Genesis 12:10 - 13:8
Yesterday I wrote about God calling Abram to leave his country and go to the land that the LORD would show him. I talked about Abram's faith and trust in God as he left everything and went where the Lord instructed. I stopped right before Abram met with God at Shechem and He re-iterated his promise of blessing to Abram. Eventually Abram settled in the Negeb (desert land in southern Canaan). After some time and a severe famine broke out and Abram went down to Egypt to stay for a while. Egypt served as a safe refuge when famine occurred. Often in the OT when famine breaks out the people go to Egypt. Egypt was the obvious place to go because in severe famines rivers would dry up and thus the vegetation would die because of lack of water. However the Nile was an enormous river and was not affected by the dry conditions.
What is strange about Abram’s journey to Egypt is that he instructs Sarai, his wife, to say to the Egyptians that she is Abrams brother because she is an attractive woman. According to Gordon Wenham, “Stranger still is Abram’s supposition that Sarai, aged about 65, should be regarded as outstandingly attractive. The narrative insists that this is not merely the opinion of a neurotically jealous husband, for the Egyptians heartily concurred.”
Ultimately Abram is afraid that Pharaoh would kill him if he found out he was her husband. The plan initially worked well for Abram at first because they treated him well and gave him livestock and riches. Eventually this little ploy affected Pharaoh’s household as it was struck with illness because she was Abram’s wife. Apparently God was not going to bless Abram’s deceit. When Pharaoh found out she was in fact his wife and not his sister he confronts Abram and tells him to take his wife and leave Egypt.
Vs 1 & 2 – Abram takes his family and possessions back to the Negeb. Apparently he is very wealthy. It is possible he gained some of his wealth in Egypt.
Vs 3 – 4 – On his journey north Abram goes back to where he began. It is quite possible that he returned to the place where he first met God so that he could recapture the experience of meeting with God. This was not an uncommon practice and even so among God’s people today. When we stray from God or face some sort of difficulty in life as believers we tend to go back to those times when we were closest to God; or we may even recount a time when we encountered God in such a way that we try to summon up this same exact experience. This may be the case for Abram as he goes back to the place where he built altars of worship to God; possibly the altars served as a visual reminder of the promise of God.
Vs 5 - 8 – As time moved on Abram’s and Lot’s possessions and livestock grew to the point here the land could not viably support both herds and this became a problem. Not only was space limited but food was scarce for the animals and conflict began to arise between the two families. This would make sense since the food and land was getting scarce the two herds would be fighting over the best plots of land for their herds. Both Abram and Lot saw this was becoming a problem. So instead of letting this conflict sever the relationship the two had with each other they decided it would be best if both parties went their separate ways. There is a lot of wisdom in conflict resolution. I will talk about this tomorrow.
 Wenham, G. J. (1998). Vol. 1: Genesis 1–15. Word Biblical Commentary (288). Dallas: Word, Incorporated.
Genesis 12:5 - 9
Vs 4 – 5: Obedience - Abram is 75 years old at the time of his calling and sets out as he’s told. He took Sarai and Lot with him and all their possessions. They head out to the land of Canaan. Abram’s obedience was clearly connected to his faith. Galatians 3:6 – 9 says, “just as Abraham 'believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness'? Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, 'In you shall all the nations be blessed.' So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.” The response of Abram to God is key. He did not have to go. He could have pulled a Jonah and did the complete opposite. The faith of Abram is great because he had nothing to go on other than God’s promise to bless him and his family.
Vs 7: Meeting with God –The Lord appears to Abram and re-iterates the promise to give the land to Abram’s offspring. It is here that Abram builds an altar of worship and most likely offers a sacrifice to the Lord. Both building an altar and offering sacrifice were expressions of faith in the promise and were integral to the worship of God. 
In this passage we have a lot we can glean from. The key that sticks out is that when God does call his people to give something up or leave something behind or go to a certain place he will replace that which was have given up with something much greater and far better. It may not seem like this at first because giving up or leaving behind can be scary, risky and may cause great anxiety or concern. When looking at the calling of Abram I notice three aspects that can apply individually today.
