Genesis 6:9-22; 7:11-2312-1-2013#1881 Advent 1page 1
9 This is the account of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God. 10 Noah had three sons: Shem, Ham and Japheth. 11 Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight and was full of violence. 12 God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways. 13 So God said to Noah, “I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth. 14 So make yourself an ark of cypress wood; make rooms in it and coat it with pitch inside and out. 15 This is how you are to build it: The ark is to be 450 feet long, 75 feet wide and 45 feet high. 16 Make a roof for it and finish the ark to within 18 inches of the top. Put a door in the side of the ark and make lower, middle and upper decks. 17 I am going to bring floodwaters on the earth to destroy all life under the heavens, every creature that has the breath of life in it. Everything on earth will perish. 18 But I will establish my covenant with you, and you will enter the ark—you and your sons and your wife and your sons’ wives with you. 19 You are to bring into the ark two of all living creatures, male and female, to keep them alive with you. 20 Two of every kind of bird, of every kind of animal and of every kind of creature that moves along the ground will come to you to be kept alive. 21 You are to take every kind of food that is to be eaten and store it away as food for you and for them.” 22 Noah did everything just as God commanded him. …. 7:11 In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, on the seventeenth day of the second month—on that day all the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened. 12 And rain fell on the earth forty days and forty nights. 13 On that very day Noah and his sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth, together with his wife and the wives of his three sons, entered the ark. 14 They had with them every wild animal according to its kind, all livestock according to their kinds, every creature that moves along the ground according to its kind and every bird according to its kind, everything with wings. 15 Pairs of all creatures that have the breath of life in them came to Noah and entered the ark. 16 The animals going in were male and female of every living thing, as God had commanded Noah. Then the Lord shut him in. 17 For forty days the flood kept coming on the earth, and as the waters increased they lifted the ark high above the earth. 18 The waters rose and increased greatly on the earth, and the ark floated on the surface of the water. 19 They rose greatly on the earth, and all the high mountains under the entire heavens were covered. 20 The waters rose and covered the mountains to a depth of more than twenty feet. 21 Every living thing that moved on the earth perished—birds, livestock, wild animals, all the creatures that swarm over the earth, and all mankind. 22 Everything on dry land that had the breath of life in its nostrils died. 23 Every living thing on the face of the earth was wiped out; men and animals and the creatures that move along the ground and the birds of the air were wiped from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those with him in the ark. (NIV84)
[Show a picture of the ark, the animals going into it, and Noah.] I was wondering if you can tell me who this man is in the picture [Point to Noah.] This is Noah. [Point to the ark.] What does God call this long object in the Bible? It is an ark. It is a big wooden box. If you started walking from the side wall of the church to the other side of the church, and then another half of the church, that’s how wide the ark was (75 ft). If you walk from the front of the church to the back, through the wall for 6 more church lengths, that is how long the ark was (430 ft.). It was about as high as to the ceiling (45 ft). It had one door.
Why did God tell Noah and his family to build this ark? (What do we call all that water that God was going to send to destroy the earth of that time?) God was going to flood all the land on the earth because everybody, except Noah’s family, refused to believe in God and obey him. So God covered all the land with water as deep as from the floor to above the lights in church (20 ft.). Can you swim in water that deep for half of a year and not get tired without a life jacket? No. And even if you had a life jacket, can you live that long without any food? No. So what happened to all the people who were not in the ark with Noah and his family? They all drown.
When God sent all the water, the people were not expecting the flood. They were not ready. Jesus is coming on Judgment Day. Many people don’t expect this either. They won’t be ready. And like those who died in the flood, the people not ready when Jesus returns will be punished in hell. God tells us how to be ready. He tells us to believe in Jesus so that we get to go to heaven. What did Jesus do to save us? He paid for our sins and obeyed God for us. Keep believing this and you will be ready when Jesus comes on the Last Day.
Fellow Redeemed who know that Jesus is coming to judge the world,
This past summer and fall the news has reported some devastating floods in different sections of our nation and in different parts of the world. The meteorologists gave people a heads up that big rains were coming as they studied their weather models. But suppose that you never had experienced rain. Suppose you never had seen the waters in a stream or river rise from a downpour. Suppose you had never thought about let alone seen a huge square-cornered, motorless, rudderless barge that was more than a football field long with three decks. [Such a craft would be one- half to one-third the size of today’s ocean cruise ships.] Suppose a person and his three sons were building such a big wooden box in the middle of a well-populated area far from any ocean. And suppose this person all during the 120 year ark building project kept encouraging the people to repent of their unbelief. He urged the world to turn their hearts to worshiping and obeying the true God, so they could be saved from the destruction that he would bring to the current earth of their time because mankind had become so corrupt and violent because of their sinfulness.
This was the setting for Noah and his family as they remained faithful to God in a totally unbelieving world. And the word “total” is no exaggeration. Moses recorded that out of the entire world population, Noah’s family of 8 were the only believers. You can imagine the laughing stock they had become in their ark project. But the day came with their lifeboat was finished. The day came when they had finished bringing in all the food needed during the flood for themselves and the animals which God would bring into the ark. The day came when they entered the ark and “the LORD closed the door.” The day came with the torrents of rain came that emptied the water reservoir above the earth and was joined by the water gushing up from under the ground. “For forty days the flood kept coming on the earth, and as the waters increased they lifted the ark high above the earth. 18 The waters rose and increased greatly on the earth, and the ark floated on the surface of the water. 19 They rose greatly on the earth, and all the high mountains under the entire heavens were covered. 20 The waters rose and covered the mountains to a depth of more than twenty feet.” Despite all the preaching that Noah had been doing with the warning, The World-wide Flood Came Unexpectedly.
