“The Lord then said to Noah, “Go into the ark, you and your whole family,because I have found you righteous in this generation.” The Flood is one of those Bible stories which, like the Creation account, sparks a lot of debate and conjecture. Obviously, if you reject the authenticity of the Bible or deny God’s existence, both of these stories are problematic to say the least. But even among believers there are so many interpretations and perspectives. This morning, I meditated on the contrast between the salvation of Noah and his family and the judgment of sinful mankind.
First, I think its important to dispel any suggestion that God was somehow cruel or merciless in destroying the world with a flood. Consider why He thought it necessary to start over: mankind was thoroughly corrupted. Men everywhere abused and killed each other. It was one big war zone in every direction. “The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time.” (Gen 6:5). God WAS being merciful here. He saved mankind from itself, choosing the last remaining man with decency and moral character, together with his family, to start over–to give humanity a second chance. And don’t forget that he gave mankind over a year to heed Noah’s warning and join him in the ark.
Second, look at the ark and think about the comparison to Jesus. The ark was the only way of escape, you had to believe AND enter, once in side you were all in (completely covered/protected), God sealed the door and kept it sealed. There are other comparisons to be made, but that last one is interesting. God had told Noah to cover the ark with pitch. But what sealed the door against the waters? Nothing. Only by God’s grace and mercy did that door stay closed and not leak. I’ve heard people make comparisons between the wood of the ark and the wood of the cross, suggest that the ark was shaped like a coffin to symbolize life through Jesus’ death, etc. The big takeaway here is God provided a way of salvation for mankind; Noah and his family believed and showed their faith by entering it; God kept them safe inside the ark; the destruction outside was complete–there was no escape for the unbelieving.
In the Flood account we are given a pretty complete picture of God’s plan of salvation for mankind; there is ONE way offered to ALL mankind to escape the judgement of God on sin. Reading Genesis 6-7 from this perspective makes this familiar Bible story we heard as children come alive with eternal meaning. Need help explaining the cross? Look at the picture given by the Flood.
Reading: Genesis 7