Those who followed 1. Noah
Those who followed 1. Noah
Key Text Gen 6 We are starting a new series today that will run through the next five weeks; looking at some people who followed God. We will be asking the question what made them unique in their following after God, what characteristics did they display, and asking how can we apply this into our own lives. We will look at people like Noah, Enoch, Moses, Joshua and Gideon. Each of these characters will bring for us a picture of what it means to follow God. Tonight we are looking at Noah. Noah was a man who followed alone; he stood unique in his contemporaries. Imagine being the only person who believed. We read this in Genesis chapter 6 1When man began to multiply on the face of the land and daughters were born to them, 2the sons of God saw that the daughters of man were attractive. And they took as their wives any they chose. 3Then the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not abide in man forever, for he is flesh: his days shall be 120 years.” 4The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of man and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men who were of old, the men of renown. 5 The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6And the Lord regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. 7So the Lord said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them.” 8But Noah found favour in the eyes of the Lord. Noah and the Flood
9These are the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God. 10And Noah had three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth. 11Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence. 12And God saw the earth, and behold, it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth. 13And God said to Noah, “I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence through them. Behold, I will destroy them with the earth. 14Make yourself an ark of gopher wood. Make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and out with pitch. 15This is how you are to make it: the length of the ark 300 cubits, its breadth 50 cubits, and its height 30 cubits. 16Make a roof for the ark, and finish it to a cubit above, and set the door of the ark in its side. Make it with lower, second, and third decks. 17For behold, I will bring a flood of waters upon the earth to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life under heaven. Everything that is on the earth shall die. 18But I will establish my covenant with you, and you shall come into the ark, you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you. 19And of every living thing of all flesh, you shall bring two of every sort into the ark to keep them alive with you. They shall be male and female. 20Of the birds according to their kinds, and of the animals according to their kinds, of every creeping thing of the ground, according to its kind, two of every sort shall come in to you to keep them alive. 21Also take with you every sort of food that is eaten, and store it up. It shall serve as food for you and for them.” 22Noah did this; he did all that God commanded him. So let us address some realities that we see here: firstly Noah lived in a world that was not like ours It is obvious to us that the world that Noah lived in was distinctly different! There is an argument that the world that Noah lived in had no rain; however, the arguments for a rainless world seem a bit weak from the Genesis account; some argue from Genesis 2 where it says that there was no rain but rather a mist (in Genesis 2:5-6). The problem with this assertion is that it also states that there was no man to tend the ground. So to argue that there was no rain in the time of Noah (recognising that an undisclosed amount of time has already pasted from Gen 2 to Gen 6) is as logical as saying that there was no farming from until after Noah it simply is not true. There was however something unique in this time and that is the Nephilim – the literal translation of this word means the fallen. We don’t have time to go into depth in terms of an exegetical explanation of who these Nephilim where; but simply put they were unique creatures of supernatural ability that seems to die out in the time of the occupation of Canaan by Israel. The emphasis is this; Noah lived in a very peculiar world; were I believe Scripture reveals to us that the hearts of men where indulging in extreme wicked behaviour and extremely dark things of supernatural origin and deeply wicked intention. A time when the lines between good and evil were blurred and where physical and spiritual were also blurred. And yet it was a time very much like ours: People were given and taken in marriage People were getting on in living their lives People lived their lives without considering their maker. The New Testament in Matthew 24 Jesus tells us that the end will be like the days of Noah; In all this wickedness spread, the hearts of men became perverse and it got to a point that only one man found favour with God; ONE man in all the earth was found blameless. Church if you think you have it bad living in a secular society; try doing that and being the only one. Now as we look into how Noah followed God it must be recognized that Genesis 6:8 says to us quite clearly; “But Noah found favour in the eyes of the Lord.” The Hebrew word there literally means Noah found grace! How Noah lived and his commitment to the Lord was an overflow of the grace and favour that he had found in the Lord. I have to warn you; Noah is going to make you feel pretty bad about your walk with God J but be encourage Noah was only able to walk with the Lord because he found favour. And you and I tonight if we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as our Lord and saviour, if we confess with our lips that he is Lord and believe in our hearts that he was raised from the dead; we will be saved; we will find God’s favour. But in light of all this we see a great lesson to be learned in the life of Noah; Noah followed God and he did this by: Noah walked faithfully