Copyright (c) 2008 Jon Straumfjord
By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith. (Hebrews 11:7, NKJV; cf: Genesis 6:1-8:22)
as it was in the days of Noah, … They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. (Luke 17:26-27, NKJV)
… God … did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, one of eight people, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly; (2 Peter 2:4-5, NKJV)
Noah, the grandson of Methuselah, and great-grandson of Enoch, was commissioned by the Lord Himself to prepare a way of escape for those that would be saved from the Lord’s wrath on sinful mankind. So, in faithful obedience, Noah, his three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth, his wife, and his son’s wives spent 120 years building an incredibly large boat, in a land that had no water and had never seen rain. Can you imagine that? It had NEVER rained before on the earth, but Noah was commanded to build a boat, in a land that could not even hope to float even a row boat, much less a large ship that was 70% the size of a World War II Independence class aircraft carrier!
Every evening when the temperature would drop, and a mist would settle over the land to provide the water that was so much needed for the plant life. Rain had never been seen, ever, and yet Noah continued to tell every passerby that it was going to rain, and everyone on the earth was going to drown, except those who would enter his ark! Even though tens of thousands of people traveled dozens, and even hundreds of miles just to see the site, Noah didn’t even convince a single person in his 120 years of preaching, not even his own brothers and sisters. More than likely, his own family entered the ship, simply because Noah was the head of the family, and he told them to do it, not because they actually believed what he had to say. They probably expected Noah to eventually leave the ark after a few days or months without any sign of the predicted rain.
The only one who was really on his side was his crazy grandpa Methuselah, who continued to talk about his father Enoch being suddenly taken up to heaven. Happily, Noah’s father, Lamech, died five years before the flood, while Methuselah lived until the deluge began. After Methuselah expelled his very last breath, the rains began to fall, and the prophesied judgment on the ancient world also fell. Noah had spent 120 years preaching to anyone who would listen, and could not convert even one person. Even his own family was shocked to see it begin raining, but because they had obeyed Noah, they were safe from the judgment that fell in the entire world, even though they initially didn’t believe it themselves.
So what can we learn about faith from Noah? First, true faith is persistent, even in the face of all detractors. It appears that Noah was a failure since he wasn’t able to convert anyone outside his immediate family, but, because of his faith, mankind survived the flood. Second, true faith perseveres over time. Noah spent 120 years building the ark, simply because the Lord told him to build it. Third, true faith ultimately overcomes any situation. The fruit of Noah’s faith was the salvation of his own family, and the preservation of mankind.