Hebrews 11:7 (NKJV) 7 By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.
We are looking at the Hall of Fame of faith in Hebrews chapter 11. This chapter contains a list of people who “obtained a good report” for the things they did by faith in God. What was it about them that enabled them to have such an outstanding walk of faith that God would set them apart? We have looked at Abel, who worshiped by faith and Enoch who walked with God by faith. Today I want to look at one of the most famous characters in the Old Testament. His name is Noah.
Noah lived in the most corrupt period in all human history. I am always moved by how the bible describes humanity in Noah’s day. The NKJV says that every thought and intention of their hearts were only evil continually. The NLT puts it in a more modern perspective.
Genesis 6:5 (NLT2) 5 The LORD observed the extent of human wickedness on the earth, and he saw that everything they thought or imagined was consistently and totally evil.
It is often hard to reconcile the loving God that we know destroying everything on the earth, but we must understand what was at stake here. Everything the people of Noah’s day thought or imagined was consistently and totally evil. Sin had taken over. The knowledge of the God of the universe would be removed from the earth. Man could never be redeemed because there would be no one left to become the channel for the Messiah.
There was one family and one man left who stilled feared God. His name was Noah. How long would 1 family maintain its righteousness in a world so corrupt? I believe God, who is all knowing and all wise, determined that they would not survive. They would be killed either physically or spiritually. Either way, all of God’s family, both past and present would be lost. He could not allow that.
God needed a man of extraordinary faith to preserve the seed of the race he created as his family. God needed Noah. What were the things about Noah’s faith that made it so powerful in the eyes of God? First let me say that it was not because he was a perfect man. After the flood, Noah did something that proved he was just as human as the rest of us. However, at the point where God needed him, Noah showed Hall of Fame faith.
In Hebrews 11 we learn some of what made his faith great. It says that Noah was warned of things that were not yet seen. The world of Noah’s day had no idea what was coming. They were full of such contempt for God that they thought they could continue in their sin without consequence. Anyone who said differently would have been ridiculed and rejected. Quite probably, they would have been subject to attack and persecution.
I find this very similar to our day. Secular humanism has infiltrated most of our society. Man is now seen as the pinnacle of all that is. His wisdom and his opinions are what counts. It is not at all popular to think in terms of absolutes of right and wrong. These are ideas that are seen as relative. Anyone who looks at things in society that the Bible teaches as wrong and says as much, is treated in the same way Noah would have been. Nevertheless, Noah believed what God was telling him even though he had no proof. The Word of God was enough.
I believe we need people to stand up for what is right today. God does not set the standards of right and wrong in the Bible to hurt us or limit us. He sets them because he sees what we do not. He understands a higher truth than we do. Sin is toxic to humanity. In the beginning it resulted in the separation of God and man in the Garden of Eden. In Noah’s day it produced so much corruption in the hearts of people that every thought they thought was evil. Every dream they had was fueled by evil. Their lives were so dominated by evil things that God was left with two choices. He could simply destroy them all and start over or he could find someone with the faith to save the future of humanity. He found Noah.
Noah believed something no one else did. He did not believe it just because of what he saw. He believed that destruction was coming because God Said so. He believed the Word of God above all else. That is the essence of Hall of Fame faith. We have already seen that Noah was not perfect, but look at what God says about him in verses 8 and 9 of Genesis 6.
Genesis 6:8-9 (NKJV) 8 But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD. 9 This is the genealogy of Noah. Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God.
Noah found grace in the eyes of God. Not because he was perfect. He found grace because he was a just man and perfect in his generations. That does not mean he never made a mistake. It meant that in the context of his generation, he walked with God. He stood for God and his ways when no one else did. Noah’s faith caused him to go against the flow of his generations. Hall of Fame faith must be willing to believe what others cannot see and go against the flow of the times in which we live.
We have been given a grace that is far better than that in which Noah walked. We have been born again because of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. That grace can empower us to be people who are just and perfect in our generation. Not perfect in the sense of without flaw. Perfect in the sense that we choose to stand for God, his Word and his ways. Noah went against the flow of his generations. I believe that if we are going to have Hall of Fame faith, faith that causes God to take notice, we must be willing to do the same.
It has always been difficult for Christians to live in a sin dominated world. However, Noah’s world was worse than any since that time. I am often appalled at what I see today, yet I do not believe that everyone’s thoughts and intentions “are only evil continually.” If Noah could go against the flow of his generation, so can we. Let us look at a New Testament scripture that tells us the same thing.
2 Corinthians 6:16-18 (NKJV) 16 And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people.” 17 Therefore “Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you.” 18 “I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the LORD Almighty.”
God wants to be a Father to us and wants us for his children. He wants us to have the kind of relationship with him that will cause us to be effective in life. That relationship is the foundation of faith. To have that kind of faith, there is something we must do. We must “come out from among them and be separate.” We must go against the flow of our generation wherever it conflicts with God’s Word and his ways. If we do not, he still loves us, but we will run the risk of falling into sin and corruption. Worse to me, we run the risk of living a meaningless life that changes no one and nothing. I cannot abide that thoughf.
None of us is ever going to be perfect. We will always make mistakes. Thank God for his Grace! We can strive to be perfect in our generation. We can hear what the Word of God says even though the rest of the people around us do not. We can walk in a way that may make the world angry and cause rejection and persecution. If we do, we will find in the end that we have lived a life that pleases God and a life that will have mattered to those around us. When we stand before God, we will find we have made the Hall of Fame.
More on Noah next time.