1) God’s call on your life – God has a plan and purpose for you. I do not know what God has called you to do but he has called you to something. What is that something?
2) His promise of blessing. What God ordains, God blesses. When God calls you somewhere or to do something you cannot fail. Sure there may be times when it may not look like this is true but God always gets his way. What success looks like for him may not necessarily line up with how you define success today.
3) Our response. When God calls and promises to bless; how will you respond? What does this look like for you? I can’t answer this questions for you but I can answer then for myself. There have been times in my life that I sensed God clearly called me to do something or to go to a place that I didn’t necessarily understand why or what he was up to. When God called me to Bible College it made no sense at all. I was a brand new Christian finally getting my life on track and He called me to sell all of my possessions, buy a ticket to California and spend two years in a remote mountain town studying the Bible exclusively. Then when I graduated from college I came home to work and make some money so I could live a comfortable life and my plan was to eventually move back to the West Coast. I worked construction for a time. I made very good money but God called me out from construction and into the ministry. Needless to say I took a HUGE pay cut to serve in the ministry as a youth pastor. It didn’t make sense but I believed God. Eventually after 7 years in ministry He called me to uproot my family and move from my home church in Jamestown, NY to serve in Erie, PA at a Presbyterian Church for another six years. Then seven years ago he called me once again to pack up my family and all of my belongings and move 800 miles away from family and friends. He called me here to Spring Valley, Wisconsin to Pastor a church for a season. Now He has called me to leave this church and pursue a path that I am on now that I do not fully understand... BUT I trust Him in faith that He has my back and is going to bless my family and I for HIS glory. Each time God has called me to a new location or to do something that may not seem logical it has never been easy but I have always been blessed.
My heart is not rooted in being comfortable and stable as much as it is to be in God’s will. My prayer has been and remains that I would be where God is calling me. This is my prayer and my desire.
 Wenham, G. J. (1998). Vol. 1: Genesis 1–15. Word Biblical Commentary (280). Dallas: Word, Incorporated.
Genesis 12:1 - 3
Following the Tower of Babel account and in the second part of Genesis 11 we come across the lineage of Shem (Noah’s son) to Abram (the patriarch of Israel). Terah was the father of Abram, Nahor and Haran. Haran (the father of Lot) died before his father so Lot became part of Abram’s family, it is suggested that Abram adopted Lot as his own son. Both Abram and Nahor took wives… Abram’s wife was Sarai (his half sister) and Nahor’s wife was Milcah (his niece and Lot’s sister). Sarai could not have children (this is significant later).
Sometime after Nahor died Terah took Abram, Lot and Sarai from Ur of the Chaldeans to go to the land of Canaan but settled in Haran.
Ur – This was the birthplace of Abram and Sarai. The results of archaeological investigations demonstrate that Abraham came from a great city, cultured, sophisticated, and powerful. The landscape was dominated by the ziggurat, or temple tower, and the life of the city was controlled by a religion with a multiplicity of gods. The chief deity was Nannar, or Sin, the moon god, who was also worshiped at Haran.  Upon leaving Ur of the Chaldeans they intended to set out for Canaan but ended up settling in Haran.
Vs 1: The call - Abram was commanded or called by the LORD to leave his country, clan and family and go to a land that God would show him. Abram was called to leave the familiar and go out to the unfamiliar. God calls Abram to do something outrageous. It is outrageous because it would make sense for Abram to stay put in Haran with his elderly father and because his family, possessions and heritage was from this area (Also he was 75 years old). Sometimes God calls individuals to do things that don’t necessarily make a whole lot of sense. It is good to be reminded though that when he does he has a purpose and all the details are taken care of but he may not disclose the plan upfront. It is also good to be reminded that when God calls us to do something that may not make sense, it is always for his sake and his glory and not ours. He is a good God so He will bless what he calls you to do but he doesn’t guarantee it will be an easy and smooth transition.
