Genesis 6:14 (NKJV) 14 “Make yourself an ark of gopherwood; make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and outside with pitch.
Genesis 6:22 (NKJV) 22 Thus Noah did; according to all that God commanded him, so he did.
This week I have been looking at one of the great men of the Old Testament, Noah. Noah was great because he found grace in the eyes of God. He found this grace because he was different from every other person in his world. The whole world was full of such evil that the intent of every thought of every person was only evil continually. Noah chose to continue to believe in God in the midst of this wicked generation. The bible says he was perfect in his generation. That does not mean flawless. It simply means he did the best he could to walk before God in righteousness.
We must walk as true Christians in our generation. God does not expect us to be flawless. He does expect us to walk in the light that we have. James tells us that we must be both hearers and doers of the Word of God. If we hear but do not do the word, we deceive ourselves. It is dangerous to sit in Church, hear the Word of God, experience the presence of the Holy Spirit and not walk in the truth we learn. We become insensitive to the greatness of God and his Word and we will find ourselves doing things and making choices that get us into trouble.
It is the will of God for each of us to grow in God. Look at the admonition in the book of Hebrews.
Hebrews 5:12-14 (NKJV) 12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. 13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. 14 But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
God desires that we grow into maturity. He does not expect what we are not ready to give. He does expect that we drink the milk of the Word and grow into the meat. He expects that we pass on to others what we learn. The last verse is particularly revealing. In James 1 we read of someone who hears but does not do the Word. He is like someone who looks in a mirror but does nothing to improve his appearance. In Hebrews, we see that the goal is that even our senses be trained to discern good and evil.
Overcoming our flesh is one of the most difficult things any Christian must do. Our flesh has been trained in a world ruled by spiritual death. It tends to want pleasure and gratification to the excess. It will crave things that are bad for it to the point of death. This scripture tells me that I can come to the place by doing the Word where my flesh will begin to reject what is ungodly and do what is right.
This brings me to the defining characteristic in Noah’s life. What really made him different? Why did he find grace with God when the rest of humanity did not? The most important thing we see in Noah’s life was not that he was particularly gifted or powerful. He was not a ruler or a general. He was really nobody. The people of his day ridiculed him. What set him apart is what we see in the two verses we read today.
God told Noah to build an ark. Noah built the ark. Noah obeyed God! It was obedience that made Noah great in the Kingdom of God and it is obedience that will make you and me great in the Kingdom as well.
We often look for complicated answers to questions. We want to hear God give us grand directions and reveal the deep purposes in our lives. He did that with Noah, but there was a reason he could. Noah was an obedient man. Let me highlight some ways he was obedient.
We have already talked about one in detail. Noah went against the flow of the world he lived in. Everyone else thought one way but Noah chose to obey God’s way. If we will not cultivate this kind of obedience, God cannot reveal his purpose for our destiny. We must first obey in principle and behavior before God can trust us with more.
Second, Noah obeyed in that he preached righteousness. 2 Peter 2:5 calls Noah a preacher of righteousness. We can only imagine the kind of ridicule Noah endured when he told the people of his day that a flood was coming. God revealed to him that it was going to rain for forty days and nights. There is no record of rain at this point in the bible. The earth was watered by the mist that went up from the ground. (Genesis 2:6))
Noah stood before his people and declared the Word of the Lord to them. He declared that sin had caused the Lord to bring destruction on them. He told them it was going to rain and the world would be flooded. They did not know what rain was. They could not conceive of such a thing as a worldwide flood. Yet Noah obeyed and preached what God told him to say.
One interesting thing about Noah’s obedience is that there was never any chance that the people would hear and repent. They were all going to die. Even so, God told Noah to preach his message and Noah obeyed. Sometimes we feel that no one is listening to our message. We feel that we are wasting our time by preaching the Gospel. We must be willing to obey anyway. Our obedience to preach will enable God to reveal more to us. If we will not obey the Great Commission, he will not give us a more personal commission.
Moses obeyed in another way that may seem somewhat unrelated. He built the ark in obedience to God but he built the ark for his family. God used it to preserve the animals of the earth, but in Noah’s heart, I am sure he was more concerned with protecting his family. I still live in the house where my children spent most of their growing up years. We have had various pets in that home as well. I did not pay the heat, electricity and mortgage for the animals. I paid them for my children.
I believe it is a matter of obedience to God that we protect our families. We need to teach our children the ways of God. We need to raise them in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. We need to protect our marriages so that we can have the agreement and stability a good home provides. Why was this so important in Noah’s day? Why was protecting his family a matter of obedience that made him so great that he could save the world?
Who was it that was going to replenish the earth? Who was it that was going to become the people who would eventually produce the Messiah who would take away the sin of the world? It was his children. When we protect our families and make sure our homes are places where God reigns, we ensure that the Gospel will be preached until Jesus comes. Those that are saved because of our obedience to protect our families will be credited to our account.
If we do not protect our families, we jeopardize the future of the Gospel. I have many questions about the world in which my grandchildren will live. If we do not build an ark of protection in our homes, I wonder if they will be able to withstand what the devil has in store.
Finally, we read that Moses built the ark. It is just that simple. He did what God asked him to do. God did not ask him to raise an army. He did not ask him to build a financial empire. He asked him to build a boat. We need to do what God has asked us to do. We are not required to do anything more or anything less. What have you left undone. Examine your life and ask the Lord to help you. If there is something, than do it. Do not discount the power of simple obedience to produce greatness in the kingdom of God.