Noah – Genesis 6

Except for the increase in violence and crime, the times were pretty good. People were “eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage” (Matt. 24:38), and life was going on as usual. When friends met at the market or at wedding feasts, they laughed about Noah and his family “Imagine building that big boat on dry land!” or discussed Methuselah, the world’s oldest man (“He’ll die one of these days, mark my word!”), or talked about Enoch, the man who suddenly disappeared (“Strangest thing I ever heard!”).

Methuselah was Noah’s grandfather, and Noah knew that when he died, nothing stood in the way of God’s judgment falling on a wicked world. For over a century, Noah had been warning people about the coming judgment, but only his own family had believed him and trusted the Lord.

Then Methuselah died and things began to happen. One day, Noah and his family entered their “boat” and the rains came. (“It can’t go on forever,” people said. “It’ll stop one of these days.”) But it rained for forty days and forty nights, and subterranean explosions discharged more water on the earth. Even after the rain stopped, the water continued to rise; and within five months, the whole earth was under water and everything that breathed was dead. Everything, that is, except Noah and his family, the eight people everybody laughed at.

What kind of a person was Noah? He was the kind of person you and I should be and can be as we live in our world today.

A believing man who walked with God (Gen. 6:9-13)

“But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord” (v. 8) introduces the third of the “generation” statements in Genesis: “These are the generations of Noah” (v. 9). Noah wasn’t a minor character in the story of redemption; he’s mentioned eighty times in nine different books of the Bible.

Noah was a righteous man (v. 9; 7:1). This is the first time the word “righteous” is used in the Bible, but Noah’s righteousness is also mentioned in other places (Ezek. 14:14, 20; Heb. 11:7; 2 Peter 2:5). Noah’s righteousness didn’t come from his good works; his good works came because of his righteousness. Like Abraham, his righteousness was God’s gift in response to his personal faith. Both Abraham and Noah believed God’s Word “and it was counted to [them] for righteousness” (Gen. 15:6; see Heb. 11:7; Rom. 4:9ff; Gal. 3:1ff).

The only righteousness God will accept is the righteousness of Jesus Christ, His Son (2 Cor. 5:21); and the only way people can receive that righteousness is by admitting their sins and trusting Jesus Christ to save them (Rom. 3:19-30; Gal. 2:16). Noah must have learned this important truth from his father Lamech (Gen. 5:28-29), who learned it from his father Methuselah, who learned it from his father Enoch. How important it is to teach our children and grandchildren how to trust the Lord!

Noah was a blameless man (v. 9). If “righteous” describes Noah’s standing before God, then “blameless” describes his conduct before people. “Blameless” doesn’t mean “sinless,” because nobody but Jesus Christ ever lived a sinless life on this earth (1 Peter 2:21-22). The word means “having integrity, whole, unblemished.” It was used to describe the animals acceptable to God for sacrifice (Ex. 12:5; Lev. 1:3, 10). Noah’s conduct was such that his neighbors couldn’t find fault with him (Phil. 2:12-16).

The person who is right before God through faith in Christ ought to lead a life that is right before people, for “faith without works is dead” (James 2:14ff). Paul warned about “unruly and vain talkers and deceivers…who profess that they know God, but in works they deny Him” (Titus 1:10, 16). Noah wasn’t that kind of person.

Noah was a man who walked with God (Gen. 6:9). His great-grandfather Enoch had “walked with God” and was suddenly taken to heaven and rescued from the impending judgment of the Flood (5:24). Noah walked with God and was taken safely through the judgment. Enoch modeled a godly way of life for Methuselah. Methuselah must have passed it along to his son Lamech who shared it with his son Noah. How wonderful it is when generation after generation in one family is faithful to the Lord, especially at a time in history when violence and corruption are the normal way of life.

The life of faith and obedience is compared to a “walk” because this life begins with one step: trusting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. This step of faith leads to a daily walk, a step at time, as the Lord directs us. He commands us to “walk in love” (Eph. 5:2), “walk as children of light” (v. 8), “walk in the Spirit” (Gal. 5:16, 25), and “walk circumspectly [carefully]” (Eph. 5:15). A step at a time, a day at a time, we walk with the Lord; and He guides us into His will and blesses us with His wisdom and strength.

Noah was an obedient man (Gen. 6:22; 7:5,16). One of the major messages in Scripture is that we must not only hear God’s Word but we must also obey it (James 1:22-25). Because Noah was obedient to the Lord, his “house” wasn’t destroyed when the storm came (Matt. 7:24-27). It wasn’t easy for Noah and his family to obey the Lord, because the rest of the population was disobeying God and rebelling against His will. According to Enoch, they were ungodly people committing ungodly deeds in ungodly ways and speaking ungodly words against the Lord God (Jude 15).