We see this is true in the case of Jesus’ call to his disciples to leave everything behind and follow him. The Disciples were called to abandoning and trusting Jesus (Come and follow). Every disciple of Jesus gave up something to follow him. In most of their cases it was their livelihood. Some even left their families (they didn’t desert them but took time to follow and walk with Jesus.) In their abandonment they had to put complete trust in Jesus to meet their needs (financially, spiritually and physically) and give them assurance that they were doing God’s will. They had to trust that leaving all behind was for the Kingdom of God.
Vs. 2 – 3: The promise – God will make him into a great nation (this is key since he has no children and his wife is barren). According the NET Bible, “Now God begins to build his covenant people.” It is in this moment God establishes with Abram the blessing of making him a great nation that will bless the world. In contrast to the attitude of those in Babel who wanted to make a name for themselves God declares that HE will make Abram’s name great. He will bless (or make famous) Abram and his family. It is the LORD’s doing and not mans. God’s blessing of Abram will be an example to all nations of the divine blessings of the one and true God. In so doing Abram will be a blessing to the nations. The blessings that others will receive will come from how they treat Abram and his family. God will bless those who bless Abram and he will curse those who dishonor him. God shows favor to Abram. Ultimately in due time the whole world will be blessed because of God’s blessing to Abram.
Why did he choose Abram to be a vessel of blessing to all nations? This is another picture of grace. God chose Abram; because in his sovereignty he was going to accomplish great things. It had nothing to do with Abram. God did not see spectacular characteristics in Abram that made God come to this conclusion and calling. God calls Abram to leave and it may not have been the most sensible thing to do (humanly speaking) but God makes a promise to Abram that he will bless him and his family. Abram certainly couldn’t fully know what that blessing was since he had no children and really no land as of yet. All he had was the promise of God and this was enough for him.
Are God's promises enough for you?
 Elwell, W. A., & Comfort, P. W. (2001). Tyndale Bible dictionary. Tyndale reference library (1281). Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.
Genesis 11: 5 - 11
Verse 5 – In pagan religions the stairway was a means for a deity to come down to earth but the LORD does come down to see the people (presumably not using the stairway). Humans were prideful in building their enormous tower but God had to come down to see it. It was not even visible from his position. He was unimpressed.
“With heavy irony we now see the tower through God’s eyes. This tower which man thought reached to heaven, God can hardly see! From the height of heaven it seems insignificant, so the Lord must come down to look at it!”
Verse 6 - 8 – What will humanity be capable of if they continue in this state? They will become more self sufficient. In order to stop what was happening God confused their language. God dispersed them by confusing their language…
Verse 9 – The place where this city is built was named Babel because it was there that the Lord confused their language. The word Babel sounds like the Hebrew word which means confusion.
What can we learn from this text passage? I think it can be summed up as Religion vs. Relationship. We live in a very religious world. If you were to ask around in your community you would find many people who are VERY religious. I have talked to many people who attend a particular church, or belong to various church organizations and clubs, and all too often they tell me they grew up in the church, were confirmed in the church and baptized in the church. These are not bad things. What I did discover is many people are affiliated with and have put their faith in a church, a religion or a misconstrued concept of Christianity and not a Savior. This is not unlike the people of Shinar. There is a clear distinction between being religious and being in a relationship with God and they are as follows...
People who are religious are very much like humanity in Shinar. The three characteristics of humanity in Babel are definitely present in religious people.
1) Pride – Religious people are prideful; they do things to be seen, they do things to gain favor and they do things to make a name for themselves. A religious person may be a giving person only if it makes him or her look good in the eyes of the public. A religious person is very pious. They have a pharisaical attitude… They have the outward appearance of being religious but they are dead on the inside.
2) Works based faith – Religious people depend on their works to save them. A religious person will attend church out of obligation or to "fulfill their end of the bargain.” A religious person will say lies like, “I am not a bad person”. Thus a religious person doesn’t see the need for a savior. A religious person will do things to get something in return. A religious person keeps track of their “good deeds” and as long as their good deeds outweigh the bad then they are all good.
