Following the biblical story arc, we move forward several generations. Sin entered the world through Adam, found its expression in Cain, and, over the following centuries, chaos prevails. The world becomes corrupt, filled with violence.
God decides to wipe away humanity’s rampant evil.
The rest of God’s creation can stay, but he decides to do away with people—all except for Noah and his family. The Bible calls Noah righteous. This means he lives rightly, even though God has not yet defined what that means. Noah is blameless in his life and walks faithfully with God.
Scripture doesn’t tell us the spiritual condition of Noah’s family: his wife, his three sons, and their wives. These seven may be righteous like Noah, but the Bible doesn’t say that.
Regardless, God plans to save all eight. A better understanding is that they will live not because of their own merit but because of Noah’s. So it is with us and Jesus.
God plans to send a massive flood to destroy the world. Only these eight people will survive. Everyone else will die. Most land animals will perish as innocent victims in all this. Then God will allow humanity to start anew, through Noah. It’s a massive do-over, Creation 2.0.
To accomplish this, God tells Noah to build an ark, a huge boat, one big enough to carry a representative pair of each species and seven pairs of clean animals—along with enough food for all.
People back then lived for several centuries, and it takes Noah and his family one hundred years to complete this massive project. Building an ark doesn’t make sense and requires years of backbreaking work.
Yet they persist, no doubt enduring the ridicule of those around them and making many sacrifices as they build God’s boat, all the while attending to the daily needs of living.
When the rains come and the floodwaters rise, Noah, his family, and the animals God sends to them board the ark. God seals them inside and they survive the great deluge.
When the waters recede, eight people emerge.
God then gives Noah the same command he gave Adam and Eve, to be fruitful and multiply. They do. We’re here today as a result.
God told Noah to do something difficult that didn’t make sense from a human perspective. But Noah obeyed and saved his family, along with giving humanity a fresh start.
We applaud Noah for his obedience to God.
How well do we do at obeying God? Would we be obedient like Noah if God told us to undertake a huge task that would take several years to complete?
[Read about Noah in Genesis 5:28–9:29. Discover more in Hebrews 11:7.]
Learn about more biblical characters in Old Testament Sinners and Saints, available in e-book, paperback, and hardcover. Get your copy today.
A lifelong student of the Bible, Peter DeHaan, PhD, wrote the 1,000-page website ABibleADay.com to encourage people to explore the Bible. His main blog and many books urge Christians to push past the status quo and reconsider how they practice their faith in every area of their lives.