The story of Noah and the ark is one of the most well-known Bible stories. God chose Noah, who was a righteous man, to build a massive ark to hold representatives of all the animals of the world. This was because God had decided to flood the entire world to destroy the wickedness of mankind. Noah obeyed God’s command and built the ark, allowing his family and the animals to survive the global flood.
This amazing account shows God’s mercy in saving Noah and the animals, as well as His judgment against sin. Even in a world filled with evil, God remembered Noah and provided an ark to deliver him. This demonstrates that God cares for His righteous followers even in the midst of His judgment on the wicked.
The story of Noah and the ark teaches us key lessons that are still applicable today. As we examine this story, we will see that God is a God of miracles who speaks to His people, that His Word can be trusted, and that He delivers those who faithfully follow Him.
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- God miraculously protected and saved Noah, his family, and representatives of all the animals from the global flood. This shows God’s mercy and supernatural power.
- God spoke to Noah and gave him specific instructions to build the ark and fill it with animals. This shows God speaks to His people.
- Noah faithfully obeyed God’s instructions. Obedience to God is important, even when it seems radical or unrealistic.
- God always keeps His promises. He promised to flood the world and to keep Noah safe in the ark, and He fulfilled both promises.
- Even in judgment, God provides salvation to the righteous who trust in Him. The ark offers a picture of salvation in Jesus.
The Wickedness of Mankind
The story opens by providing context for the major event of the global flood. Genesis 6:5 states “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.” (NKJV) The earth had become corrupt and filled with violence. All people – except Noah – had turned away from God and were living in open rebellion against Him.
The wickedness of mankind grieved God’s heart: “The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled.” (Genesis 6:6 NKJV) God takes no pleasure in judging people’s sin, but He cannot allow open rebellion and corruption to spread endlessly.
So God decided to purge the earth of this wickedness and start over again: “So the Lord said, ‘I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created–and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground–for I regret that I have made them.'” (Genesis 6:7 NKJV)
However, there was one righteous man among all the people on earth – Noah.
In the midst of worldwide corruption, Noah stood out as a shining light of faithfulness and integrity: “Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God.” (Genesis 6:9 NKJV)
Noah had consistently chosen to follow God’s ways rather than adopting the evil practices of those around him. He steadfastly pursued a relationship with God even when no one else cared about pleasing the Lord.
God saw Noah’s faithful obedience and decided to spare him from the coming judgment. 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.” (Genesis 6:13 NKJV)
In the midst of His wrath, God remembered mercy by protecting the one man on earth who honored Him. He sovereignly chose to use Noah to fulfil His plan to repopulate the earth after the flood.
God Speaks to Noah
After determining to spare Noah, God personally spoke to him and entrusted him with instructions:
“Then God said to Noah, “The end of all flesh has come before Me, for the earth is filled with violence through them; and behold, I will destroy them with the earth. Make yourself an ark of gopherwood; make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and outside with pitch…And behold, I Myself am bringing floodwaters on the earth, to destroy from under heaven all flesh in which is the breath of life; everything that is on the earth shall die. But I will establish My covenant with you; and you shall go into the ark—you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you.” (Genesis 6:13-14, 17-18 NKJV)
Remarkably, God spoke directly to Noah and gave him specific directions about how to build the ark and who would go on it. Noah did not have to wonder if he was really hearing from God – the Lord communicated the message directly to him.
This illustrates that God speaks to His people. Even in Old Testament times before the gift of the Holy Spirit, God had the ability to directly reveal His plans and instructions to those following Him. How much more can we expect God to speak to us today through the Holy Spirit living inside believers!
God’s Instructions for the Ark
God gave Noah incredibly detailed and specific instructions for building the massive ark that would save him from the global flood. God told him the exact materials to use, dimensions for the ark, and details about the number of decks and rooms.
This showed that God cares about details. Noah had to follow all of God’s specifications exactly in order to build an ark that would float and keep everyone safe. God didn’t give a general suggestion and leave the details up to Noah. Instead, He carefully laid out every aspect of how the ark was to be constructed down to the dimensions and materials.
In the same way, God cares about the details of our lives today. Even things that may seem small or insignificant to us are important to God. We can come to Him about anything – even the minor details – and know that He cares. As we carefully follow His specifications for our lives like Noah did, we can walk in blessing and favor.
Noah’s Faith and Obedience
Imagine the radical faith and obedience it took for Noah to carry out what God told him! Build an enormous wooden ship miles from the nearest ocean, large enough to hold two of every kind of animal – simply because God said a flood was coming?
This seemed completely unrealistic – there had never been a worldwide flood before! Yet Noah chose to trust and obey God even when what God said sounded impossible. The Bible says Noah’s response was decisive and immediate: “And Noah did according to all that the Lord commanded him.” (Genesis 6:22 NKJV)
Noah dropped everything and devoted himself to fulfilling the mission God gave him, regardless of how outlandish it sounded. His example calls us to radical steps of faith and obedience. As we follow God wholeheartedly today, He will equip us to walk in the purposes He has for us even if they seem impossible in the natural. Like Noah, we must cling to God’s promise that He will bring His plans to pass if we trust and obey.