3) Serve a small god - Religious people serve a god who can be manipulated and controlled. They make deals with God like “If you do this for me then I will do that for you.” They don’t fully trust God or think he is trustworthy. You may hear religious people say, “If God is like that then I don’t want to serve him.” Religious people put God in a box. They have what I call a “genie complex” – He has all the power in the world but confined to a teeny tiny box. He is only called upon when needed. He is expected to meet our every beckon call. He in fact serves humanity.
A relationship with God/Jesus looks completely opposite. It looks like this…
1) Humility – When you belong to Jesus Christ you know your position in the relationship. You walk in humility. You know that all you have has been given to you by God. Those in Christ walk in humility and lowliness; putting the needs of others before themselves. They serve others because they love God. They do not look for applause or recognition for what they do because they are doing it unto Jesus Christ.
2) Grace – People in relationship with Jesus Christ know that their salvation and redemption is based completely on grace. They have life not because they are a great and wonderful people who have a lot to offer God. They have a relationship because God in his grace has given Jesus Christ to die in their place and by faith they become a new creation. Salvation is not based on merits or works, but on the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross.
3) Sovereignty – God is all powerful. He is limitless. He has no needs. He is self sufficient. He is holy. Romans 11:36 states, “For from him, through him and to him are all things…” Everything is because of God. Nothing is out of his control and nothing can shake him. A person in relationship with Jesus trusts him because he is trustworthy.
Religion is man based and focused. What is God going to do for me? Relationship is centered on the Gospel and rooted in the God of all creation. It is about what Jesus has already done for humanity… We can attempt to build our own tower of Babel in our own power just to end up frustrated and falling short. God does not need a tower built for him; He sent Jesus instead. In closing I’d like to read a quote from Tim Keller that sums it up pretty well, “The purpose of religious efforts is to get access to God so that (we) can get God to do what (we) want. The goal of true faith is to give God access to our heart so that he can get (us) to do what he wants. Religions true purpose is to get God to serve (us); gospel faith’s purpose is to get (Our) heart to serve him.”
 Wenham, G. J. (1998). Vol. 1: Genesis 1–15. Word Biblical Commentary (240). Dallas: Word, Incorporated.
Genesis 11:1 - 5
Verse 1 – Prior to the flood the earth is repopulated and all humanity stems from the lineage of Noah. Consequently the people lived together and spoke the same language.
Verse 2 – Humanity migrated east (continued moving further east from the Garden of Eden) and came upon the land of Shinar. (The location is probably Babylon – vs. 9).
Verse 3 – 4 – People decided to build a city. “Let us make bricks…” We are told this because in this plain there was no easily accessible stone around to build buildings. If they wanted to use stones they would have had to transport them from many miles and this would have been long hard work. So they made bricks. It is believed that the brick and mortar combination made for waterproofed buildings. This is Interesting to note because these buildings may have been water proofed because they feared God would flood the world again and they wanted to be prepared. It is possible they had complete disregard for God’s promise to never flood the world again with water. It would appear that humanity may not have trusted God.
Let us build a city – Up to this point people did not live in cities. Humanity wanted to stay in one place as they did not want to scatter. They wanted to stay in one place and develop a civilization or city that was built on their own accomplishments. They were attempting to build a city without the help and oversight of God. We see that they were building a city that would promote them and not God. The purpose of the city was not to glorify God but to glorify man.
Let us build a tower – The most common towers in ancient Mesopotamia (which is where Shinar or Babylon are located) were ziggurats. Traditionally a ziggurat resembled a pyramid ranging from 60 feet per side to almost 200 feet per side. It was a religious or sacred tower dedicated to particular deities. People did not use the tower as it was sacred and it was intended for the specific deity. One of the main features was the stairway that led to the top of the tower. At the top was usually a room with a bed and table set for the deity. “The stairway was a visual representation of this which was believed to be used by the gods to travel from one realm to another.”  It was a tower built to a god of their own design. It is believed all false religions can be traced back to Babylon (any even the Tower of Babel).
