Beresheet (Genesis) 6:9–11:32
Haftarah: Isaiah 54:1–55:5
During the past weeks of reflecting on the temporary nature of our time on earth, the questions arose, “With what am I filling my time? How am I living each day?” The story of Noah, which is the focus of this week’s Scripture portion (Parashah), raises a similar issue of how faith is translated into the way we live.
In Genesis 6:9-22 we read a summary of the story of Noah, that which took place during his time, as well as the instructions that God gave him:
These are the records of the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God. And Noah fathered three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth. 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 humanity had corrupted its way upon the earth. Then God said to Noah, “The end of humanity has come before Me; for the earth is filled with violence because of people; and behold, I am about to destroy them with the earth. Make for yourself an ark of gopher wood; you shall make the ark with compartments, and cover it inside and out with pitch. This is how you shall make it: the length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, its width 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 put the door of the ark on the side; you shall make it with lower, second, and third decks. Now behold, I Myself am bringing the flood of water upon the earth, to destroy all flesh in which there 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, your sons, 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 according to their kind, and of the animals according to their kind, of every crawling thing of the ground according to its kind, two of every kind will come to you to keep them alive. As for you, take for yourself some of every food that is edible, and gather it to yourself; and it shall be food for you and them.” So Noah did these things; according to everything that God had commanded him, so he did.
As we know from the rest of the story, everything God said would happen indeed happened. The flood wiped out every living thing except for Noah, his immediate family, and the animals that were on the Ark. They were protected from God’s judgment and survived the flood.
In Hebrews 11:7 we read:
By faith Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household, by which he condemned the world, and became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.
Noah’s faith to believe and trust God was translated into action. I find it interesting that it was not Noah’s words that brought condemnation to the world, but rather his obedience to God. According to the writer of Hebrews, Noah’s actions were what brought judgment to the world, which brought him honor to become the heir of righteousness that results from faith.
As I write these words, some important questions arise for me: “How does my faith translate in my daily life? Do I just talk the talk, or do I walk the walk? Do I read God’s Word regularly to understand what He asks of me, knowing that my time here is borrowed, or do I take it as mere advice? As His follower, do I understand the judgment that is coming, and do I take actions to build His Ark of Redemption - advancing His Kingdom - or do I live my life in a way that only brings me comfort?”
In Matthew 24:37-39 we read:
For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so will the coming of the Son of Man be.
Yeshua gave us an indication of what the world will be like when He returns. The days in which we are living seem to reflect the verses above, but the most important question is “What am I doing about it?” Just as the rainbow is God’s amazing sign of grace and hope, I also believe it is a reminder to us to fill our time on this earth with what matters to Him.
In closing, while we live in times of chaos which seems to only grow each day, I am encouraged by the hope that we have in our Creator that no matter what happens, the God of Israel is a gracious God full of love and grace as we read in Isaiah 54:1-10:
“Shout for joy, O barren one, you who have borne no child; break forth into joyful shouting and cry aloud, you who have not travailed; for the sons of the desolate one will be more numerous than the sons of the married woman,” says the LORD. “Enlarge the place of your tent; stretch out the curtains of your dwellings, spare not; lengthen your cords and strengthen your pegs. For you will spread abroad to the right and to the left. And your descendants will possess nations and will resettle the desolate cities. Fear not, for you will not be put to shame; and do not feel humiliated, for you will not be disgraced; but you will forget the shame of your youth, and the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more. For your husband is your Maker, whose name is the LORD of hosts; and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel, Who is called the God of all the earth.For the LORD has called you, like a wife forsaken and grieved in spirit, even like a wife of one’s youth when she is rejected,” Says your God. “For a brief moment I forsook you, but with great compassion I will gather you. In an outburst of anger I hid My face from you for a moment, but with everlasting grace I will have compassion on you,”says the LORD your Redeemer. “For this is like the days of Noah to Me, when I swore that the waters of Noah would not flood the earth again; so I have sworn that I will not be angry with you nor will I rebuke you. For the mountains may be removed and the hills may shake, but My grace will not be removed from you, and My covenant of peace will not be shaken,” says the LORD who has compassion on you.
Check out previous blogs on this parashah!
Did you know? — Lone Soldier
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