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"And Noah Found Grace..."

“And Noah Found Grace…”
Written for our learning…

            It was not very long after God made this old terrestrial ball that He became nauseated by the behavior of the humans who inhabited it (Gen. 6:5-6). The wickedness knew no respite! Continually, the people were living for themselves instead of God. Finally, God said, in essence, ‘That’s it! I’ve had enough; I’m not putting up with this any longer!’ So He decided that He was going to destroy the earth and everything in it because of the vile actions of the human race.

            Now there was a man named Noah who was quite different than the rest in his generation. He was just, perfect in his generation, and he walked with God (6:9). In other words, Noah walked in fellowship with God. That is, he obeyed God’s commands—therefore he found grace from the Lord. God rewarded Noah’s faithfulness by saving him and his family from the deluge of the ancient world. The account of Noah and his inspiring life can (and should) be accessed in Genesis chapter 6 and following. The story is exciting and full of great lessons that God wants us to learn from the account. Please observe that:

1.      Solitary goodness is possible (Maclaren, p.49). Some folks feel that if they are not in and around a large crowd of people that are trying to live righteously, it simply cannot be done. Noah is living proof that it can be done. Sure, it may not be as easy to live faithful to God when you do not have other people to help you; but it can be done. The schoolboy, schoolgirl, soldier, or fireman, who is a Christian, must shine bright so that their peers may see Christ living in them and praise God (Matt. 5:16). Even, “flowers grow on a dunghill, and the very reeking rottenness may make the bloom finer” (Ibid, p.50).

2.      The place for all of us is in “our generation” (Gen. 7:1) (Ibid.) This lesson may be taken to mean two things, both of which are truthful concepts. First, to say that the place for us to be is in our generation may mean that we are where we are supposed to be when we are supposed to be. Simply put, God has not put you here on earth at a wrong time in history. You may believe that life would be easier if you could have just lived in yesteryears somewhere; but the truth of the matter is that every generation has its own trouble and temptation that its population must deal with. Faithfulness doesn’t depend on where we are in history—it depends on our attitude.

       The second truth that the phrase may convey is that we need to be in our generation. That is to say, we need to be in and among the world. It is true that the Bible teaches that we are to avoid befriending the world (James 4:4). But surely this does not mean that we cannot be friendly and do good things for the world (Gal. 6:10). It means that we are not supposed to become such ‘good pals’ with the world that we compromise our relationship with God. Again, we must let our light shine; and the only way to do so—at least to the point where people can see—is to be around worldly people to some extent (Matt. 5:16).

3.      The less earthly friendships we find, the more we should realize that it is because we are walking with God (Maclaren, p.50). Noah apparently was one of a kind among the people of that day. He must have found life to be rather friendless—except for his family, of course; but that is okay, because Amos 3:3 says, “Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?” Friendship with the world (sinful influences) is enmity with God (James 4:4). Christians are not supposed to love the world (sinful influences) or the things of the world (1 John 2:15-17). So, if you find that you are losing some of your worldly “friends,” then take courage, because you have a new Friend who will never leave you or forsake you (Deut. 31:6; Heb. 13:5). 

4.      Grace is found only when we live justly and righteously (Gen. 6:8-9). There are those people in the religious world who teach that a person is saved by grace only. By this they mean that no work is required of the person to be saved. They say that salvation is wholly God’s doing. For all the comfort that that doctrine holds, there is no room left for any truth. In fact, the Bible says, “If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth” (1 John 1:6). We must obey the commands of God (Matt. 7:21). We sometimes sing the song “Faith is the Victory;” and truly this was the case with Noah, because the Bible tells us that by faith Noah saved his family from the flood (Heb. 11:7). Let us never underestimate the value of obedience (Heb. 5:8-9). 

5.      Just because God watches in silence, it does not mean He approves of our behavior (Maclaren, p. 50). There are a lot of wild religious ideas out there! One of the more far out ones—at least to me—says that since God does not punish sin immediately, then all must be well. I once talked to an old friend one night on the phone, after years of no communication. I asked him if he was attending church anywhere. He said “No; but I know I’m alright with God, because He has given me everything I ask for.” So, to him, since God had not punished him physically with loss of food or some other privilege, then everything is great with their relationship. Well, that’s not true (See Jn. 14:21; Heb. 10:24-25. God is patient and watches our actions ‘in silence’ because He is giving us time to repent (Rom. 2:4).

6.      All doom and destruction is escapable. We may rest safely and securely in the truth that when we follow God’s will, we will escape the wrath to come (2 Thess. 1:7-9). With every temptation that comes our way, God also makes a way to escape (1 Cor. 10:13); we just have to look for it. God is so good to us! The race that is set before us is winnable—if we will but try, and be willing to try again if we fall. Noah did it; and so can we. 

Works Consulted

Clarke, Adam. Clarke’s Commentary: Vol. 1. New York: Abingdon Press, No date given.

Maclaren, Alexander. Expositions of Holy Scripture: Genesis. New York: George H.

            Doran Company, No date given.

Woods, Clyde M. People’s Old Testament Notes: Vol. 1. Henderson, Tennessee: Woods

            Publications, 1972.