When Moses wrote the book of Genesis, he did not put in any Chapter or verse numbers. On the basis of subject matter, the words, “This is the account of Noah,” can rightly be taken as the beginning of chapter three of the book. Chapter 1 was “the account of the heavens and the earth,” creation. Chapter 2 was “the account of Adam” and the subsequent life of mankind as it unfolded in a sinful human race. By the time of Noah, we are told, “11 Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight and was full of violence. 12 God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways. 13 So God said to Noah, “I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth.”
Because sin is so deeply rooted in each individual, “every formation of the thoughts of a person’s heart is evil all the time” (6:5). God announced that he was changing his course in his governing of the world because this sinfulness was so widespread trampling the rights of others. People became predators of one another, not helpers or concerned family or neighbor. God’s grace enabled Noah to remain devoted in the withering conditions under which he and his family had to live and labor. The word “righteous” appears in the Bible for the first time describing Noah. The term refers to God’s gracious action of declaring a person right with God because of what the coming Savior, Jesus, would carry out to rescue a whole world of sinners from God’s curse, from self-serving lives, from the lordship of Satan. It was not what good we do or what evil we avoid that meets his requirements so that we are saved from punishment in hell. No, it is faith in his promise that Jesus did everything that God uses as the way a person meets his requirements to have eternal life.
(1.) The Flood did not come without warning. But no one had believed Noah. His life was “blameless” when it came to what people saw. He was a model for how to “walk with God,” how to talk, how to act, what to do with a heart that is devoted to God. But it was “by faith Noah...became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith” (Heb 11:7). For sure Noah pointed people to “the promised Seed” (2 Pet 2:5), the son that would come from Eve when God said the time was right and give us “God’s righteousness.” And Noah’s faith showed as he “was...wholly devoted to God among the people of his time.” Noah’s exemplary faith and life in a godless world shat that God can grow a rise even in a pile of manure.
If God can do it with Noah, we can find comfort today as we live in a world today that some call the post-Christian era. Struggling, as we do, in American culture where child abuse is the leading cause of death among infants, where one in three pregnant women chooses to dispose of her child through abortion, where drive-by shootings, or knock-out punches on unsuspecting victims, or the latest Internet outrage, or sexual intimacy without being married or opposite gender hardly raise an eyebrow, we Christians ask, “How Long, Lord?” God’s loyal love produced Noah’s staunchness. God’s gospel promise, channeled to us in Word and sacrament, will do the same for us. No matter how uncomfortable, distracting, and distressing today’s moral (or should I say “immoral”) climate, we are confident that “he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Php 1:8). That’s God promise and we can put our money where God’s mouth is because he doesn’t lie.
(2.) The Flood came as God’s destroying agent. The flood was no accident, or just some natural phenomenon. It was the tool God made to achieve his purpose of making clear that he hates sin and punishes it. It was an event that also showed that his patience has a limit. This is true with our world as well. The Flood destroyed every air-breathing, land or sky-dwelling being from insect, to lizard, to bird, to pets, to lions, to dinosaurs, to people at that time all over the world, not just in one area. When Jesus returns, it won’t be after some world-destroying bomb or disaster. He will come to a world moving along as usual – working, sleeping, starting families, etc. Then, in the instant that he returns, all people will be separated in Judgment. His angels will gather all the believers to be with him at that time. And he will use fire to destroy the planet with its sin and replace it with “a new heavens and a new earth, the home of righteousness.” (2 Pet 3)
The world after Judgment Day will be totally different, just as the world is for us now after the flood. When Jesus returns, the world will not expect the fire he will bring. The World-wide Flood Came Unexpectedly. Jesus’ coming will be unexpectedly even of believers. We know he is returning. But because we don’t know exactly when, his arrival will be unexpected. That is why we are to be prepared at all times. Noah was. He wasn’t worried because he believed (3.) The Flood came to rescue the Noah family. Jesus is coming to rescue his whole Christian family.
The Flood has two sides to it. It was a means of punishment that God used to send a lot of people to hell. The flood waters filled their lungs driving out the life breath and ending their chance to repent and believe for eternal life. Jesus’ return on the last day will end a lot of peoples chance for the same repentance. That is why the Bible warning to every unbeliever, and to everyone contemplating turning away for Christianity and turning to the ways of sin, “repent, and turn to Jesus as your Savior!”
The Flood also was a blessing that rescued the Noah family. Peter in his 1 letter (ch. 3) spoke of Jesus’ descending to hell on Easter morning to announce his total victory saying, “he went and announced to the spirits in prison 20 who disobeyed long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, 21 and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand—with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.” Through baptism you have been washed with Christ’s blood and purified from all your sins in God’s eyes. Your conscience has no grounds to accuse you of being God’s enemy and sentenced to hell. Your conscience as a Christian looks in the mirror and sees a person covered with Jesus’ holy actions and filled with love for God. This is mercy in its most magnificent display. This is the gospel promise you have by faith. This is why we look forward to Jesus’ second coming. “Come Lord Jesus.” Amen.