Genesis 6-8, Isaiah 53:4-6, Mark 10:45, Hebrews 7:25, Acts 16:31, Romans 6:23
Summary: Noah and the ark (Genesis 6-8), like everything else in Genesis, is authentic history with an authentic warning to get right with God before it is too late. It is a call from God for us to repent and be saved from the wrath to come.
When we read about the events of Genesis, Chapters 6-8, we forget that this is not a children’s story but an actual historical event recorded by Moses, dealing with the effects of sin upon the world and the fact of God’s certain judgment. Noah’s task was to not only build the ark according to the specifications given by God, but he was to warn the people to repent of their wickedness and enter into the safety of the ark on the appointed day when God would wipe out every living thing because it had all become godless, perverse, wicked, and violent. The ark was symbolic of the gracious invitation from God to be saved from His wrath and enter into His rest, mercy, grace, and peace.
The Bible is a book of invitations. Starting with Noah’s call and task and continuing to the last verses of the book of Revelation (22:17), Almighty God shows His involvement in the business of inviting people to come to Him for salvation, for the help they need, and for the things they lack in this life.
Genesis 7:1 records the first invitation from Him: “THEN the LORD said to Noah, ‘Come into the ark, you and all your household, because I have seen that you are righteous before Me in this generation'” (NKJV). This verse is both a command and an invitation. Here, God calls Noah and his family to come into the ark so that they might be saved from the coming flood that He was about to send upon the earth.
Even though this invitation was given many thousands of years ago, God is still inviting people to enter the Ark of safety found in the Lord Jesus Christ. This invitation is still in effect, but the time is running out for you to make your decision. It does no good to present this invitation to you unless you accept it and come in. Before Noah and his family could be saved, they had to commit themselves to accepting the LORD’S invitation to enter the ark. If you and I are to be saved, we must do likewise.
The ark God commanded Noah to build is a symbol of the sanctuary God offers to anyone who would come to Him for salvation. Let us look at the specifics of the ark to see that it was big enough for everyone to enter, yet only eight answered God’s call.
According to the specifications given to Noah by God, it was in the shape of a box, 450 feet long, 75 feet wide, and 45 feet high (modern measurements). It had been built by Noah and his sons over a 120-year period, all the while preaching the message that a torrential flood was to come upon the earth. It would be logical to assume that all of this activity was seen as madness by the people who lived around Noah as well as those who came to view the ark and be amused by the warnings of an old man. Up to this time, dew was the way by which the earth was watered. Rain was a foreign concept to the people. None of this deterred Noah from the mission to which God had called him.
This should be a lesson to believers today. We are not to let the mockery and hatred from the world deter us from proclaiming the message of salvation found only in Jesus Christ (John 14:6; Acts 4:12, 16:31; Romans 5:6-11, 10:9-10, 13; 1 Timothy 1:12-17).
Up to the day when God told Noah to enter the ark, he pled with anyone who would stop to hear to enter the ark and be rescued from the wrath to come. The ark was the ONLY hope any of them had. It was not as though God did not give them time to repent. He let them have 120 years, and then the promised judgment would come. God never judges anyone or any nation without first giving them time to repent of their sins, come to their senses, and receive redemption and grace. He also gave us a conscience to know what is right and wrong, so we are without any kind of excuse (Isaiah 1:18; Acts 23:1; Romans 2:15; 1 Corinthians 8:7; Hebrews 9:14, 10:22).
What prompted God to bring destruction to His creation? Genesis 6 provides the answers. First, there was the unholy union of fallen angels who assumed human form and seduced women, bearing what we know as the Nephilim. Some Bible teachers believe these “Nephilim” were the fruit of demon-possessed men and women who bore demonic, non-human entities bent on perverse evil. Whatever interpretation you wish to apply to this event, the purpose of these unholy unions was to pollute and destroy the Messianic bloodline that would crush the head of the devil, his evil angels, as well as anyone who followed them throughout history (Genesis 3:15; Matthew 25:41; Revelation 20:10-15).
God Almighty would not allow nor tolerate this blasphemy and rebellion from either devil or human. Genesis 6:5 tells us that the heart of man was hopelessly corrupt and evil. The stain of sin had infiltrated the souls of fallen men to the point where any real chance of repentance was gone. Still, His mercy had allowed for them to repent, as stated earlier. Man had also ruined the world God created, embedded it with violence and injustice. God decided enough was enough. He would start over (Genesis 6:6-7) and let His judgment serve as a lesson to the future generations that evil will be punished, and we will be held accountable before Him on the appointed day (Philippians 2:9-11; Hebrews 9:27).
In the midst of this moral cesspool, there was one man who saw what was going on and did not let it corrupt him or his family, and that was Noah. The Bible says that God extended grace to Noah (Genesis 6:8). He was a “just” man, not sinless. It means that his faith was in God, and God counted him righteous on the basis of that faith. This description applied to Abraham as well (Genesis 15:6).
If you are saved, it is because of grace through faith. You believed God, and He gave you His righteousness apart from any work on your part (Romans 3:22-26).
Noah was commanded to build this ark (Genesis 6:13-22). He is told that this ark will provide him, his family, and all the creatures of the earth a place of sanctuary and safety. That ark was the ONLY place in the universe where Noah and his family could be safe. That was then, and there is still now a place of sanctuary. The ark Noah built was a real boat, but it was also a picture. The ark is a great picture of the Lord Jesus Christ and the salvation He provides (1 Peter 3:18-21).
Our next look at Noah’s ark will show how it speaks of Jesus, the only hope any of us have. Why are you not in this ark of safety today? The judgment is arriving, and you do not want to be left out of the only place that will spare you from its certainty. Come to Jesus today (Matthew 11:28-30).
(My thanks goes to Pastor Alan Carr for the basic outline on which this message was built.)