Noah Warns the People
For 120 years as Noah constructed the massive ark, he also preached to those around him to warn them of coming judgment:
“[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, and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand—with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.” (1 Peter 3:20-22 NKJV)
Noah took the time to preach righteousness and warn people of God’s coming judgment, even though no one took heed of his message. God patiently waited as Noah built the ark and shared the gospel, desiring for more people to repent. However, the people’s hearts were stubborn and resistant.
The Global Flood
After Noah completed constructing the enormous ark following all of God’s specifications, God brought the animals to the ark miraculously:
“Then the Lord said to Noah, “Come into the ark, you and all your household, because I have seen that you are righteous before Me in this generation…And they went into the ark to Noah, two by two, of all flesh in which is the breath of life. So those that entered, male and female of all flesh, went in as God had commanded him; and the Lord shut him in.” (Genesis 7:1, 7-9, 16 NKJV)
Imagine the spectacle of animals from all over the world journeying to Noah and entering the ark at just the right time! This required divine intervention, proving that God can do the miraculous. He supernaturally brought the animals to Noah and shut the door of the ark safely at just the right moment.
After Noah’s family and all the animals were secure inside, the global flood began just as promised:
“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. And rain fell on the earth forty days and forty nights.” (Genesis 7:11-12 NKJV)
The account makes clear this was no ordinary localized flood.Torrential rain fell from the sky while massive underground sources of water burst forth for 40 days and nights without stopping. The floodwaters rose steadily until “every living thing that moved on land perished—birds, livestock, wild animals, all the creatures that swarm over the earth, and all mankind.” (Genesis 7:21 NKJV)
The global flood was God’s supernatural judgment on the wickedness and rebellion of the human race. Except for those preserved with Noah on the ark, the entire human population and animal population was wiped out.
Yet again we see God’s mercy mingled with His judgment. In the midst of punishing sin, He provided an ark to rescue those who trusted Him.
After the Flood
After 5 months, the waters began to steadily recede. The ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat as the land dried out. When the earth was dry enough, God commanded Noah to leave the ark.
Noah built an altar and sacrificed to the Lord as an expression of gratitude for God’s salvation. God responded by promising He would never again flood the whole earth or cut off all life in this way.
As a sign of this promise, God produced a rainbow in the sky:
“’I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth… Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life.” (Genesis 9:13, 15 NKJV)
From this account, we learn that God keeps His promises. The global flood came just as He said it would. And afterwards, He kept His promise never again to destroy the earth in this manner. The rainbow remains to this day as a visible reminder of God’s covenant faithfulness.
The Ark as Salvation
The ark provides a beautiful picture of salvation through Jesus Christ. Like the people of Noah’s time, we are all sinners deserving of God’s judgment. Yet in His mercy, God provided a way of salvation from His coming judgment, just like He did with the ark.
Those who put their faith in God’s Word and entered the ark were saved. In the same way, if we put our faith in Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross for us, we receive forgiveness of sins and salvation from eternity in hell.
“For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit.” (1 Peter 3:18 NKJV)
Just as God shut Noah and his family safely inside the ark, all who trust in Christ have been sealed with the Holy Spirit as a guarantee of eternal life in heaven. We can anchor our lives on the promise of salvation just as Noah anchored his life on God’s promise to deliver him through the flood.
The ark gives us a vivid picture of the salvation God offers each person in Jesus. Have you received God’s gift of salvation through Christ? If so, you can rest securely in Him knowing He has sealed your eternal destiny just as He sealed Noah’s destiny within the ark.
Lessons for Today
The story of Noah and the ark contains timeless spiritual truths we can apply to our lives today:
- God deeply cares about righteousness and justice. He judges wickedness but is patient, wanting people to repent. We must turn from sin and call our society back to righteousness.
- God speaks to His people! We can develop personal intimacy with God and hear His voice like Noah did. As we obey what God tells us in the Scriptures, we can know His personal direction for our lives.
- Radical obedience pleases God. He will give us grace to follow Him even when it seems unrealistic or impossible in the natural. We must cling to His promises rather than human reasoning.
- God can do the miraculous! If He could supernaturally bring all the animals to Noah and flood the entire earth, He can intervene miraculously in our lives today when we follow Him in radical faith.
- Salvation comes only through faith in what God has revealed. We must build our lives on the truth of Scripture rather than human wisdom. God’s Word is a firm foundation that will weather any storm.
May the account of Noah encourage us to pursue an intimate relationship with God, obey Him wholeheartedly in faith, share the gospel boldly, and find our security in Christ alone! What an inspiring example of steadfast trust in God despite ridicule and uncertainty. As we walk with God like Noah did, we can rest assured He will lead us into His purposes for our lives and draw others to Himself through us.