So, why did they want to build the tower? They wanted to make a name for themselves. The building of tower symbolizes or shows us three things about humanity and their views of God.
1) Pride – They wanted to make a name for themselves and in so doing they were declaring their independence from God. Pride always leads to sinful behavior (Proverbs 16:18 – 19). They essentially were saying “Let us show God or the particular deity they created, how great we are by what we accomplish together.” Or rather let us show God what we can do without him. They wanted to leave a legacy or be remembered for their accomplishments. In making a name for themselves they are declaring they do not need God. They wanted to establish their own city, religion and culture based on their accomplishments and not Gods.
2) Human achievement as a means to God. Humanity was trying to get to God in its own power. This was humanities attempt once again to become like God. If they could reach him they could be like him. In the OT God always came to man not the other way around (John 14:6).
3) Man meeting the needs of God. The tower symbolized or served as a doorway or stairway for the gods. In doing this they were putting their god in a box thus making their god a needy god. They wanted to create a god that they could control and one who is indebted to them. (Acts 17:24 – 29, Romans 11:34 – 36)They no longer needed the true God they wanted a god that was brought down to the level of humanity.
 Walton, John H. (2001). The NIV Application Commentary: Genesis (409). Grand Rapids: Zondervan
I think it is important to note that Noah did not have blind faith. He was a righteous man, he was blameless and he walked with God. Noah knew God invariably. He had a faith that was certain (keyword) God would do what he said. When God revealed his plan he did not build the ark and hope that God was going to do what he said. He built the ark and knew that God would follow through. This reveals a lot about Noah’s faith.
Vs 1: Faith – The assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. The word faith is not just a general have faith but is πίστις (Pisitis) which means a strong conviction of truth. In particular biblical faith it is a strong conviction of belief respecting man’s relationship to God and divine things. It is not wishful thinking. DA Carson writes, “In a world where people dismiss faith as ‘wishful thinking’, or simply identify it with the beliefs and practices of a particular religion (e.g. ‘the Muslim faith’), it is good to have a comprehensive picture of the faith that actually pleases God. Hebrews shows the link between faith, hope, obedience and endurance, illustrating that it is more than intellectual assent to certain beliefs. God-honouring faith takes God at his word and lives expectantly and obediently in the present, waiting for him to fulfill his promises.”  In short faith is the certainty that what God says will happen, will actually happen. In this chapter the author notes that people of the Old Testament were commended by their faith.
Vs 6: Without faith it is impossible to please God. The faith of the old patriarchs pleased God. The faith of Enoch caused him to walk with God and eventually had him taken up to heaven to be with God. The author of Hebrews states that belief in God is the foundation of faith. In order to have any kind of relationship with God one must first believe that he exists and that he will keep his promises.
Vs 7: By faith Noah built an ark and entered it so he and his family would be saved from the flood. God fore warns Noah about the coming destruction. Noah reacted in with a God-honoring fear and reverent submission. It is evident that Noah in faith believed and trusted that God was going to do what he had told Noah.
For the past few weeks we have looked at the biblical account of the flood. So what can we take with us concerning this account? What can we ultimately learn about God, Noah and ourselves?
Here are a few thoughts …
God is always trustworthy and He knows what He is doing. Often God invites us to be part of something big and we may not understand fully what he is up to (Henry Blackaby calls them God-sized assignments). However when He invites us to join him faith is always required. When God does speak to you/us He reveals what He is going to do. Our response to him ultimately determines or reveals a lot about our faith. Do you/we have confidence that what God promises will come to pass? If I/we have faith in God I/we will obey him and He will bring to pass what he has determined. Our obedience indicates our faith and trust in God. My/Our faith helps us to confidently walk in obedience because I/we know that what he has purposed he will bring to pass. When God initiates He will equip us to do the task we are set out to do. He doesn’t assign us something and not give us the resources to accomplish it. Ultimately if God calls us to or initiates his work then He will complete it or make it come to pass.
 New Bible commentary: 21st century edition. 1994 (D. A. Carson, R. T. France, J. A. Motyer & G. J. Wenham, Ed.) (4th ed.) (1345). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press.
