Character Sketches » Noah
Noah was tenth in the line of descent from Adam through the line of Seth. Nothing is mentioned of his early life, but scripture clearly indicates that his father, Lamech, was a godly man. It would then naturally follow that Lamech taught Noah to look to God, and Noah's life gives clear evidence that this is true.
The first thing that is noted about Noah in Genesis 6:8 is that “Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.” This is the first time grace is mentioned in scripture, and appropriately so. The world of his day with an estimated population of three billion, was thoroughly corrupt, and God's grace was sorely needed to sustain Noah. Several prominent characteristics of this time will clarify this need.
First, there was an unprecedented tendency toward deism or paganism. Along with deism were the following characteristics:
1. Unnatural prominence of women and an open disregard for marriage laws.
2. Progress in the mechanical arts.
3. Alliance of nominal believers and unbelievers.
4. Rejection of the preaching of the faithful.
The prominence of these things today clarifies Christ's words, “As it was in the days of Noah.”
Noah was 500 years old when he sired Shem, Ham and Japeth, and scripture tells us he was just and perfect and walked with God. Hebrews shows that he was justified by faith, undefiled in the world and the last man mentioned of whom it was said, “He walked with God.”
God spoke to Noah and told him of his plans to destroy all substance from off the earth, and God also told him to build the ark. The ark was made of gopher wood with three stories and was pitched with tar inside and out. While there are several theories as to what gopher wood is, nobody has come forth with a valid argument and because many of the plants on earth were destroyed in the flood it is possible that gopher wood doesn't even exist in the world today. Suffice it to say that God's wisdom knew that the gopher wood would do the job better than anything else. The use of the 18” cubit would make the ark an estimated 450 feet long, 75 feet wide and 45 feet high. A door was built into the side and a window, either in the top or side according to the various interpretations.
The ark can be said to typify Christ in the following ways:
1. All the people were invited to come into the ark to avoid God's judgment upon the earth.
a. Acts 2:21 says, “And it shall come to pass that whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
2. The ark had only one door.
a. In John 10:9 Jesus said, “I am 'the door; by me if any man enter in he shall be saved and shall go in and out and find pasture.”
3. The ark provided absolute security, although if anyone had a mind to do so he could jump overboard and drown.
a. “John 3:16 states, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
The ark was built to hold all clean beasts by sevens, both male and female, all unclean beasts by twos, both male and female, and some of all the food necessary for man and beast. The supplies were not only sufficient to last the duration of the flood, but were somehow preserved from the process of decay that normally happens to food stored for a long time. I believe that this was God's miraculous intervention. It is possible however that Noah and his sons were able to use some kind of process that isn't mentioned to store the food even on the ark.
The flood came when Noah was 600 years old, and with the death of all other living creatures and all mankind, Noah became the sole head of the human race consisting of eight people. When those eight people entered the ark, the door was shut by the Lord
and the rains began. The rain continued for forty days and forty nights until the water was 22 ½ feet above all the mountains under heaven, and the ark floated above the earth. Everything that had the breath of life in it was destroyed, and the waters prevailed upon the earth for 150 days. When the waters finally receded, the ark came to rest on Mount Ararat which is located between modern day Iran and Russia.
In the 601st year of Noah's life, on the first day of the first month, Noah removed the cover of the ark and saw that the earth was dry. On the second month and the twenty-first day God told Noah to go forth from the ark.
The first act of Noah after coming off the ark was to build an altar and make a sacrifice in gratitude to God for the deliverance God had provided for him and his family. This is the first altar mentioned in scripture. Noah made an offering of every clean beast and fowl that had been on the ark.
God gave Noah instructions to be fruitful and multiply. Imagine, if you can, being 600 years old and being told to be fruitful and bear children.
Then God made a covenant with him to include:
1. Future maintenance of seasons and days and nights.
2. Man's supremacy over animals.
3. Provision of food.
4. Man's authority over certain of his fellows in matters of the law.
In addition to the covenant promises, God set a bow in the clouds as his promise to never destroy the earth by water again. We call this bow rainbow, and often it can be seen after the rain comes.
As time progressed Noah planted a vineyard, harvested the fruit and made wine from it. He became inebriated with the wine, and passed out. While he was passed out, his youngest son, Ham, discovered him lying naked and told his brothers who came and covered him. Careful study shows that Ham's action in this case was irreverent and therefore earned him a curse from Noah. Shem and Japheth were clearly grieved at the state of their father, refusing to even look at him.
A vitally important and valuable lesson can be learned from Noah's drunkenness. It
wasn't an inexperienced and young man of God who fell into this sin, but a seasoned
man of God. We who call ourselves Christians should learn from this that, no matter
how far along we believe ourselves to be in our walk with God, it is possible for
us to fall, and we need to be obeying the scripture admonition to examine ourselves to see whether we be in the faith. The price of all freedom is and always has been
Noah lived 350 years after the flood, and a chronological study reveals that he lived far into the time of Abraham's life. He died at 950 years of age.
Noah's character is clearly indicated in both the Old and New Testaments. It is undoubtedly true that his strength of character is unparalleled in all of history. The evidence of his faith is shown in that he built the ark on dry land, he predicted an event (rain) which had never been seen before and he went out and preached for 120 years without a single convert. Despite all this he never got discouraged or shaken in his convictions. His strength is revealed in that he stood alone against all the public conduct and opinion predominant in his generation. Noah never doubted God's word and therefore feared God's warnings while his contemporaries ignored them. His obedience is very evident as he didn't hesitate to build the ark and went in and out of it only at God's command. His obedience was a clear indication that he condemned the world in favor of God. The effect of his testimony upon his family must have been tremendous. I would think that there were perhaps even relatives who refused his invitation and so it is today. I remember when I first came to know Christ people thought I was deranged or I went off the deep end. My mom thought that I went overboard and talked about heaven and Hell too much.
Finally, Noah was a type of Christ.
He found grace or favor with God which is comparable with Matthew 3:17.
He was just – Luke 23:47.
He was undefiled – Hebrews 7:26.
Noah's name means rest – Matthew 11:28.
He preserved people from God's judgment – John 3:16.
He was obedient – Philippians 2:8.
We live in a time of incredible evil, and men openly mock God and Jesus Christ. Men all over the world who take a stand for the Lord are in danger of being killed along with their families. In America there is increasing aggression against Christians by individuals, groups and the government, in some cases. As it was in the days of Noah, men refuse to consider their obligation to love and obey God, and will not listen to those who are messengers from God. Year after year the problem grows because those who claim to be Christian have been allowing one thing or the other to keep them from speaking out, preferring to either be silent or water down the message of the Bible and in many cases excluding the warning of God's wrath that will come upon the wicked both in this life and before the judgment seat. Perhaps it is time for God to fulfill the prophecies in the book of Revelation and finally destroy this planet and the heavens above it and restore it to a place where sin will never enter and peace, joy and love abound. The body of Christ must awake to its responsibility to go into all the world and preach the gospel. The gospel that is preached must be the one that brings forth the “whole counsel of God,” and not the weak and insipid presentation of the seeker-friendly gospel of today. We must let people know of God's love and his judgments – not one or the other! To neglect this is foolish and disobedience to God, and will earn his just and righteous wrath and indignation. Like Noah we must stand firm no matter what comes!
C. R. Lord © 1980