Whether it has to do with sexual abstinence, using alcohol and drugs, or joining gangs and breaking the law, we hear a great deal today about “peer pressure.” It’s the excuse for all kinds of illegal and immoral behavior, from cheating on your income tax to cheating on your spouse. But anybody who has ever developed godly character has had to fight against peer pressure, including Noah and his family, Abraham and his family, Moses in Egypt (Heb. 11:24-26), and Daniel and his friends in Babylon (Dan. 1). Resisting peer pressure means not only saying a determined no to people but also a dedicated yes to the Lord (Rom. 12:1-2).

Most people know that Noah built an ark. What they may not know is that he also built a godly character and a godly family. Had it not been for Noah’s godly family, Abraham wouldn’t have been born; and without Abraham, would there have been a Jewish nation, the Bible, and the Savior?

A faithful man who worked for God (Gen. 6:14-22)

The secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him; and He will show them His covenant” (Ps. 25:15). When you walk with God, He speaks to you through His Word and tells you what you need to know and to do. Christians are more than just servants who do His will; we’re also His friends who know His plans (John 15:14-15). God’s plan involved three responsibilities for Noah and his family.

Building an ark (vv. 14-17). God told Noah what his task was: to build a wooden vessel that would survive the waters of the Flood and keep Noah and his family safe. If the cubit mentioned was the standard cubit of eighteen inches, then the vessel was 450 feet long, 75 feet wide, and 45 feet high. It had three decks, one door, and a series of small windows eighteen inches high right under the roof, providing light and ventilation. The three decks were divided into compartments (Gen. 6:14) where the various animals would be kept and where Noah and his family would live.

This vessel was designed for flotation, not navigation. It was a huge wooden box that could float on the water and keep the contents safe and dry. Dr. Henry Morris calculated that the ark was large enough to hold the contents of over 500 livestock railroad cars, providing space for about 125,000 animals. Of course, many of the animals would be very small and not need much space; and when it came to the large animals, Noah no doubt collected younger and smaller representatives. There was plenty of room in the vessel for food for both humans and animals (v. 21), and the insects and creeping things would have no problem finding places to live on the ark.

Trusting God’s covenant (v. 18). This is the first use of the word “covenant” in the Bible. The word appears often in Scripture because the covenant concept is an important part of God’s great plan of redemption. (God would explain His covenant to Noah after he left the ark; 8:20-9:17.) A covenant is an agreement that involves obligations and benefits for the parties involved. In some of the covenants, God alone is the “covenant party” and makes unconditional promises to His people. But there were also covenants that required His people to fulfill certain conditions before God could bless them.

God’s words in 6:13-21 were addressed specifically to Noah, but God also included Noah’s family in the covenant (v. 18). Noah didn’t become a father until he was 500 years old (5:32), and he entered the ark when he was 600 (7:6); so his three sons were still “young” as far as pre-Flood ages were concerned. Ham was the youngest son (9:24) and Japheth was the eldest (10:21), and all three boys were married (7:13).

The fact that God had covenanted to care for Noah and his family gave them the peace and confidence they needed as they prepared the ark and then lived in it for over a year. God is faithful to keep His promises, and as God’s covenant people, the eight believers had nothing to fear.

Gathering the animals (vv. 19-22). God not only wanted humans to be preserved from destruction but also every kind of creature that would be drowned by the waters of the Flood. But how was Noah to gather such a large number of animals, birds, and creeping things? God would cause these creatures to come to Noah (v. 20; 7:8, 15) and Noah would take them into the ark (6:19). This included not only pairs of unclean animals who would be able to reproduce after the Flood, but also seven pairs of clean animals, some of whom would be used for sacrifices (8:20; 9:3). Noah and his family not only learned about the faithfulness of God, but they also saw the sovereignty of God in action.

In His sovereign power, God brought the animals to Noah and his sons and controlled them so that they did His bidding. However, this magnificent demonstration of God’s power didn’t touch the hearts of his neighbors, and they perished in the Flood. The birds, beasts, and creeping things knew their Creator’s voice and obeyed Him, but people made in the image of God refused to heed God’s call. Centuries later, God would say through His servant Isaiah, “The ox knows his master, the donkey his owner’s manger, but Israel does not know, my people do not understand” (Isa. 1:3, niv).

During all of this important activity, Noah was serving the Lord and bearing witness to a sinful world. For 120 years (Gen. 6:3), God was long-suffering toward the violent and rebellious people; but they ignored His message and lost their opportunity for salvation.

Today things haven’t changed much. Each day thousands of people are warned of God’s inevitable judgment, yet most of them don’t really believe it will happen. Don’t expect people to welcome or accept your message of God’s coming judgment on sin. Those who don’t believe in God will deny his judgment and try to get you to deny God as well. But remember God’s promise to Noah to keep him safe. This can inspire you to trust God for deliverance in the judgment that is sure to come.


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Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary – Pentateuch, (Colorado Springs, CO: Victor, 2001), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 60-64.

Life Application Study Bible, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale, 1988), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 92-93.

About dkoop

Lead Pastor of Upwards Church: Leander & Jarrell, TX
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