (VBS). This year, we are using Answers in Genesis’ Curriculum. I am excited about teaching this. I have been preparing the lessons and I want to share them here in article form so that I can think through the lessons before actually teaching them.
Our first lesson is about Noah and how he took a stand for the Lord when the rest of the world lived as it pleased. Before we get into the lesson, we need to learn a little bit about Noah from Hebrews 11:7.
By faith Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household, by which he condemned the world, and became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.
Noah was a man like all mankind. He was born a sinner, just like the rest of us. Noah is distinguished from the rest of the world because he was a man of faith. He received a message from the Lord and he believed that message. This is how Noah was able to stand for God when no one else would do it.
I. The need to stand
In order to understand Noah’s stance, we need to understand the history of the world leading up to the days of Noah. God created a perfect world, including the first man and woman. This took place about 6,000 years ago. Mankind was created in God’s image. We were created to be a reflection of the character of God. At the same time, God gave mankind the option of not reflecting Him correctly. Mankind was given free will, to choose to walk with God in obedience in order to reflect Him correctly, or, to disobey Him and do what they wanted. By choosing to disobey God, mankind would cease to give a proper reflection of God’s character. Mankind was created with great intelligence. Adam, the first man created, was intelligent enough to name all of the animals and remember their names. The son born to Adam was intelligent enough to build cities (Genesis 4:17). In Genesis 4:21, mankind is intelligent and creative enough to build musical instruments and use them to make music. In Genesis 4:22 we see that mankind was intelligent and creative enough to invent the arts. Mankind did not “evolve” intelligence or creativity. We were created with that intelligence to create and invent. Those characteristics manifested themselves from the very beginning.
The first man and woman walked with God for a time and reflected Him perfectly until they chose disobedience. When mankind chose disobedience, sin (an incorrect reflection of God) cursed the entire world. That curse was passed on from one generation to the next. Death followed sin as a consequence. Every man and woman born on this earth is born separated from God, marring His reflection. Adam’s children were born with that curse. Genesis 5:3 reveals to us that Adam’s children were born in the likeness and image of him instead of the image of God. They could not properly reflect the character of God. Cain’s sin nature manifested itself when he chose to disobey God and do what he wanted instead of what God wanted. God rejected Cain’s disobedience and as a result, Cain was overcome by anger and murdered his brother Abel. This curse infiltrated all mankind and manifested itself mightily. Let’s read Genesis 6:5, 11-12.
Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. Now the earth was corrupt in the sight of God, and the earth was filled with violence. God looked on the earth, and behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way upon the earth.
Every man is born a sinner. Wickedness is in his heart. Mankind’s thoughts are evil. Mankind’s sin nature corrupts his thoughts, attitudes, and actions. Sin nature manifests itself in violence towards others. We were created to walk with God and reflect Him by the way we treat each other. We cannot do that because of our sin nature. That is why wickedness and violence dominate the earth to this very day. God is just and He has to bring about justice for wicked actions. Judgment is the consequence of sin. Judgement is death. That was the bad news during Noah’s day and that is the bad news today. There is good news. God wants to offer escape from our sin nature and the consequences of sin. The question is, will we accept His escape or reject it?
II. God’s message of mercy and grace
As I mentioned in the previous section, God is just and has to punish sin. In the midst of His punishment, He offers hope. He is merciful and gracious. God offers mercy and grace to all mankind. Mercy means not getting what you deserve. Grace means getting what you do not deserve. God brings that message of mercy and grace to Noah and tells Noah to share that message with all who will listen. God’s message is that judgment of sin is coming but can be avoided. God is going to destroy the earth by flood. This destruction is actually protection for those who will believe Him. As we saw earlier, the earth was not a nice place because of the wickedness of mankind. That wickedness was manifested in violence. God’s mercy is that all mankind deserved death, including Noah and his family, but God would spare them if they would listen to Him. God’s grace is the way of escape. Noah did not deserve a way of escape but God offered it to him and his family. Now Noah has a choice; is he going to believe God’s message or not. Let’s see what Noah does with God’s message of mercy and grace.
III. Noah’s obedience to God’s message
In Genesis 6, we discover that Noah was different from the rest of the world. Noah was a sinner with a sin nature just like the rest of us.
8 But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD.
9 These are the records of the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his time; Noah walked with God.
Noah believed God’s message. Noah had faith. Noah chose to walk with God instead of walking by his own desires like everyone else. Do you remember what we learned in the beginning of this article? We were created to walk with God and reflect His character in our own lives through obedience. Noah was a man of faith. He believed God’s message. He accepted God’s message. He was different from the rest of the world because of God. He reflected God’s character, not perfectly, the way that God intended. Not only that, he also taught his wife, his children, and their wives to walk with God by faith. Noah accepted God’s mercy. Noah accepted God’s grace. This is what made Noah able to stand for God when no one else would. This is God’s message for all of us. The Apostle Paul stated it this way in I Corinthians 16:13:
Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.
My dear friend, do you realize that you need to hear God’s message of mercy and grace? Have you accepted by faith God’s message of mercy and grace? Do you walk with God? Are you reflecting His character in your thoughts, attitude, and actions? Are you ready to take a stand for God in this hostile world that is running away from Him? Are you sharing God’s message of mercy and grace with the people within your sphere of influence? Are you standing firm in faith? May the Lord help us receive His message, live by faith, take a stand for God, and share that message with the people around us!