Interestingly in the English Standard Version (ESV) Bible in chapters 6 & 7 the author mentions four times that Noah does all that God commands him. This is significant because it tells us he was obedient to God. Noah had a solid faith. He knew God’s heart and he trusted Him exclusively. Ultimately Noah knew the will of God. He knew where God was going or in this case what he was doing and he was on board with God and resulted in him doing all he was told.
Vs 1: After Noah completed the ark God commanded him to enter into it. God reiterates Noah’s righteousness among the generation of his time.
Vs 2 - 3: Take with you seven pairs of clean and unclean animals and birds… This was set this way so that life could be preserved. We see later in Chapter eight the reason for taking the clean animals so Noah could offer sacrifices.
Vs 4: God is more specific in detailing his judgment. In seven days the flooding will begin and all living things outside of the ark will be destroyed.
Vs 5: Once again Noah did what he was commanded.
Vs 6 – 16: Noah was 600 years old when the rain began. On the 17th day of the second month the waters begin to gush up from streams and wells. The waters also burst from the subterranean ocean floor causing the waters to rise and a great down pours of rain came as the skies from heaven opened up as well. It is believed this may be the first time that it had rained on the earth. On this very day Noah and his family and all paired creatures entered the ark. For forty days and forty nights the rains were a heavy downpour onto the earth.
“The Lord shut him in” – Once Noah, his family and all creatures had entered the ark the Lord shuts the door. This shows that the salvation of Noah is an act of divine grace. God saves him and his salvation is not the result of human wisdom, intelligence or planning. God seals him.
Vs 17 – 22: The waters increased and they ultimately prevailed. The waters became so deep that the mountains were submerged (about 270 feet above the mountains) and the ark sailed or traveled along on the waters. Everything left outside of the ark was killed and only those inside were saved. For 150 days the waters prevailed over all the earth.
From here on out I would like to encourage you to continue to read through to chapter 8:19 on your own. There is a lot of repetition and more detailed description of the flood account. One thing you may want to note was the amount of time Noah and his family were in the ark. If you have an ESV Study Bible you will see a chronology or timeline of Noah’s time spent in the ark. It is interesting to note he and his family spent a little over a year in the ark. The time spent in the ark is broken down into three parts. The first 150 days is where the waters prevail on the earth. It includes Noah and his family entering the ark seven days after God tells them the flood waters are coming. The flood and rain waters last for 40 days and 40 nights. The next 150 days is the time when the water abates and recedes. After a period of time the mountaintops become visible and 40 days later Noah sends out a raven. Then in three 7 day increments a dove was sent out each time with the dove returning two times and on the third journey the dove does not return. The next period is a 70 day period where the earth dries and eventually Noah leaves the ark. It is believed Noah and his family are in the ark for 370 days. This is a long time to be in a big floating box with thousands of animals.
Noah truly was a righteous man. In this flood account we see something about the faith of Noah. Some have suggested that Noah had some sort of super faith and that is why he was preserved. His faith certainly was a factor but as I noted earlier it was not a blind faith. In reality this story is not so much about Noah as it is about God. Noah’s faith is certainly noteworthy and impressive but ultimately we see God as the main character in this story. He creates, He judges, he commands, and He saves.
Genesis 6:16 - 22
Verse 16: “Door” – This is essential for entering and exiting. This door later becomes a symbol for salvation.
Verse 17: God once again tells he will destroy the earth and up to this point there is only a general warning that destruction is coming. God details how this is going to happen.
“I will bring…” It is clear the flood is God’s doing. It is not an act of nature but it is the sovereign act of God. The result of the flood waters will be destruction of life. The God who creates life is now going to take life as an act of judgment. Everything thing that is living on the earth will perish.
