Dear friends, this is it, the last lesson, lesson 5 on the life of Noah. I hope that you have enjoyed the ride. I cannot wait to teach this in a couple of weeks. In case you have missed the previous lessons, here they are so that you can catch up.
- Noah stands for the Lord
- Trust and Obey God like Noah
- Noah trusts God during difficult times
- Learn to be grateful like Noah
Through these previous lessons, we have discovered that God has a message for mankind, a message of judgment, mercy, and grace. Mankind got off track through sin and messed up God’s perfect creation. God could have blotted mankind out and started all over with a new creation. He chose not to do that. Instead, He chose to redeem mankind by paying the price for them, extending the mercy and grace that they did not deserve. Mankind now has a choice of either receiving that message or rejecting it. In Noah’s case, he and his family were the only people on the earth to receive that message. They were rescued. The rest of mankind was not rescued. Once Noah received the message, he shared it with his family and then with all of the people in his immediate sphere of influence. This is God’s message for every generation. We all have the same choice, believe and accept, or, reject. In the previous lesson, we learned that Noah had genuine faith and as a result, he was grateful to the Lord and he taught others to be grateful.
In this article, we are going to focus on respect. The psalmist wrote on this subject, many years after the life of Noah. This is what we find in Psalm 112:1:
Praise the LORD! How blessed is the man who fears the LORD, Who greatly delights in His commandments.
The word fear, in this passage, could be translated respect. A man who respects the Lord is blessed. He is a worshiper of God. He enjoys the commandments of the Lord and walks in them.
I. Respect based on Covenant
After Noah and his family exited the ark, God made a Covenant with him and all of mankind. The English word “covenant” comes from the Hebrew word “ber-eeth” and it means “a solemn binding agreement between two or more parties“. By definition, there is a bloody cut, usually the sacrifice of an animal that is involved in making the covenant. It is so solemn that death is involved. Since it is an agreement, conditions are set and promises are made. There are two basic kinds of covenant. The first is covenant between God and man. The second is covenant between man and man. The covenant made between God, Noah, and the world is obviously a covenant made between God and man. The covenant parties are unequal. The two parties are bound to each other by the promises and conditions. God respected His end of the covenant and Noah learned to respect God. Hebrews 11:7 teaches us that learning respect is a process that begins with faith:
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.
The word “respect” here is not used. In its place we see “reverence”. This is the same idea as “fear”. Genuine faith produces respect for the Lord. That respect is seen through obedience to God’s message of judgment, mercy, and grace. Noah taught that same respect to his family. In Hebrews, Noah is one of the examples used. There is another example:
8 By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going. (Hebrews 11)
Abraham heard the Lord’s message and believed. That belief produced respect, seen in obedience. Do you respect the Lord? Where does obedience to the Lord rank in your list of daily priorities? Are you learning to respect the Lord daily? Are you teaching others to respect the Lord?
II. Evidence of Covenant
In our previous lesson, we looked at the evidence of a universal flood by the rock layers, Mt. St. Helen’s volcano, and the fossil record. Flood legends are another example of evidence of a universal flood and the covenant between God and the earth that followed. The following legends are taken from Answers in Genesis‘ VBS Teachers’ Guide.
- In China, there is a flood legend of a man named Fuhi, his wife, three sons, and three daughters who escaped a great flood. According to this legend, they were the only people on the earth left alive after the great flood. They were the people who populated the world after the great flood.
- In this legend, there was a first world that lasted about 2,000 years. Then, a great flood came and destroyed the first world. It was a world wide flood, covering the tops of the highest mountains. Just a very limited number of people escaped the flood in something called a closed chest. After the flood was over, those remaining people in the closed chest repopulated the entire earth.
- This flood legend speaks of a righteous man who was loved by God, named Tumbainot. He was married and had three sons. Then he took another wife and had three more sons. When someone in Africa killed another man, their god decided to destroy all of mankind. Tumbainot was the only person to find favor in the eyes of God. Tumbainot received a message from God to build an ark and take his family in the ark. They took all kinds of animals with them in the ark. Once they were all inside, God sent a great rain that flooded the entire earth and everyone died with the exception of Tumbainot and his entire family. The waters finally receded and when Tumbainot left the ark, he saw four rainbows.
