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Genesis 6:11-7:5 – “As it Was, So It Shall Be” – Part 1
In the las two weeks we took a look at the life of Noah who walked faithfully with God. He was righteous, blameless and obedient among the people of his time. Now we will look at the state the people of his time were in.
In Genesis 6:11-12, Moses writes, “Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight and was full of violence. God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways.” Three times in 6:11-12 we are told how “corrupt” the earth had become.
The word for “violence” is used of robbery, taking wives by force, and murder. (Steal, kill and destroy!) The entire social fabric had disintegrated and human life was no longer sacred or respected. The two words “corrupt” and “violence” give us the character and expression of the sin, the cause, and the effect. The corruption has led to violence, for badness always leads to cruelty in one form or another. A life that is wrong with God necessarily becomes wrong with other people.
It’s important to recognize that Noah lived in terrible days. The world around him was degraded and depraved; yet Noah lived an above reproach life as we saw last two weeks. When all the people around him were immersing themselves in evil and earning the wrath and judgment of God, Noah set his heart to follow the path found in the person and character of God. He stood his ground and remained uninfluenced by all that was happening around him. If Noah could, so can we. God has given us everything “pertaining to life and godliness” (2 Pet 1:3).
Obey God’s Word (6:13-22). In 6:13, Moses writes, “So God said to Noah, ‘I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth.’”
What do ya think was going through Noah’s mind when the Lord told him this!? For the second time in three verses, the Lord mentions the “violence” of mankind. He then tells Noah that He is about to “destroy” these violent people “with the earth.” This section shows us that the earth and nature suffer because of human sin. (3:17-19; 4:12; Rom 8:20-21).
He tells Noah the frightening news that He is going to destroy the world and all the people in the world because of all the violence and evil. In this case God was bringing judgment on the world – His righteous judgment on sin.
People had chosen to corrupt themselves and this could only lead to their destruction. However, so often when we sin, it not that God judges us, but rather that we judge ourselves. We bring the judgment down on ourselves. It grieved God then and it grieves Him today when we disobey Him. He longs for us to turn back to Him. God does not want any to perish.
In 6:14-16, Noah received detailed instructions that he was to follow in building the ark. What a monster boat this Ark was! Noah had more than enough work to keep him occupied for a century. The text doesn’t tell us whether Noah’s sons’ helped or if he hired laborers. Remember, there were no trucks, no chain saws, and no cranes back then.
A question that is often asked or argued, is: How could Noah’s ark hold between one-half billion to over a billion species of animals?
First, the modern concept of “species” is not the same as a “kind” in the Bible. There are probably only several hundred different “kinds” of land animals that would have to be taken into the ark. (Dogs, Cats, Horses, etc.) The sea animals stayed in the sea, and many species could have survived in egg form.
Second, Noah could have taken younger varieties of some larger animals. Third, as I have already said, the ark was not small; it was a huge structure—the size of a modern ocean liner.
Furthermore, it had three stories (6:16), which tripled its space to a total of over 1.5 million cubic feet! Given all these factors, there was plenty of room for all the animals, food for the trip, and the eight humans aboard.
After giving the dimensions, in 6:17, God authoritatively speaks: “I am going to bring floodwaters on the earth to destroy all life under the heavens, every creature that has the breath of life in it. Everything on earth will perish.” This verse places emphasis on the personal role of God in the ensuing storm. The phrase “I, even I” reminds us that God is responsible for natural disasters.
Ultimately, He is the sovereign Controller of the universe. Therefore, we can trust in Him and what He brings into our lives and the lives of others.
Yet, in the midst of the flood’s promise, there is good news. In 6:18, God says to Noah, “But I will establish My covenant with you; and you shall enter the ark—you and your sons and your wife, and your sons’ wives with you.” This is the first occurrence of the word “covenant” (berith) in the Old Testament.
Here, in the midst of judgment, the Lord stooped down to meet the needs of His servant. In the wake of our tragedies and trials, God wants to do the same for us. He longs to speak to us through His Word. He wants to draw us close to Him. Are we running to Him or away from Him?
This verse also illustrates another important biblical principle. While God bestows His saving grace and love on individuals, He is concerned about their families as well. Acts 16:31 summarizes this: “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” God loves to save families.
Chapter 6:19-22, concludes with these words: “You are to bring into the ark two of all living creatures, male and female, to keep them alive with you. Two of every kind of bird, of every kind of animal and of every kind of creature that moves along the ground will come to you to be kept alive. You are to take every kind of food that is to be eaten and store it away as food for you and for them.”
Apparently, all of the animals would “come to” Noah voluntarily (6:20). It would seem that he would not have to hunt them down or look for them in remote places. Their natural instinct for self- preservation, along with a special act of God, would bring them to Noah’s ark.
Join us next week as we continue to look into Noah and the great flood.