January 19, 2014.
Daily Reading: Genesis 6-8.
Concepts and Connections.
1. Nephilim: There is an interesting concept at the beginning of this chapter on the topic of the Nephilim, who were giants in the land. Angels are often referred to as “the sons of God” in the Old Testament, thus the Nephilim were reportedly the offspring of angels and men. These would not be on the earth for much longer, however, as God declared that man would have only 120 years left before He brought destruction upon them, and this destruction would be in the form of a flood.
2. Wickedness of mankind: Just six chapters in to the book of Genesis, the wickedness of man is so great that God actually wishes He didn’t create man. This is not to say that God didn’t know what was going to happen throughout the course of history, but rather to emphasize the amount of grief that God had towards this situation. Every thought of man was only evil continually, and this grieved God. Man was created in His image, to be holy and righteous and to be in fellowship with the One who made it all. Now that sin and death had entered the world, men were getting better and better at messing up this relationship. It got so bad that everyone on earth was unrighteous and God was going to destroy man and beast from the face of the earth. But then there was a man named Noah who found favor in the sight of God. This is not unlike the story of Job, where he is singled out by God due to his righteousness.
3. Noah’s call: Noah was called by God to build an ark of gopher wood so that he could escape the great flood that God was going to send on the earth to wipe out all land animals and man. He was given very specific instructions as to the building materials and specifications of the vessel, and God expected Noah to follow these instructions. Peter refers to Noah as a “preacher of righteousness” in II Peter 2:5, which might imply that Noah preached about the coming flood while building the ark, though it would be to no avail. Peter also refers to this story as he relates it to baptism in I Peter 3:18-21, showing how just as Noah was saved by the water from the evil of the world, we are saved through the waters of baptism from the filth of the flesh. There are different analogies that can be drawn between the story of Noah and salvation through Christ, such as the one above and being called to righteousness just as Noah was found to be righteous.
Details of a real story: Over the years, there have been many stories in the bible that have been attacked because they don’t seem very believable, The Noahic Deluge is no stranger to this criticism. However, it is important to point out here that the details given in this story lend it to being a true story as opposed to an allegory that we are just supposed to draw lessons from but know that it’s not actually a true story. If this were the case, there would be no need for the bible to tell the exact date that the flood happened on, or how many days Noah was in the ark before the flood came or even how old Noah was throughout the story. In conjunction with this evidence, it is also pretty clear that the New Testament writers understood that Noah was a real figure. Jesus refers to Noah (Matthew 24:37-38), the Hebrew writer includes Noah in the “hall of faith” right next to many other real figures (Hebrews 11:7), and Peter calls upon the story twice to illustrate a couple of points (I Peter 3:18-21 and II Peter 2:5). Noah was a real figure, and the flood was a real event.
1. Patience: As the flood starts to subside, we get the sense that Noah is getting a bit impatient. He has been in the ark for around150 days, and things are probably getting very cramped. Noah, though the ark was shut by God and will be reopened by God when the time is right, sends out some birds to see if they can find dry land as a sign that the waters were receding. At first he has no luck, but eventually one of the birds brings back an olive branch, and then after seven days another bird that is sent out never returns, indicating that there is dry land. Then Noah removes the covering of the ark and sees that the ground is dry. But he still has to wait for the Lord to tell him when he could leave. It would seem that Noah was getting a bit impatient in the ark, understandably so, and he was dreaming of the day when he and his family would get to leave. Finally the day comes, but not until God says so. We can take lesson from this to be patient with the plans of the Lord, for He does not work on our time, but rather knows the best timing for everything to work out. We should put our trust in Him.
2. The covenant between Noah and God: When Noah and his family finally get to leave the ark, one of the first things Noah does is to set up an alter before God and offer Him sacrifice. This is a good indication of the righteousness that dwelt in Noah that made him find favor in the sight of God. The offering went up as a pleasing aroma to the Lord, and the Lord made a covenant with Noah that he would never again curse the ground, for He knows that man is intent on evil from his youth, nor would He ever again destroy the earth via flood. Seedtime and harvest would remain so long as the earth remained. The covenant continues on into the next chapter, and is signified by a rainbow that God sets in the cloud. It is this sign that we still today can look at and remember the covenant that God made with Noah when he was safely delivered through the flood.
Tomorrow’s Reading: Joshua 11-15.
Let the righteous stand before God.