[Lesson 14: Noah & the Great Flood] [Table of Contents] [Lesson 16: The Tower of Babel]

Lesson 15

Noah and the Faithfulness of God

Genesis 8, 9

Peace be with you, listening friends. We greet you in the name of God, the Lord of peace, who wants everyone to understand and submit to the way of righteousness that He has established, and have true peace with Him forever. We are happy to be able to return today to present your program The Way of Righteousness.

Today we plan to finish the story of God's prophet, Noah. First let us review what we have learned in the past two programs about Noah and the great flood. In chapter six of the book of Genesis, we saw that the wickedness of man was very great in the time of Noah; every inclination of the thoughts of man's heart was evil. This is why God purposed to bring a flood upon the earth to wipe out every sinner who refused to turn from his sin and turn to the true and living God.

In that crooked and depraved generation, only one man pleased God. That man was Noah. Noah trusted God and loved Him. That is why, one day, God spoke to Noah, and commanded him to build a great ark (boat), which would be a refuge for him, his family and many animals so that they could escape the flood. For one hundred years, Noah, along with his family, was building the ark and exhorting the people to repent and believe the word of God. Yet no one paid attention to the preaching of Noah. No one really believed what Noah was telling them about the coming flood!

Nonetheless, a day came when the ark was ready. The hour for God to judge this evil world had arrived. God had been patient with scoffers for a long time, but now His patience had run out. Thus, the Lord told Noah to enter the ark with his family and take with him seven males and seven females of every kind of clean animal {fit for sacrifice}, and two of each unclean animal, a male and a female. Noah and his family and the animals entered the ark as God had ordered. And the Scriptures say: "Then the Lord shut them in." God, who had opened the door of salvation for the children of Adam, was also the One who closed it. The day of God's mercy was gone; the day for His fearsome wrath had arrived!

Then came the lightning, thunder and violent shaking of the earth. Heavy rains fell, causing a great flood. Everyone fled, seeking to go up into the mountains, but no one could escape from God's holy wrath! Those who had mocked Noah and rejected God's word, now knew the truth. But now it was too late! The time of salvation was past. God had shut the door.

For forty days and nights rain poured down from the sky and springs gushed up from the earth until even the mountains were covered. But the ark floated on top of the water. The Scripture says:

"Every living thing that moved on the earth perished. Every living thing on the face of the earth was wiped out; men and animals and the creatures that move along the ground and the birds of the air were wiped from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those with him in the ark." (Gen. 7:21,23)

Thus, the Scripture records that God carried out the punishment just as He had promised. Everyone outside the ark perished. God is faithful to keep His word.

What happened to those inside the ark? Did God forget Noah and his family? God, who feeds the birds of the air, and not one of them falls to the earth except that He wills it, did not forget them. Let us read what is written in the book of Genesis in chapter eight. The Scriptures say:

"But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and the livestock that were with him in the ark, and he sent a wind over the earth, and the waters receded …And on the seventeenth day of the seventh month the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat." (Gen. 8:1,4)

Thus we see that God remembered Noah and those who were with him inside the ark. He sent a wind to blow over the earth so that the waters would recede. God guided the ark so that it came to rest on a high mountain named Ararat. After Noah and his family had been in the ark for one year and a week, much of the water which had covered the earth had dried up. Thus God said to Noah, "Leave the ark, you and your wife, your sons and their wives." So Noah and his family went out of the ark, as did all the animals. When he had gone out, he built an altar, took some of the clean animals and birds and offered them to the Lord on the altar as a burnt offering.

Did you hear what Noah first did after he left the ark? He sacrificed some innocent animals, burning them on an altar he built. God had not abolished His law which stated: "Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin." (Heb. 9:22) While the great flood destroyed most of the sinners from off the face of the earth, it did not destroy the root of sin that remained in the hearts of the children of Adam. That is why Noah and his descendants had to continue offering to God sacrifices for sin. As we have seen, such animal sacrifices were the foundation of the way of salvation that God had decreed. The sacrifices that our ancestors slaughtered in early times, symbolized {illustrated} the Redeemer who was to come and shed His own blood to pay the debt of sin for Adam's descendants. That is why, when Noah left the ark, the first thing he did was to shed animal blood, thus showing his children and grandchildren that the laws of God had not changed-that "the wages of sin is death" (Rom. 6:23) and "without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin." (Heb. 9:22)

