We have learned two things so far. The first is that, “Noah walked with God” (Genesis 6:9). Here we see an emphasis on the fellowship between Noah and God, the closeness of their union. This also reflects the continuity and stability of the relationship. It was a daily walk, it was a reliable relationship.
The righteousness of Noah was based more upon his faith in God, rather than in his fear of the consequences of disobedience. God demonstrates His trust in His relationship with Noah by sharing information about the impending crisis. Granted, if more of the people had become aware of the of impending doom, or if they had believed it was really going to happen, they may have obeyed, However, this obedience most likely would have been out of fear of punishment and retribution.
Faith, and not fear, is the biblical motive for our relationship with God. We can also see this spelled out for us in 2 Timothy 1:7, with regard to our relationship with the rest of the world.
"For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."
So, by faith, Noah, having been warned by God about things to come, begins to prepare an ark for the rescue of his household.
It was not Noah’s works (the things he did) which saved him from judgment, but God’s grace. “But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord” (Genesis 6:8).
Ephesians 2:8-10 tells us that salvation comes to us by grace, through faith; not of works, but unto good works. I know, a little churchspeak there; but, what it is saying is that:
- We are saved by God’s grace, though our faith - NOT by anything we do. We don't get brownie points on the front end for doing good things. Although, it probably doesn't hurt. We don’t do good work to get grace.
- And, it is because of this grace that we WANT to do good works. We don’t do good work to get grace.
In contrast to Noah’s righteousness, the rest of the people were basically bad. “Now the earth was corrupt in the sight of God, and the earth was filled with violence. And God looked on the earth, and behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way upon the earth” (Genesis 6:11-12).
Noah, alone, was righteous in his day. “Then the Lord said to Noah, “Enter the ark, you and all your household; for you alone I have seen to be righteous before Me in this time” (Genesis 7:1).
In and of themselves men were rotten or corrupt. What God determined to destroy was already destroying itself. Man’s relationship to his fellow man could be summed up in a single word, ‘violence’.
The primary expression of our sin is in our rebellion and independent spirit toward God. We'd like to suppose that while there is a small chance that God may exist, He does not really care about our conduct or beliefs. If God does care, He does little about it. We want God to be around if we personally get into trouble. But as long as we are doing okay on our own, we don't want Him to bother us.
The second thing we have learned is that, although this story is familiar, there are things to learn. This is also true for the good and bad recordings we play over and over in our heads. When we come across a challenge in our lives, we are tempted to buckle, because we have been here before and it didn't go well.
Reminder: God has not given us a spirit of timidity, shyness, hiding our heads in the sand. So, pull those big girl and big boy panties up, get you act together, turn the recording off, and move forward!
[a little Tuesday tough love :)]