A hundred and twenty years is not a very long time in human history, for time is fleeting. Life is like “a vapor, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away” (James 4:14).
One hundred and twenty years went by during the days of Noah, and then “the LORD said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation” (Gen. 7:1).
In this passage three important truths are learned. First, the living Lord is transcendent over His creation, but He is not divorced from it. The God who is there speaks, and individuals can know the Lord, and His will.
Second, there is the principle in life call “Blessing by Association.” The family of Noah would be brought into the Ark of safety because of Noah.
While care must be taken not to press the idea of “household salvation” which virtually guarantees the salvation of all members within a Christian family, those who are born into a family of faith are definitely better off, and they are blessed.
Third, the Lord honors those who honor Him. The Lord saw the righteousness of Noah who lived his life, Coram Deo, before the face of God. Noah lived this way in the middle of a perverse and careless generation.
Noah, who had preached to his generation, Noah, who had labored in righteousness, because he was motivated by faith to build the Ark that God commanded him to build, would know a period of rest, and thus his own name would be honored. Noah means, “to rest”, or, “to give comfort.”
Having received instruction to gather his family and move into the Ark, the Bible records a remarkable miracle.
Seven days before the beginning of the Flood, God the Holy Spirit began to guide by seven pairs, the clean beasts, male and female, and the unclean beasts, two by two, towards the Ark.
This is instructive because the Law of Moses, detailing clean and unclean beasts, had not yet been instituted, and yet clean, and unclean beasts were already in the consciousness of God, and of man.
The purpose for designating beasts clean and unclean was for the purpose of making a sacrifice to God. We read in Genesis 8:2, following the Flood, that Noah “builded an altar unto the Lord; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar.”
Initially, after the Flood, everything was allowed for food. “Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things” (Gen. 9:3).
Later, the Law of Moses would establish food laws, with dramatic restrictions on what could be consumed. “This is the law of the beasts, and of the fowl, and of every living creature that moveth in the waters, and of every creature that creepeth upon the earth: 47 To make a difference between the unclean and the clean, and between the beast that may be eaten and the beast that may not be eaten” (Lev. 11:46-47).
The animals were divinely brought into the Ark. There, the animals would stay with Noah and his family during the rain that was to fall upon the earth for forty days and forty nights. The result of this torrential, worldwide flood would be the destruction of every living thing off the face of the earth (Gen. 7:4).
On April 17th, in the sixth hundredth year of the life of Noah, clouds gathered over the earth, and the raindrops began to fall from heaven, for the first time.
On April 17th, after the Lord shut the door, the heavens opened, and the water came pouring down.
All over the globe, people were terrified. They had never seen rain before. The clouds were dark. Judgment was falling. Panic set in, and then abject terror.
Then the earth opened up, and all the great reservoirs of water inside the bowls of the earth began to gush up, flooding the land. Streams filled. Rivers rose higher and higher, flooding their banks.
People fled their homes to run up to higher ground, but the flood water chased them there. The hills were soon covered, and all the people began to drown. Some continued to climb up to the top of the highest mountains, but still the waters kept rising until the water rose to a depth of 22 ½ feet above the top of the mountains (Gen. 7:20).
Snakes bit people swimming in the water. Children were torn from the clutching arms of their parents.
Death by drowning was everywhere. The domestic animals perished, as did the wild ones. The birds also died, for they had no place to land but upon the churning water. Trees were uprooted. Massive stones and boulders were relocated. For forty days, and forty nights, there was a great deluge, and churning of the earth.
Suddenly, on May 26th, the rains stopped, but the water stayed for more than six months. Nothing outside the Ark survived. “And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every man: 22 All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died. 23 And every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both man, and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven; and they were destroyed from the earth: and Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark” (Gen. 7:21-23). For one hundred and fifty days the waters prevailed upon the earth (Gen. 7:24).
Then, in matchless mercy and grace, God performed another miracle. God remembered Noah (Gen. 8:1). The Lord sent a wind to blow across the land. By degrees the water grew less and less.
Finally, in the month of September, the Ark ceased to float, and rested on the mountains of Ararat, in modern day Turkey (Gen. 8:4). Ararat refers to the country between the Tigris River and the Caucasus Mountains. It is known as Armenia.
By December 1st, the tops of the mountains could be seen again (Gen. 8:5).
