Floods reminds us about the times of Noah
Chennai city and Tamil Nadu experienced unprecedented rains in November-December 2015. The amount of rain received was a record after 1916. The disaster caused immense human pain and suffering. Many lost their homes, possessions and loved ones. Many bitterly witnessed their 30 years or more life savings washed away before their very eyes. My wife and I were sitting at home, unable to move out. Our son was struck in Bangalore and could not come home for three days. That was the time I read Noah’s flood again to gain new insights.
Noah’s time flood teaches that God judged the humanity for their wickedness. However, God chose Noah and in the ark he built, was a microcosm. Then the torrential rain brought floods that sank the whole earth. Noah’s ark was a rectangular box with three decks and multiple cabins that could accommodate all the species. Noah and his family had to remain in the ark for a year as it took that much time for the water to dry up. Noah offers an offering and God provides promise and covenant with the sign of rainbow.
I Sin of Humanity:
- Spiritual blindness and rebellion
- a) Spiritual Disobedience
The inhabitants of the earth did not obey the Lord or His commandment. Disobedience and rebellion was very clear in their attitude and behaviour. God gave them opportunity, warning and even a prophetic sign that Noah built an ark in a dry land. Nevertheless people did not turn from their wickedness. Peter clearly writes: “… because they formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water.” (I Peter 3:20)
- b) Spiritual callousness
The people on the planet were living a mundane life. They neither did not know the creator nor the purpose of their existence. They behaved their life purpose was two things: Eating and drinking; Marrying and giving in marriage. The sensual living of entertainment, and enjoyment was their priority. The purpose of marriage to raise godly generation was not there. “Just as it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of Man. They were eating and drinking and marrying and being given in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all.” (Luke 17:26) These people was watching the old building a huge box. Many must have worked in the project and got salary also. However, they did not have any spiritual inclination to know why Noah was building it.
- c) Spiritual death
The people in the world were sinking in the quagmire of sin, wickedness and spiritual darkness. God was ignored, then denied and later defied. The people committed spiritual suicide. Then the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not abide in man forever, for he is flesh: his days shall be 120 years.” (Genesis 6:3) When the Spirit of God stops working in a person’s life, the eternal death and sentence of judgment comes on that person.
- Moral depravity
- a) Wickedness
God had to judge the world because of human wickedness. The word wickedness means evil and sinfulness. Wickedness is not sin of ignorance. It is done willfully, consciously and actively. Though the people knew what they were doing was immoral they continued to do with impunity. This we see today more and more. Instead of being ashamed about their behavour they brag and take pride about such behaviour.
- b) Evil Intentions
The motivation or intention of the heart or thought process also was evil. The inward wickedness is expressed in outward sinful behaviour. In other words, the people had criminal mindset. God weighs thoughts. (Proverbs 16:2 and 21:2) “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. And the Lord regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart.” (Genesis 6: 5-6)
The wickedness was so great, that God regretted for creating human being. That clearly explains the grief in the heart of the Father. The process of redemption was messy, dirty, expensive, tough, and painful. Sin had completely knocked out humans and brought them to level zero. God had to create a new person. Lord grieved for the fallen hurting humanity like a father who grieves for his children.
- Social disharmony
- a) Corruption
“Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence.” (Genesis 6:11) Corruption is unethical and dishonest behaviour. A person who has been entrusted with authority or power or influence misuses them. The person misuses such power or authority to get personal gain or gratify personal desires. Exploiting others economically, socially, politically or sexually is corruption. Bribe and embezzlement has become a social norm. Dowry is another form of corruption. Exploiting female servants, subordinates and even students for sexual favour is another form of corruption.
- b) Violence
Violence is another sin of Noah’s time. Discussion, debate and dissent was not part of the social behaviour or decision making process, instead violence was. In the world, where survival of fittest is considered as natural, violence is a legitimate method for ultimate result. Each person thought s/he was right and demonstrated that violently. The powerful trod over the powerless, weak and marginalized. Poor were intimidated into submission. Ruthlessness and savagery was evident in the violent acts. Road rage, ragging, harassment, molestation, rape, torture, murder, kidnapping…etc are common violence we read in newspapers every day.
II Instrument of Righteousness
Noah was an instrument of righteousness used by God. “Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness.” (Romans 6:13) His life was not like his contemporaries. He did not follow the popular culture. He was not wicked or violent. His intention was not criminal and was not corrupt. “Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God.” (Genesis 6:9) God gives witness about Noah along with Daniel and Job as righteous people. “Even if these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they would deliver but their own lives by their righteousness, declares the Lord God.” (Ezekiel 14:14)
Noah was obedient to God. He have never seen rain, but simply built a huge wooden rectangular box. It was not a ship with curves, or masts just rectangular box. There were no oars or sails. The purpose was not for sailing, but just floating. Noah was not a ship builder and did not have expertise, but he obeyed. The ark was exactly six times longer than it was wide; this is the same ratio used by modern ship builders. Noah did not build it on a sea shore but on dry ground.
Noah preached in three ways: by his life, words and prophetically by building the ark. Peter terms him as preacher of righteousness. (II Peter 2:5) Noah is listed in the heroes of faith. “By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.” (Hebrews 11:7) Noah could believe what was not seen. He walked by faith and not by sight.
III Redemption and Covenant
Sovereign God judges the whole humanity. However, he makes provision for the righteous person to be saved. “But 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.” (Genesis 618) The Lord fulfills his covenant by protecting and saving Noah and his family. God used Noah to re-populate the earth.
God also gives a promise and covenant with a sign. The promise is not to destroy the earth again, (Genesis 8:21) with the sign of rainbow. (Genesis 9:11) God will judge the earth again as Peter writes: “But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.” (II Peter 3:7)
God the creator; God the Judge; and God the redeemer God as Sovereign Lord and Judge condemned the sinful humanity and judged the whole world. However, he made a provision of ark for redeeming the people of faith. God is same today. He is the creator, and Sovereign God. Through Lord Jesus Christ he has made a provision like the ark for us to be saved. He is the redeemer and the Saviour of the world. Those come in humility, repentance and faith will be saved, while arrogant, proud and rebellious would be judged.