“And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them. But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD” (Genesis 6:5-8).
The earth was so wicked that God told Noah that He had no choice but to destroy everything in a worldwide cataclysmic flood, but there was a ray of hope in the midst of the darkness. “Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.”
The Bible says that Noah was “a just man and perfect” man who “walked with God” (Genesis 6:9). It was this fact that set him apart from everyone else at that time. He was different, and no doubt considered to be an oddball by those who knew him. He was different from the rest because he obeyed God’s word. People today, even in our churches, want to be the same as some famous person or someone they admire. Parents often hear their children say, “Everyone else has got one, so why can’t I?” The people who behaved the same, spoke the same and believed the same soon found themselves in the same place, outside the ark. Only the ones who were different were on the inside under the protective care of God.
We have to dare to be different because Scripture demands that we should. “Be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:2) … “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God” (James 4:4) … “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15) … “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:1-3). Do we really need further proof than this?
Following God’s formula
God told Noah exactly how he and his family could escape the coming total wipeout. He received specific instructions on how to build the ark, from what wood to use to the number of rooms it contained. God told him the exact number of persons and how many of each kind of animal that would come into the ark. The point of all the facts and figures is that Noah had to follow the Lord’s formula for success. He was not allowed to deviate from what God told him.
God’s people have always been commanded to follow His laws and instructions, for doing everything the way He has ordained is absolutely necessary for a blessed life. Even if we do not fully understand the reasons why it has to be done in a precise why, let us do it, because He knows best. “Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount” (Hebrews 8:5). Moses learned the hard way that only a slight deviation from God’s word can keep a person from entering into the promised rest. “And Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod he smote the rock twice: and the water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts also. And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron, Because ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them” (Numbers 20:11-12).
The way God does things and the way man does them are often completely different. By nature man is inclined to do things opposite to the word of God. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9). This is why we need to continuously seek the Lord’s guidance on all matters. “Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls” (Jeremiah 6:16) … “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
Faith and fear
“By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith” (Hebrews 11:7). Noah’s fear moved him to faith. There is nothing wrong with that kind of fear! What was the evidence of Noah’s faith other than outright obedience to the will of God? The modern churchgoer does not understand how faith and fear go hand in hand to produce true love for God. Someone who claims to have faith but does not fear God cannot truly love Him. “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil” (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14) … “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28) … “And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear” (1 Peter 1:17).
Someone might object and quote 1 John 4:18, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love”, but this love casts out the fear of man rather than the fear of God. If we truly love and fear the Lord then we will not fear man. “So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me” (Hebrews 13:6). It is certain that Noah feared the Lord but had no fear of his fellow man. His love, faith and fear led him to obey everything the Lord said, right down to the smallest detail.
The children’s Sunday School song says that “Mister Noah built an Ark” and “The people thought it quite a lark”, but in the end “only eight were saved.” It is worth being different if it means the salvation of your soul. Think about it, all those people who lived at the time of Noah are now in Hell! God’s way is always the best way, so let us do it His way.