Forty days later, Noah sent out a raven, but the bird did not return (Gen. 8:7). It stayed to live on the carnage.
Then, Noah sent out a dove, only to have it return because “the dove found no rest for the sole of her foot, and she returned unto him into the ark, for the waters were on the face of the whole earth: then he put forth his hand, and took her, and pulled her in unto him into the ark” (Gen. 8:9).
Seven days later, Noah sent the dove out again. This time, the bird of peace returned with an olive branch, symbolically, a sign off life (Gen. 8:11).
Another week passed, and Noah sent out the dove again (Gen. 8:12). This time the dove did not return, and Noah knew it was alright to set foot on dry land.
In March, of the sixth hundredth and first year in the life of Noah, the door to the Ark was flung open. Once more men and women came forth to repopulate the earth. “And God spake unto Noah, saying, 16 Go forth of the ark, thou, and thy wife, and thy sons, and thy sons’ wives with thee. 17 Bring forth with thee every living thing that is with thee, of all flesh, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth; that they may breed abundantly in the earth, and be fruitful, and multiply upon the earth” (Gen. 8:15-17).
As Noah came out of the Ark, a little over a year after he went into it, the first activity he performed was to build an altar unto the Lord (Gen. 8:20).
In the act of worship, God made a covenant with Noah. Never again would God destroy the earth by water. The sign of the covenant would be the rainbow. “And Noah builded an altar unto the Lord; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. 21 And the Lord smelled a sweet savour; and the Lord said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake; for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done.
22 While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease” (Gen. 8:20-22).
God promised there would be the cycle of life as long as the earth remains. The beneficiaries of the Noahic Covenant include, not only all of humanity, but the whole of the earth, including the animal and plan kingdoms.
With the redemption of man, comes, one day, the redemption of the earth. “For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. 23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body” (Rom. 8:22-23).
The Story of the Flood, and a Fresh Start, is a lovely story, but, it does end on a tragic note. Notice first the plain, but shocking language of the Lord. “And the Lord smelled a sweet savour; and the Lord said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake; for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done” (Gen. 8:21).
In Genesis 6, one of the main reasons for the Flood, and the virtual annihilation of humanity, was the fact that every imagination of man’s heart was continually evil. After the Flood, the precise same language is used, and a lesson is learned. The judgments of God do not change the basic nature of man, not in time, and not in eternity. The people in hell never repent, and never change their mind.
Because this is true, we read that soon after Noah came out of the Ark, he “drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent” (Gen. 9:21).
As tragic a scene as it is, a saint of God naked, and in a drunken stupor, the narrative gets worse. Something was done to Noah in his drunken state that is almost unmentionable. A vile deed was done to Noah that is veiled in language.
“And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without. 23 And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went backward, and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were backward, and they saw not their father’s nakedness. 24 And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him” (Gen. 9:22-24).
The implication is that there was an immoral act committed with Noah by his son, Ham. The horrible sin, which caused Ham’s descendents to be cursed, may have been a homosexual act. Ham’s son, Canaan, was the progenitor of the Canaanite race, which later settled in Palestine. They were known for sexual perversions (Gen. 19:1-11; 1 Kings 14:24).
There was blessing for the descendents of Shem, and Japheth (Gen. 9:26-27). Then, the narrative ends with the death of Noah. “And all the days of Noah were nine hundred and fifty years: and he died” (Gen. 9:29).
What is to be made of this biblical narrative? The lessons are familiar, and they are simple.
First, The Story of the Flood, and a Fresh Start, is a true story, and provides an alternative to the theory of evolution. The whole earth was flooded. There was a universal catastrophe.
Second, God keeps His word. The Lord said there would be a flood, and the flood waters came. The Lord said there would never again be a universal flood, and, while there have been many local floods since the days of Noah, there has never been a universal flood since then.
Third, God is a God of grace, and judgment, so that men should love Him, but also fear Him because judgment does come to individuals. The New Testament points to the Noahic flood as a reminder of the future judgment that will yet come upon the earth.
Fourth, grace always precedes judgment. As Enoch walked with God, as Noah walked with God, so it is possible for you and I to walk with God in our own generation.
To walk with God means to love Him sincerely, to fear Him righteously, to obey Him implicitly, to worship Him spiritually, and to speak with Him often.
May the Holy Spirit enable us to walk with God.