- Ancient Greece
- This legend recounts a story of how humans became proud and began to act worse and worse. This made their god, Zeus, very angry. Zeus decided to destroy all of mankind. Another god, Prometheus, warned his human son, Deucalion, and Deucalion’s wife. Prometheus placed Deucalion and his wife in a large chest to keep them safe during the flood caused by all of the rains. The entire world was flooded, except for Mt. Olympus, where all of the gods lived and Mt. Parnassus. The wooden chest landed on Mt. Parnassus where Deucalion and his wife exited the wooden chest to discover that the world was flooded.
These different legends come from different parts of the world and reveal several commonalities. There was a universal flood. Most of mankind died except for one family. The flood came as a punishment for sin. An ark was built for protection. This rescued family repopulated the earth and took the flood story with them. Although these stories are legends, they are all based on an actual event. Some of the details were lost, or changed over time, but, the main points still remain. All of these legends, and others, can be tied back to the story of Noah and the Great Flood in the Bible. God has a message for all of mankind. Sin is going to be judged. God wants to show his mercy and grace to anyone who will listen.
III. Being in covenant means walking with God
Noah was in covenant with God and that rescued him and his family from God’s judgment. Noah walked with God and gave a correct reflection of God’s character. Abraham was another man who walked with God because of covenant. Abraham’s relationship with God led him to respect God by walking in obedience. God blessed Abraham and Abraham became a blessing to the entire world. Abraham taught his family how to walk with God, to respect God via obedience. He taught his servants how to walk with God. He shared God’s message of judgment, mercy, and grace with anyone who would listen. Moses and the children of Israel entered into covenant with God and they walked with God. They were supposed to share God’s message of judgment, mercy, and grace with the world but, they did not do a very good job of it. They also did not “respect” God as they should have done. They gave lip service to God, calling it respect, but their actions were very different. They demonstrated a lack of respect by their disobedience. The final example of being in covenant and walking with God is the New Covenant which Jesus makes with His followers, the disciples. This is the covenant that we are invited into today. This is the rescue from judgment that God offers to us. It is His mercy. It is His grace. The disciples learned to walk with God. They learned to respect God through their obedience. Covenant calls us to know and obey God’s will. Jesus put it this way:
34 And He summoned the crowd with His disciples, and said to them, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. (Mark 8)
Jesus gives a calling to anyone who hears, that if they want to follow Him, there are three things that must take place:
- deny themselves – the verb used in the original Greek for deny is in the aorist tense. This means a completed action in the past with present consequences. For example, I was hit in the face by the ball 3 days ago and my eye is black. My eye has been suffering the consequences each moment from the action completed in the past. Jesus is telling His audience that they must make a one time choice to deny themselves. The consequences of that choice will be seen every moment of every day from the moment of the choice until eternity. The verb is in the middle voice. This means that the audience cannot deny themselves on their own. They need an outside source to act together with them to be able to deny themselves. God is the outside source whom allows us the ability to deny ourselves. On my own, I cannot deny myself. I have to have the power of God to help me.
- take up their cross – This is a common reference that all of Jesus’ audience would have immediately understood. The person who carried his cross was a criminal who had been caught and was standing before the judge for sentencing. He is condemned by the judge to die a tortuous death on a cross. He would have to carry the cross beam of the torture device from the place of sentencing to the place of execution. His will is gone. He only does as he is told. The rest of his life is the road to the place of execution. Jesus is giving His audience a radical calling. They must choose to die to their will, their hopes, their dreams, their desire etc. to everything in order to walk this road before them. The Greek verb is in the aorist tense. This means that at one point in time, the audience would make a choice to take a walk down this path. The voice is active. This means that they alone choose to do this. There is no outside source to help. This is total allegiance. This is not a simple calling. This is not “accepting Jesus into your heart”.
- follow Him – The final command given is the call to follow Him. While on this road, their one desire and main concern is to follow Jesus as He leads, where He leads, and when He leads. The verb is in the present tense. This means that moment by moment, day by day I make the conscience choice to follow Christ in every aspect of my life. The voice is active which means that I alone do it without an outside source of help. It does not just happen to me. I choose to do it.
Have you ever pledged this kind of allegiance to Jesus Christ? Can you be a Christian without actually pledging this kind of allegiance? Once you have made that choice, what are you supposed to do every day as you “follow Christ”?
- Hear and Obey the Words of Christ – Matthew 7:21-27
- Have your mind renewed – Romans 12:1-2
- Makes disciples who make disciples – John 15:7-8, 16
- Teach other to respect God through obedience – Matthew 28:19-20
Have you answered Jesus’ calling to enter the New Covenant, to learn to walk with God in obedience?