Thus, the Scriptures say:

"The Lord smelled the pleasing aroma (of the sacrifice)…Then God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them, 'Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth…I now establish my covenant with you and with your descendants after you…Never again will all life be cut off by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth…This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life." (Gen. 8:21; 9:1,9,11-15)

In these verses we have just read, there is a word which God repeated five times to Noah. Did you hear it? The word is "covenant." In the Word of God, a covenant is a special promise made by God to man. God is the Keeper of covenants. God is faithful, and He wants to show forth His faithfulness to the sons of Adam! That is why, in His goodness, He established a covenant with Noah and those who descended from Him saying, "Never again will all life be cut off by the waters of a flood." That is what God promised. And He did not limit His promise to mere words, but He confirmed it by putting His rainbow in the clouds.

Did you know that the beautiful rainbow that we see sometimes in the clouds after it has rained is a sign which declares the faithfulness of God? Every time we see a rainbow in the clouds, God wants to remind us of His faithfulness that endures from generation to generation. God put the rainbow in the clouds to confirm His covenant in which He promised that the waters will never again become a flood to destroy all life. Truly, God is the Keeper of covenants! He is faithful!

Concerning the rest of Noah's life, there are other events of which we could speak, but we do not have the time. You can read them for yourselves, however, in the Torah, the book of Genesis, chapter nine. You will see that after the flood, Noah lived another 350 years, and when he was very old he went to be with the Lord on high.

In summary, perhaps we can conclude our talk about God's prophet, Noah, with a question or two. What was the difference between Noah and the people of his time? What did Noah do to please God? He did simply one thing. Noah believed the word of God. That is why Noah did not perish with the people of his generation. Listen to what God Himself has testified about Noah:

"By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith." But "without faith it is impossible to please God." (Heb 11:7,6)

Before we bid you farewell today, there are two thoughts which we must keep in our minds. We just considered the first of these two thoughts. What made Noah pleasing to God? His faith. Noah believed God; he believed what God said. Noah had confidence in the Lord and obeyed His word even when all others around him rejected it. It was Noah's faith that caused God to deliver him from the evil generation in which he lived. You who are listening to us today, do you truly believe what God has said? God's will for each of us is that we believe His Word as Noah did.

The second thing we must remember from the story of Noah is even more important than Noah's faith. Do you know what it is? It is God's faithfulness. Why is God's faithfulness more important than Noah's faith? Because if God was not faithful to keep His covenants and promises, the faith that Noah had in Him would be of no benefit. We all know what happens when we put our trust in someone who does not keep his promise. Suppose you have a friend who promises you: "Tomorrow I will bring you a sack of rice." You believe him; you have faith in him. What happens if he does not bring it? You will be disappointed (and perhaps hungry!). The faith that you had in your friend was worthless. Why? Because your friend did not do what he had promised. You trusted someone who was unfaithful.

It is not like that with God. The Scriptures say:

"If we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself." (2 Tim. 2:13) "For, all men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever…. and the one who trusts in him will [not be disappointed!]" (1 Pet. 1:24,25; 2:6) Yes, "God is faithful!" (1 Cor. 1:9)

He will do what He has promised!

In the story of Noah we clearly see how God did everything that He promised. We read how God saved everyone who was inside the ark and judged everyone who was outside, just as He had promised. We also saw how God forgave Noah his sins because he offered up the blood of an animal as a sacrifice, just as God had told him to do. And we learned how God placed His rainbow in the clouds so that Noah and all people would not forget that "God is faithful!"

Oh, fellow listeners, if you should forget everything we have considered today except one thing, remember this: God is Faithful! He cannot go back on His Word. He does what He promises, even if it seems He is slow in doing so. "God is faithful…. and the one who trusts in Him will never be put to shame." (1 Cor. 1:9; 1 Pet. 2:6) Let us then believe Him and accept His Word with humility. And may we benefit from the story of the prophet Noah and the great flood--by imitating Noah who believed the Word of God when everyone around him refused to believe it and were destroyed.

This is where we must stop today. We thank you for listening. In our next lesson, God willing, we will see what became of Noah's descendants and learn where the many languages of the world come from….

God bless you as you remember this truth from His Word:

"God is faithful…. and the one who trusts in Him will never be put to shame." (1 Cor. 1:9; 1 Pet. 2:6)