In the previous article, we were introduced to Noah, learning about his stand for God when no one else wanted to do it. God sent a message of judgment of sin. Within that message, He introduces a message of mercy and grace. Noah finds favor with God because he chooses to believe God’s message and walks with God. Noah begins to reflect God’s character correctly. He teaches his family how to walk with God. Their family is different from all of the other families of the earth. They are no longer dominated by their sin nature. They are now subservient to God. They do not act out in wickedness and violence anymore.
This lesson is day 2 or lesson 2 from our VBS Bible study. The theme of this study is trusting and obeying God the way that Noah did. Noah’s “faith” is not just an abstract idea. Faith is concrete. It produces the action of obedience. Faith that does not produce the good works of obedience is not genuine faith. Noah had genuine faith. In our world today, there are 1,000s of different faiths. In God’s economy, there are only two types of faith, genuine faith that produces obedience and useless faith that does not produce obedience. We want to learn about Noah’s genuine faith because it produced obedience in Noah and his family.
I. The Consequences of sin
As we learned in the previous lesson, mankind fell into disobedience (sin) and could no longer correctly reflect the character of God. In Romans 6:23, we discover the following:
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Sin brings consequences and the consequence of sin is death. Mankind’s sin nature brings a death sentence with it. God is going to judge the entire world during the days of Noah, demanding payment for their sin (disobedience). All are guilty and all are going to be punished. This is God’s justice. He must make the guilty pay. He cannot leave sin unpunished. The Global Flood is God’s judgement on mankind. This flood was going to be global, universal, worldwide. Some have suggested that Noah’s little world, the valley he lived in, was all that was going to flood. God reveals to us that this flood was global because He was going to use the flood to destroy all life on the earth. Also, if God were just going to flood Noah’s little valley then He could have told Noah to move instead of building a gigantic ark. In the midst of this judgment, God extends mercy and grace to Noah and his family. Then, He is going to use Noah to extend that message of mercy and grace to others.
II. God’s Mercy and Grace
First of all, Noah deserved to die just like everyone else. Noah’s family deserved to die, just like everyone else. God extends His mercy and grace to Noah and his family. They do not deserve escape, yet, God offers it to them. Secondly, God shows mercy and grace to the world by preserving life. He is Elohim, the Creator God and could simply start over with a new creation. He chooses to rescue His current creation. Thirdly, we see God’s mercy and grace extended to Noah and his family by Him punishing sin. The world in which Noah and his family lived was neither a safe, nor a happy place. Violence and wickedness were everywhere. God rescues them from this world and the consequences of sin nature.
In the previous lesson, we learned that Noah believed God’s message and began to obey. He immediately began to built the ark and he got his sons involved with the process. By doing this, he proclaimed God’s message to his family. Now, this ark was not the version that you are probably familiar with in children’s stories or children’s Bibles. The dimensions of this ark indicate that it was massive. The length of the ark was about 180 yards (about 510 feet). The width of the ark was about 85 feet wide or about half the width of a football field. The height of the ark would have been about 50 feet, or the height of 3 giraffes. This thing was massive! If two babies of each species, let’s say the canine species, the species that developed into all the different kinds of dogs that we have today, including wolves and coyotes, then they would easily fit into the ark with much room to spare. The same process worked for every species, the feline, the primate, the equidae etc. The ark is a symbol of God’s grace. Noah and his family did not deserve the ark. The people did not deserve the chance to choose the ark, but, God offered it to them all anyway. It took Noah anywhere from 50 to 100 years to complete the ark. While building the ark, the Bible reveals to us that Noah also preached the message to the people, the one that he received from God.
5 and did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a preacher of righteousness, with seven others, when He brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; (II Peter 2)
The people heard the message of God’s judgment. They also heard the message of God’s mercy and grace. Unfortunately, other than Noah’s family, no one else received the message. They rejected it. Jesus explains it in Matthew 24:37-39:
“For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah. “For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so will the coming of the Son of Man be.
They did not understand because they were being ignorant on purpose. They just mocked Noah and his family. They did not want to believe that the flood was coming. They did not want to accept the fact that the world was going to end. Their willful ignorance cost them their lives. What about you, my dear friend, are you willfully ignorant to God’s message of judgment, mercy, and grace? Or, will you accept God’s message, believe and obey?
III. Practical Advice
As I wrote earlier in this article, God’s teaching, His message to us, is always practical. It is not abstract. It is concrete. Since that is the case, we need to learn some practical advice that we can put into practice in our daily lives. Like Noah and all of the people during Noah’s days, we are sinners, born with a sin nature, and condemned to death. God has a message of good news, a message of mercy and grace. Someone else has committed to pay the price that we owe. God’s extends mercy to us by allowing us to live and sending His message to us. We do not have to die for our sins. Christ has already done it for us. That is mercy. Grace is receiving a second chance, being able to be made right with God, to walk with God, and to reflect His character correctly. Have you received in faith God’s message of mercy and grace? Like Noah, are you sharing this message with your immediate family? What about with the people around you, the ones who are directly inside your sphere of influence, are you sharing God’s message of judgment, mercy, and grace with them? In Noah’s case, only 7 other people listened to God’s message. Do not be discouraged or worry about how many listen and how many do not. Keep sharing. God changed the world with only 8 people who received His message, believed His message, and obeyed His message. May the Lord help us hear His message, believe His message, obey His message, and share that message with the people around us!