Day 4

The Flood

from the Genesis reading plan

Genesis 6:1-22, Genesis 7:1-24, Genesis 8:1-22, 1 Peter 3:18-22

BY Sharon Hodde Miller

A couple years ago, God called my husband and me to something scary. Ike quit his secure church job with a regular salary and generous benefits to strike out and start a new church. We had no idea how it would turn out, whether we were adequately equipped, or whether it would succeed or fail. But we trusted God, so we obeyed and went.

During that season, we relied on a number of stories in the Bible to buttress our faith. Whenever we needed a reminder about God’s gracious willingness to confirm a hard call, we read about Gideon. Whenever we needed to stand on God’s ability instead of our own, we read about Moses. And whenever we wrestled with the loneliness and fear of stepping into a seemingly illogical call, we read about Noah.

Noah’s story is remarkable for two reasons, one which is obvious and one which is not. The obvious reason is Noah’s faithfulness in an unfaithful generation. Genesis 6:1–5 describes an era in human history that was so dark, so depraved, that it prompted God to declare “I regret that I made them” (v.7). The human race was unraveling, and yet there was Noah, “a righteous man, blameless among his contemporaries” (v.9), who managed to resist the moral current of his day.

This fact about Noah, on its own, makes him an exceptional person. But here is the less obvious, but equally remarkable truth about him: Noah was the first person recorded in Scripture to be asked to take a big leap of faith. To put it another way, Noah didn’t have the heroic stories of God to turn to that we do. No histories of God using the unlikely, or confirming a hard call, or rescuing a desperate people, or most importantly, sending a Savior.

So when God called Noah to something strange and nonsensical—building a boat, in the middle of the land, with no flood in sight—Noah had little to no record of God’s faithfulness in history. All he had was his own knowledge of God.

But how did he acquire it?

Genesis 6:9 tells us that Noah “walked with God,” which is an intentionally active verb. He didn’t simply know God; he did life with God. He drew near to God, he followed God, he honored God, and he served God, and this was how he learned about God. He didn’t have a long historical record of the deeds of God, but he wrote one with his own life.

Millenia later, as a people of God who possess generations of stories of God’s faithfulness to ordinary people, the witness of Noah reminds us of something important. As much as these stories are a gift and a help when faith is hard, one of the most important ways we know God’s character and get to know Him more intimately, is not simply by reading about Him. It’s through walking with Him. It’s through obedience.

Post Comments (80)

80 thoughts on "The Flood"

  1. Ashley Thomas says:

    I was struck by the sheer amount of time spent on the ark- talk about faith in God! They spent over a year on a boat full of stinky, restless animals with only each other for companionship. I must admit that even I tire of my own family from time to time… I wonder how things were with Noah and his wife and his sons and their wives. There’s no record of their time. We get a short, abbreviated version of the events. So I can only imagine how it was for them, and this leads me to believe they had faith I can only dream about having.

  2. Tera says:

    I have read this passage so much, but I was struck by one verse in particular today. Gen. 7:10, Seven days later the floodwaters came on the earth. I’ve never noticed that before, I always thought it happened immediately. That just shows me even more the faith Noah had. He was building an ark for a flood, and they all enter it prepared for a flood and nothing happens for seven days. To have the faith of Noah, to trust that something is going to happen because God said it would, no matter the timing.

  3. Angi Morrison says:

    And I love how not only we have Bible stories of God’s faithfulness but how we can look back at events in our lives or the lives of those around us to see how God has been faithful. That is often what gives me the faith, hope and courage in the new call, challenge, life event.

  4. Ren says:

    I still don’t understand why, if God regretted creating humanity, then why did He? It bothers me everyday. I suppose I’ll never really know or understand why, and I know that it’s my choice to believe it or not. But why would I want to believe in a God who regretted that? Any thoughts?

    1. Mary Jane Meyer says:

      We know God is unchangeable and that he doesn’t change his mind. He knows everything that is going to happen. And everything he does brings glory to himself. We tend to think that his glory is displayed in what we consider to be positive attributes-love, mercy, goodness, etc. But God is more than that. He is also just and his glory must also be displayed in his wrath. It has to be-think about the Cross. When I realized this, it helped me make sense of a lot of things, though we will never completely understand this side of heaven. His creating the human race displayed his glory in countless ways, still does. Each creation does so in some way, whether they mean to or not. Pretty cool to think about!

