This is a story we all know well, even if we’ve never spent much time studying the Bible. The familiarity of this story is probably the greatest obstacle to our learning from a study of it in Genesis. We approach this story and this text with our minds alreadymade up, thinking that there is little or nothing new about it that should alter our thinking or impact our behavior.
Text: Genesis 6:9-8:22
Most of us feel that the only themes in this story are those of judgment and destruction and, to a degree, that's true. Judgment is certainly one of the themes in this event, but there is a much greater theme, that of the saving grace of God. While we should not ignore the warnings of this text, we should not lose sight of the encouragement contained there as well.
Of course we have to start with a little background.
- The reasons for the flood are given in Genesis 6:9-12.
- The revelation concerning the upcoming flood is given to Noah in verses 13-21.
- The order to enter the ark is given in Genesis 7:1-4. The record of Noah’s obedience to his divine instruction is in Genesis 7:1-4 and 7:5.
While the flood was intended for the destruction of mankind, the ark was intended to save Noah and his family and to ensure the fulfillment of the divine purpose for the creation and the divine promise of salvation of Genesis 3:15.
The key to our understanding of this event is to see the contrast between Noah and those of his generation.
Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his time; Noah walked with God (Genesis 6:9).
Noah’s character is described by the words, righteous and blameless. The word righteous (Hebrew: saddiq), is a word commonly used in reference to men. It means that they conform to a standard. Since Noah conformed to the divine standard, he met with God’s approval. The things that God sought in man were present in Noah.
Without any pretense of perfection, Noah was a man who took God at His word. He met God’s expectations for man, while the rest of mankind was wicked.
The second expression used for Noah is 'blameless' (verse 9). The Hebrew word is tamim. This Hebrew wprd encompasses the idea of being ‘complete. ’ So. from this, we can add to Noah’s character that he was well-rounded and complete.
Stepping back from these two technical expressions, Moses summarized the righteousness of Noah by simply writing that, “Noah walked with God” (Genesis 6:9).