Verse 18: Noah and his family will be saved. God will establish or confirm his covenant with Noah. This implies that God and Noah are already in a covenant relationship. This is the first mention of a covenant in the OT. Here the chief consequences of the covenant are mentioned: the deliverance of Noah, his family, and selected animals. Covenant – This suggests that God will maintain his relationship with Noah through the flood. A covenant is an agreement. In some cases it is a two sided agreement and in many cases with God it is a one sided decree or promise that he will make and keep. We will talk more specifically about the covenant in chapter 9.
We also see the basic unit of family in this passage… The family consists of Noah, his wife, his sons and his daughter in laws (and eventually or maybe including their children).
Verse 19: Noah is instructed to bring into the ark all living things. “Living things” speaks generally but God is more descriptive as there shall be one of every kind of living thing (birds, animals and creeping things) there should be one male and one female. Noah’s job is to keep them alive.
Verse 20: “shall come to you…” We are told in 19 that Noah is to bring the animals into the ark but in 20 it says “(they) shall come to you.” It is suggested that the animals came to Noah spontaneously (they shall come to you) but Noah would round them up and bring them into the ark.
Verse 21: Noah also needs to round up food. One can only imagine the task of getting and storing enough food for everyone on the ark.
Verse 22: “Noah did this; he did all that God commanded him.” This solidifies the fact that Noah was a righteous man. This is a strong passage to conclude with. Men and women who are considered right with God throughout the Bible are obedient men and women. We can learn a lot from Noah’s example. God told him what to do and Noah did it. It seems like a simple thing; right? We can only imagine what life was like for Noah. He is commanded to build this monstrosity of an ark, expect animals from all over to come so he can preserve them, gather enough food to feed everyone and everything and then enter the ark as the flood waters come. The amount of faith and obedience Noah had is somewhat heroic. This is what we can learn about Noah...
1. Noah was simply human – There was nothing spectacular about Noah. He was a man who walked with God.
2. Noah found favor with God – Because he walked with God he found favor with God.
3. Noah is obedient to God – Everything Noah did was in obedience to God. This tells us a lot about his faith.
4. Noah is saved from judgment – God preserves and protects Noah from the judgment. It is pretty common throughout the Bible that men and women who are in a right relationship with God are always protected by His divine judgment.
The Gospel is found in the flood.
I mentioned yesterday that the Ark serves as a symbol of Jesus Christ. Noah is told to enter the ark so he and his family saved. Likewise we are called to enter into a relationship with Jesus Christ so we may be saved from God’s eternal judgment. Noah sought refuge in the ark and you and I are called to seek refuge in Christ.
God establishes his covenant with Noah in this account and He establishes his covenant with us through Jesus Christ. All who trust or have faith in Jesus Christ are given the promise of salvation (safety, redemption, preservation). Amidst all the evil and wickedness that surrounds us today we can firmly hold on to the hope and promise of eternal life in Jesus Christ.
 Wenham, G. J. (1998). Vol. 1: Genesis 1–15. Word Biblical Commentary (175). Dallas: Word, Incorporated.
Genesis 6:11 - 14
The world God created was quickly increasingly becoming more evil and wicked. The Sons of God procreated with women and their offspring were a race of super human giants called the Nephilim. God saw the wickedness of the world and his heart was broken because humanity had turned completely away from him they were completely and continually evil. The Lord declares he will blot out humanity and all living creatures because of their wickedness. Amidst all the evil there was one righteous man in the land; his name was Noah and he found favor with God.
Vs 11: The earth was corrupt - spoiled… ruined. We know that the world was intended to be filled with living creatures; animals and humanity but instead it became filled with violence.
Violence - This denotes brute force or the oppression of the weak by the powerful, the poor by the rich or the unintelligent by the clever. This same word was used in various passages to denote injustice, murder, and rape. The world had become a place of evil.
Verse 12: “God saw…” implies that God was shocked at how corrupt the word had become. Twice we are told that the world was inhabited by evil that it was corrupt and wicked. “All flesh” – Both man and animals had become corrupt.
Verse 13: “God said to Noah…” We are told in verse 9 that Noah walked with God. This reveals to me the fact that a man who walks with God will communicate with God and God will communicate with him. Since Noah and God have a close relationship God reveals his plan to destroy his creation.
