Parashat Noah – Building the Ark of Redemption
Beresheet (Genesis) 6:9 – 11:32
Every time I sit to write this blog, the first thing I do — after reading the Scripture portion which I am about to write on — is to read what I previously wrote on the portion. This week, I sensed a need to repeat something that I wrote a couple of years ago, as well as sharing some new insights that He gave me.
Last week’s portion ends with a very sad description of the condition of the world during a time when man’s rebellion and evil were at their peak:
Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. And the LORD said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky; for I am sorry that I have made them.” But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD.
There are some people in the Body of Messiah who mistakenly believe that the God of the “Old” Testament is different from the God of the “New” Testament. Let me be very clear – this is a lie uttered from the mouth of Satan, and those who adhere to it do not believe in the true, living God. We serve ONE GOD, who is the same yesterday, today, and forever!
The living God is also holy and will not tolerate any sin or disobedience. In Genesis 6:11-13 we catch a glimpse of God’s judgment and how final and total it is:
Now the earth was corrupt in the sight of God, and the earth was filled with violence. And God looked on the earth, and behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way upon the earth. Then God said to Noah, “The end of all flesh has come before Me; for the earth is filled with violence because of them; and behold, I am about to destroy them with the earth.”
These verses should instill some dread in our hearts…God does not tolerate wickedness! But we also know that our God is full of grace, which we have seen from the account of Creation. We can also see His grace in his relationship with Noah:
Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his time; Noah walked with God.
In the midst of the incredible darkness of that time, we learn about a man, Noah, who was righteous, blameless, and who walked with God. I am comforted by the fact that God sees us, knows our ways, and that He rewards obedience. In other words, He always has a remnant, those set apart unto Him, who love Him and honor Him not just with their words, but also with their actions.
Noah lived out his faith at all costs. He was ridiculed and mocked for his faith, but he never waivered from it. He put his faith in God in action and did not allow the world to influence his righteousness. As a result of Noah’s faithfulness and obedience, God chose to spare him and his family from His coming judgment. For us disciples of Yeshua the Messiah, Jew and Gentile alike, God has given a very similar call to that of Noah – to walk with God in a righteous, humble, and blameless way. But there’s more to this call…
We have an amazing privilege to partake in God’s wonderful plan of redemption for the world. I see a parallel between Noah and us, and offering His message of salvation to those who are lost in darkness. Noah did this through his obedience to construct the ark, which was a vessel of salvation:
“Make for yourself an ark of gopher wood; you shall make the ark with rooms, and shall cover it inside and out with pitch. And this is how you shall make it: the length of the ark three hundred cubits, its breadth fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits. You shall make a window for the ark, and finish it to a cubit from the top; and set the door of the ark in the side of it; you shall make it with lower, second, and third decks. And behold, I, even I am bringing the flood of water upon the earth, to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life, from under heaven; everything that is on the earth shall perish. But I will establish My covenant with you; and you shall enter the ark — you and your sons and your wife, and your sons’ wives with you. And of every living thing of all flesh, you shall bring two of every kind into the ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female. Of the birds after their kind, and of the animals after their kind, of every creeping thing of the ground after its kind, two of every kind shall come to you to keep them alive. And as for you, take for yourself some of all food which is edible, and gather it to yourself; and it shall be for food for you and for them.” Thus Noah did; according to all that God had commanded him, so he did.
Please do not miss three incredible words: Thus Noah did. He didn’t argue, question, or test God. He just did what God asked him. And because Noah was faithful to obey God, God not only spared his life, but also his entire family. God gave Noah the amazing honor to build an ark for the LORD, through which God would save his entire family, and all the creatures of the earth.
Just like Noah in his time, we also have a calling to build an “ark of redemption” for those whom God will choose to spare from His imminent judgment. And just as it was for Noah, our task may not make much sense to us, but if we are obedient to the LORD, not only our souls will be saved, but also the souls of those around us. Yeshua Himself spoke about “the days of Noah” when He spoke of the coming judgment:
And just as it happened in the days of Noah, so it shall be also in the days of the Son of Man: they were eating, they were drinking, they were marrying, they were being given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all.
These are some sobering words! Let us join together in our dedication to the LORD’s work so that we will not only have a place in His eternal kingdom, but also to do our part to build His kingdom! Noah’s faith alone did not spare him…it was his faith coupled with his obedience that sealed his spot on that ark.
I would like to close with a final thought. In this Parasha, there is also the well-known story of the tower of Babel, and in the Book of Beginnings (Genesis), we find a clear warning that we would be wise to heed:
And they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks and burn them thoroughly.” And they used brick for stone, and they used tar for mortar. And they said, “Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top will reach into heaven, and let us make for ourselves a name; lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.”
Unlike Noah, whose heart was to obey God and build an ark for God, here we see just the opposite. The people’s heart was not for God, but for themselves; they wanted to build themselves a name and were not interested in bringing Him glory. In short, they were interested in building their own kingdom… not God’s.
As we are called to build an ark for the heavenly kingdom, let us be careful to make sure that we are building it for the kingdom’s sake and not for our own sake.