before God Noah was a man who obeyed Noah was a man who Persevered In Gen 6:9 it states: “Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God.” What does it mean to walk faithfully with God? I think what is clear from the passage is that Noah was unlike those around him, we walked differently. He walk with God as opposed to those of the world who walked in their own ways and whose ways had become corrupted and bent on evil. But I think it is also more than simply being different, Noah walked faithfully with God, the Bible says he was perfect in his generation and he walked faithfully, so he was different to those around him; which I think is important. But more than that he was known as someone who walked faithfully with God. In character, action, and person Noah was known as someone who reflected the one He knew because he walked with Him! I wonder if I was to ask tonight who would be as bold to say I walk with God, people know me as a man or woman who walks with God. I think many of us have that as a goal in our lives, but it seems very sure to say it. I want to encourage you though, if you are seeking after God, if you are trying to walk in His footsteps I believe you too are a person who walks with God. Walking with God is taking the steps he would take, it is exhibiting the characteristics that he would exhibit. And it comes not from anything else but knowing Him! I believe that as we read Scripture as we engage God that we learn about who He is and so in this we want to change. As Tim Keller says; If your god never disagrees with you, you might just be worshiping an idealized version of yourself. As we learn more about Him and interact with Him (can I put it this way: as we walk with Him) we are conformed into being more like Him. The challenge on our behalf is to walk with Him, to seek Him, to learn more about Him and interact more with Him. Noah was not only a man who walked with God but; Gen 6:22 “Noah did everything just as God commanded him.” If we run though everything that God commanded Noah to do in the times that he did it, Noah was a man who followed God in unbelievable circumstances. And I guess that is the reality that obedience is easy when it is unopposed, or even supported, how much more when it is opposed by the masses. I guess that is what we face in the world today as the world moves more and more into a secular-every-life-and-lifestyle-is-right-as-long-as-it-doesn’t-hurt-anyone world. The reality as the world becomes more and more disengaged from absolute truth it will be those who hold onto and expound absolute truth who will be villainised. Noah gives us a lesson on following God when it is unpopular, but more than that he gives us a lesson on obeying when it is easier not to. And I guess the challenge for us today is how committed are we to following God, will we follow God even if we have to do it alone and will we obey God even when it gets unpopular to do so? Noah did all that the Lord commanded Him to do; I have decided to follow Jesus; no turning back! No matter who opposes me, no matter what comes against me; I will obey Him who gave His life; I will live every second for the one who loved me so much that He died for me! In light of his great love; I am compelled to obey! Noah not only walked with the Lord , he not only obey but: It is never mentioned in Scripture how long Noah took to build the ark: Some say 120 years from the I will content with them for 120 year in Gen 6:3, however this is a stretch of the meaning of the passage. It is more likely as a limit on how long people will live and not the time to judgment. We see in Gen 5:32 we see that Noah was 500 years old when he had His boys, and 600 when he entered the ark; therefore from what is inferred from the passage it could have not taken longer than 100 years. The reality is that it was probably a long task, as in the region of 60- 100 years which is a big ask. So let me ask you; what’s your 60 to 100 year plan? Most of us don’t make it to February with our New Year’s resolutions; try making it to 2076! I find it interesting that the Bible doesn’t often commend us for a strong start; rather it commends us and commands us to persevere and end strong. Why? Because the walk that God calls us to is a marathon and not a sprint. What is truly interesting is that Bible never gives us the narrative on the actually building of the ark; I wonder what Noah’s kids were thinking as this progress. Because they were boys I’m sure year one was exciting and “cool”. But by year 30 they were like “Dad is still on this boat project!” I’m sure when their hands were completely calloused and they had experienced their one millionth and one splinter they were tempted to cast in the towel, but Noah didn’t; he persevered. Church one of the clear markers of those who follow is that they are willing to push through especially when things get tough? Did Noah want to quit? The Bible doesn’t give us that information; I’m sure that there must have been times when he thought; “Why am I even doing this?” but the conclusion is given to us; Noah persevered and finished strong in the call that God put on His life. Church don’t just start strong put your shoulder to the wheel and finish that which God called you to finish. Keep at it no matter what comes against you; no matter what opposition you might face keep at it; if God has called you to something it might take 60 years it might take 100 but He will bring to completion the work He started in you! Finish Strong church! So church as we look at those who went before us; those who followed God; we look at Noah and see a man who fought through the difficult time he found himself in and he followed God in walking with Him even when it was rare to, obey what he commanded Him to do even when it was unpopular to do so and he persevered in what God called him to even when it seemed like forever to finish the task. Church following after God will take us to commit ourselves to God with everything. But His grace with enable us to do all that he has called us to do.