      1. Rachel LNicholson says:

        Thank you Mary Jane! This spoke to me.

    2. Bree Hare says:

      Chiming in to say that you’re not alone with this question REN! I don’t have an answer for you but I wonder the same thing; I also question why save humanity at all if every living creature was wicked— why not just send the flood, kill everything, and start over from scratch?

      1. Daniela Morgado says:

        Because the prophecy of the serpent crushing his heel but Him crushing the Serpent’s head… we, as humanity, since the time of Noah until today have proved that exist people serving God by honest desire, not to gain something in return. If God destroyed the entire humanity and beagn from scratch, he would be turning away from proving Satan wrong. It always comes back to that, God declaring, Jesus allowing through his sacrifice, and now our part of the deal

    3. Elizabeth Amrien says:

      I ponder this too. The philosopher Kierkegaard marveled that an omnipotent God made beings free of his very omnipotence. We are capable of acting outside God’s omnipotence. There are passages in the NT that hint at this, where Jesus’ ability to perform miracles is hindered by the unbelief of people in this or that town. I wonder if God only devises the plan for salvation (through the Jews) at this time.

      One thing that comforts me very much about the Noah story is the concept of the remnant. This helps me not to worry about what is happening with the Church … there will always be those who do find favor with God, and there will always be a remnant through which God can accomplish His plan and purpose %

    4. Beth Smith says:

      I had the same question! I second Michele’s reply, John Piper gave an answer that really helped me make sense of it:

      Or if that link doesn’t work, you can go to and search Genesis 6 and it should be the first link to come up.

      I hope this blesses you as much as it has blessed me in understanding this verse! ❤️

    5. Maria Perez says:

      It hurts me to think that humanity broke God’s heart. But it shows me that we are so much like Him, made in His image. We love our children and would do anything for them and we expect them to love us in return and behave a certain way.
      That God regretted making mankind and yet sent Christ, His only begotten Son, to bring us back to Him shows how merciful and loving He is, a beautiful Father ♥️
      His correction is always for our own benefit ♥️

    6. Kathleen King says:

      Thank you for posting this question… I have been chewing on this one for several days. Is it discussed in a podcast anywhere?

    7. Daniela Morgado says:

      Because God is Love, but he has deeply hurt. He was speaking through his pain. Just like a parent may say something similar faced with a son’s act of disobedience.

  5. Nicole says:

    I like the reminder that we don’t need proof from other people’s stories and life moments that God will be good and trustworthy. We just KNOW.
    I feel when you are at that place in your life of just knowing that He will come through and always being able to trust Him and be confident in your life, through Him, you’ve arrived. You’ve arrived at a beautiful place in your life with your Father, knowing that He will always be there and nothing bad will happen.

  6. Tracie Nall says:

    I was struck this morning by the restraint of our God and the unwavering faithfulness to His promise not to again destroy the earth or its inhabitants…if the depravity of the world today and the evil in the hearts of people isn’t enough to evoke such a reaction as compared to the people of Noah’s day.
    I am also inspired by the story of Noah’s faithfulness and righteousness while living among a depraved society. How important my walk and my witness are. I am reminded of the call by Jesus to be in the world but not of this world and to be yeast of the Bread of Life permeating those around me rather than being corrupted by the pervasive sin of this world.
    I also became keenly aware of the stark contrasts between the righteous and wicked, the clean and unclean, the rescued and the destroyed. You must choose one or the other, ends of the spectrum, you can’t ride the middle!

  7. Pam Williams says:

    Thank you Tiffany Messer. So well said. My lady 3 years has been a stripping away, tho very different from yours. It was painful, but so necessary. Love the comparison to being in the ark. Its ok for people not to understand how God is changing our lives. We only need to please Him and not people That is difficult for a people person like me to truly say and live out.

  8. Jennifer Anapol says:

    I love this call to walk with God. To spend time with him. It’s not just about reading his word, but also serving him, talking to him and obeying him. It’s knowing him as we know our intimate friends. As a person who loves connecting with others. I’m so thankful that God would want to connect with me. I’m also thankful that he sees the few righteous people, among the crowd of unrighteousness people. May I be like Noah in this generation.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *