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. Meghan Gross says:

    As I read the story, I saw the boat full of people and animals. When the waters started, did the ark rock at pitch banging up everyone inside? Surely it wasn’t a smooth takeoff. What was that like?
    I’m in a similar space in my life. About to step in faith. Will it rock and pitch? Noah had rain pouring down to know he was where God wanted him. Will I have “rain?”

  2. Keli Smith says:

    This is so good. Noah did everything the Lord commanded him, because Noah walked with God. Oftentimes it may seem difficult to obey God, but not so if we’re walking with Him. It is easy to hear His voice and heed His commands when we know Him. To have faith in God is to obey Him.

  3. Amanda Fuller says:

    I’ve been unpacking the book of Genesis and I’m wondering if anyone has some insight or resources explaining the significantly shorter life spans that came after the flood?

    1. Justine Smith says:

      I had this question too! My husband and I were also trying to wrap our brains around how the life spans were so long prior to the flood too.

    2. Bethany Mac says:

      One commentary by Chuck Smith suggested that God may have opened up some protection in the atmosphere to expose humanity to cosmic radiation that speeds up aging… think of how the UV rays of the sun contribute to aging, and how part of the atmosphere protect us from this. Perhaps prior to the flood there was much more protection from the sun, which allowed for slower aging.

  4. Melissa Mcronney says:

    Thank you for Noah and his example. Father help me to walk with You. In Jesus name Amen

  5. Rebecca LaDronka says:

    I’m always struck by the seeming contradiction of v. 5 “every inclination of the human mind was nothing but evil all the time,” and v. 8-9 “Noah, however, found favor with the Lord… was a righteous man, blameless among his contemporaries.” Verse 5 has so many superlatives – every, nothing but, all the time – it leaves no room for any exceptions. Noah is not exempt from the sinfulness of human nature, and as we see from what happens after the flood, we should not hold him up as a shinning example of moral goodness. So how can he find favor with God and be called righteous?
    We’re not told but I imagine that his case is similar to Abram. Abram of course was not morally perfect either, but he “believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.” Not that he was in fact morally perfect, but God called him righteous because of his faith. When God told Noah what was going to happen and what he was to do, we see Noah’s faith through his actions, we see his belief.
    I think we should be careful not to see Noah’s story as an allegory for how we righteous believers are surrounded by an evil world. Verse 5 does not exempt us either, rather it is a reminder of our own fallen sinful state and the evil inclinations of our own hearts. Thank the Lord that through faith in Jesus, His righteousness is credited to our account and we are able to walk with God by faith and not by sight!

  6. Deja Gibson says:

    Noah didn’t ask God any questions. He trusted what he said and did it!

  7. Autumn Baker says:

    I’m continually amazed at how God speaks to our hearts! My husband has been called to full time missions work and will likely be quitting his teaching job at the end of the school year. He’s in the process of raising support now and that is a venture full of fear and uncertainty. This was exactly what I needed to hear tonight as we being to make big decisions about selling our home and committing more fully to his new position.

  8. Truth Seeker says:

    January 9, 2020 at 4:58 pm
    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?

    To REN: Isaiah 55:8-9 New International Version (NIV)
    8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways,”
    declares the Lord.
    9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.

    I, too, have often thought “Why did God create man knowing man would fail and sin and ALL generations to come for all of history would be faced with the decision to follow God/Christ or follow satan. The decision has ETERNAL value as to which the individual human chose – to follow God or to follow satan. One decision leads to eternal life the other decision leads to eternal damnation. It struck me as being a very cruel joke. Then I read Isaiah 55:8-9 and thought “oh, that is why He did what He did. He is God and I am not. ” Obviously a very simple yet profound truth. God knows what He is doing. I do not. Forgive me, Lord, for questioning Your wisdom and foreknowledge of all things. I humbly submit myself to You as You are Lord God almighty and I am simply me. Thank you God for your forgiveness and Christ Jesus I thank You for Your total sacrifice so that my sins may be forgiven and that I, Yes, I, may be counted as a co-heir alongside You. Praise be to Your most holy Name !!!!!

    1. Karen Lockwood says:

      Also, what meaning would it have to follow God & seek relationship with Him if he didn’t give us free will to make the choice? This was from the beginning, as Adam and Eve could choose to obey God in that one command or not. Of course, He knew what they would do.

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