The story of Noah and the ark is probably one of the most read stories of the bible. Perhaps it is because of the great tragedy it portrays, or because it is a story of salvation. Noah and his family along with the animals were saved from the flood, while the other people and animals perished as a result of it. Growing up the story of Noah and the ark was one of my favorites; Quite simply because of the drawings depicting the story.
They appeared so beautiful, when after many years I'm realizing the whole of the story. The story of the destruction of mankind, and the story of regrowth. I chose this topic because I realized how little I really do know about Noah and the ark. I will relay the story of Noah and the ark as well as answer a couple questions I have. Who was Noah, and why was he chosen by God? What did he possess that God didn't see in others? I will also look at what was going on at the time as far as why God wanted to erase all of life. "The story of Noah and the ark is one of the most cherished episodes and the most terrifying." (Readers Digest) This paper is not going to explore the possibilities of building such an ark, or weather it was sufficient enough to hold all the animals Noah was to board.
I will not be comparing different stories of the flood, although that would be interesting as well. I am going to look deeper into the story of Noah and the ark. I am looking for reasons for the flood, and reasons Noah was chosen for the task of building the ark. Noah was the ninth decedent from Adam.
Noah was the son of Lamech, and the grandson of Methuselah, and the great-grandson of Enoch who "walked with God." Lamech called his son Noah as to say, "This one will console us for the pain of our hands' work from the soil which the Lord cursed." (Genesis, pg 25) Men began to increase in number." The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil, continually. And the LORD was sorry that he had made man on the earth and it grieved his to his heart. (Genesis 6: 5-6) The LORD was going to wipe out the human race, the cattle, the crawling things and the fowl. God said "I regret that I have made them.
(Genesis 6: 7-8) The LORD found favor in the eyes of Noah. Noah was chosen by God to build an ark. Noah was chosen because he was a righteous man, he was blameless in his time, and he walked with God. (Genesis 6: 9) Genesis 6: 11 says that the earth was corrupt in God's sight and was full of violence. God decided to wipe out mankind with a flood. In order to help repopulate the earth after the flood was over, God called upon Noah.
God told Noah to build himself an ark out of cypress wood, with room inside. He told Noah to cover the ark, both inside and out with pitch to protect it from the waters. God instructed Noah as to the size of the ark, and what it was to look like. "The ark is to be 450 feet long, 75 feet wide, and 45 feet high. Make a roof for it and finish the ark within 18 inches of the top. Put a door in the side of the ark and make lower, middle, and upper decks." (Genesis 6: 15-16) God also told Noah about the plan for the flood, and what he was to do with the ark.
Noah, his wife, his sons, and his sons wives would all be on the ark an spared from the destruction the flood would cause. Along with his family, God wanted Noah to bring two of all living creatures, one male, and one female. Bringing a male and a female of each kind of creature would allow them to reproduce and repopulate their species. The last thing God commanded Noah to do was to take every kind of food that is to be eaten and stored for his family and the creatures.
Noah and his family entered the ark as God had commanded. After seven days, the waters of the flood were over the earth. All the wellsprings of the great deep burst and the casements of the heavens were opened. (Genesis pg 32) It rained for forty days and forty nights. And all the flesh that stirs on the earth perished, the fowl and the cattle and the beasts and all swarming things that swarm upon the earth, and all humankind. (Genesis 7: 21-23) Only Noah and those on the ark with him remained.
God sent a wind over the earth and the waters subsided. The rain from the heavens held back. (Genesis 8: 2) The waters receded little by little from the earth. The ark came to rest on Mount Ararat. Noah sent out a dove to see whether the waters had resided from the surface. The dove, finding no resting place, returned to the ark.
There was still water covering the earth. Seven days later, Noah again let the dove out of the ark. This time the dove returned to the ark with an olive leaf in his bill. Noah knew that the earth had begun to dry up. Another seven days went by, when Noah let out the dove again.
This time, however, the dove did not return. "Noah took off the covering of the ark and he saw and, look, the surface of the ground was dry." (Genesis 8: 13) God spoke to Noah saying, "Go out of the ark, you and your wife and your sons and your sons' wives, with you. All the animals that are with you of all flesh, fowl and cattle and every crawling thing that crawls on the earth, take out with you, and let them swarm through the earth and be fruitful and multiply on the earth." (Genesis 8: 15-17) And so, everyone and everything came out of the ark, more than 6 months after getting on the ark. Upon leaving the ark, Noah built an alter to the LORD, and offered burnt offerings on the alter. God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them, 'Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth.
(Genesis 9: 1) Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him: 'I now establish my covenant with you and with your descendants after you and with every living creature that was with you-the birds, the livestock and all the wild animals, all those that came out of the ark with you-every living creature on earth. I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be cut off by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.' And God said, 'This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. (Genesis 9: 8-13) A covenant is an agreement between God and his people in which God makes certain promises and requires certain behavior from them in return. God made a promise to Noah and his sons promising that he would never again bring a flood to end humankind. The flood provided a second chance for mankind. Noah was chosen by God for a number of reasons.
Noah was considered a righteous man, and blameless in his time. It speaks of this righteousness in 2 Peters 2: 5 .".. he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others." Noah was was also called upon by God because Noah had faith, grace and obedience. These characteristics made Noah stand out from all other men. By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family.
By his faith he condemned the world and became heir to the righteousness that comes by faith. (Hebrews 11: 7) God made a covenant with Noah. "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." (Genesis 6: 18) Grace is an unmerited favor. It is God's free action for the benefit of his people.
(web g-h. htm) "But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD." (Genesis 6: 1-7) Ephesians 2: 8 describes that is is grace that saves people, including Noah, "For it is by grace you have been saved... ." The LORD'S favor to Noah, was being saved from the flood along with his family. Noah was also saved from the flood because of his obedience to God.
Throughout the bible it tells us that Noah did what God had asked him to do. In Genesis 6: 22 it says "Noah did everything just as God commanded him." It continues in Genesis 7: 5, "And Noah did all that the LORD commanded him." Again in Genesis 7: 9 it shows Noah's obedience, .".. male and female, came to Noah and entered the ark, as God had commanded Noah." A similar passage is also found in Genes 7: 16. God commanded Noah to build the ark with enough room for the animals for the purpose that God commanded it, which was to save Noah and his family. This shows others that we too will be saved if we do as God commands. The story of Noah is a story that should remind us that there are consequences for abusing God's laws.
We are to remember that we all have a responsibility to abide by the laws God put forth. It is a story of salvation. Noah was saved as opposed to the others who died in the flood. The others didn't do as God commanded them.
As the LORD says in Jeremiah 18: 7-8 "If at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down and destroyed, and if that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned." It appears that the LORD would have allowed other people to repent and perhaps be saved from the flood, just like Noah. I would assume that people made fun of Noah and his sons for building the ark. The other people, much like Noah had probably never seen rain, and therefore failed to believe that a flood was coming. These nonbelievers perished in the flood.
It was to late for them to repent. They had their chance, but chose not to change their ways.