“I have determined…” God’s response to the corruption and violence on earth is to declare (It is implied that it is irrevocable, it is set) that he will destroy the world. He will not only destroy it but he will also destroy all living creatures with the earth.
Verse 14: There is salvation for the righteous. Noah is righteous and since God is about to ruin or destroy the earth he tells Noah to make an ark built to His specifications. The ark is intended to be a place of refuge during judgment.
“Ark” – interestingly the only other time this word is used is in Exodus 2:3, 5 where it signifies the basket Moses was placed in as a baby. The ark is a symbol of Christ. I'll talk about this more in the days to come.
Stories of a great flood that destroys humanity are told in cultures all around the world. There a literally hundreds of flood accounts, stories and myths and for the most part they are all similar in plot. God (or the gods) destroys humanity by sending a flood and humanity in preserved because one man and his family are saved from the catastrophe. The Hawaiian culture has a story about a man (Nu-u) who builds a canoe with a house on it to escape a great flood. He is saved and he attributes his safety to the moon. The creator god descends to the earth on a rainbow and corrects Hu’u and explained it was he who protected him.
The Hihking is a Chinese flood story about a man (Fuhi) and his family (wife, 3 sons, and 3 daughter-in laws) who survived aboard a boat when a great flood covered the land.
The Toltec Indians tell a story that after the world had been in existence for 1716 years it was then destroyed by a flood and only one family survived.
The closest parallels of the biblical flood come from Mesopotamia. In this version, the gods all agreed on a flood to stop human population growth as a sort of divine retribution. One god dissented and tipped off his worshiper Atrahasis (the equivalent of Noah). When the flood was unleashed, the gods cowered before it like dogs unable to control it. After the flood the gods hurried to the sacrifice as they were hungry, since sacrifices had stopped during the flood. One of the top gods was surprised to find a man had survived the flood.
The Mesopotamian and biblical accounts are very similar as they both deal with a person who is saved from the flood. There are minor differences between the two accounts but theologically they vary quite considerably. According to DA Carson, “These (theological differences) are so considerable that it seems likely that the author of the biblical account was deliberately trying to correct or refute the common oriental view of the flood. In particular Genesis is trying to explain what God is really like and how he relates to the world.”
For instance in the Mesopotamian account the gods are not sovereign, they had no control over the situation. They needed the sacrifice for food. They create the catastrophe but have no control over it. This is not so in the biblical account. God is sovereign, in complete control of the matter and in need of nothing from humanity.
With so many stories about a great or universal flood in history one would be hard pressed to call the flood account of Genesis a total myth. With a common theme in so many cultures it could be easy to conclude that an actual flood did occur in the past and it is a story or event that has been passed down from generations to generation.
Overall the theme and general plan of the flood story (6:9–9:17) is quite clear. Three elements make up the basic theme:
1) God saves Noah and his companions by having them embark in an ark.
2) God sends a flood which destroys the rest of the world.
3) He promises never to send another such flood.
 New Bible commentary: 21st century edition. 1994 (D. A. Carson, R. T. France, J. A. Motyer & G. J. Wenham, Ed.) (4th ed.) (65–66). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press.
 New Bible commentary: 21st century edition. 1994 (D. A. Carson, R. T. France, J. A. Motyer & G. J. Wenham, Ed.) (4th ed.) (65). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press.
 Wenham, G. J. (1998). Vol. 1: Genesis 1–15. Word Biblical Commentary (156). Dallas: Word, Incorporated.
Jeff has been in full-time ministry for thirty years. He currently serves as Executive Director at Anchor House Ministry at SeaPort Manatee in Palmetto, FL and he is a part-time Campus Pastor at West Bradenton Southside in Bradenton, Florida.
Jeff Has authored A Lent Devotional (A Spiritual Journey to Lent) an Advent Devotional (The Advent of Jesus) and a devotional on the book of James (James: Where Faith and Life Meet). All three are available on Amazon.
He is married to Carrie and they have four children, Micaiah, Gabe, Simon, and Berea.
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