I know we like to throw shade at Noah because he got drunk when he left the ark, but I don't think that's fair. If we are honest, I think we are more like Noah than we know.
1. Noah's had to Live with Constant Threat.
The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went to the daughters of humans and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown. Genesis 6:4
The Bible tells us that giants were in the land during Noah's life, which means that he had to live among beings who could kill him. Not only were they huge, but they were the heroes of old and were renown men. These categorizations let us know that they were neither weak nor losers. And, to add insult to injury, they were bigger than Noah.
What threats did you grow up around that may have shaped you?
2. God told Noah a Secret that No One Else Heard.
So God said to Noah, “I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth. Genesis 6:13
I know we lllooovvveee receiving insight from God, but once the chills wear off, how do you feel? God told Noah that He was about to destroy the entire world that Noah knew and even the threats he learned to live with. While I'm sure Noah would have been grateful to have the Nephilim destroyed, who would he be now that they were gone? Remember, Noah has never known life without them. While we can romanticize God getting rid of Noah's problems, how would Noah live when the systems he put in place to survive are removed? Who is Noah on the other side of this?
Who would you be if you actually got healed? Would the fear still be there?
3. Noah Obeys God Because God Promises Him Something.
So make yourself an ark of cypress wood; make rooms in it and coat it with pitch inside and out. This is how you are to build it: The ark is to be three hundred cubits long, fifty cubits wide and thirty cubits high. Make a roof for it, leaving below the roof an opening one cubit high all around. Put a door in the side of the ark and make lower, middle and upper decks. 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 6:14-18
Historians believe that it took Noah close to 100 years to build the ark. So year after year, Noah obeyed God according to the promise He made years before. I'm sure Noah got frustrated. I'm sure Noah wanted to give up because the project God gave Noah took years to develop. We don't see any indication that God gave Noah a team either, which could be why it took so long for him to build. Noah wanted the life that God promised and he likely struggled season after season to obtain it, but he made it.
Are you frustrated with the time it's taking to build what God instructed?
4. The Fear of the Unknown.
Seven days from now I will send rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights, and I will wipe from the face of the earth every living creature I have made. Genesis 7:4
The first time we see God mention rain is when He mentioned it to Noah. We would think that we would see rain in Adam's story but we don't, we see it with Noah. Noah doesn't know rain. While he doesn't fully understand it, he knows that it has destroying power. He doesn't know what to expect. He could be afraid. What is rain? What is rain? What is rain?
What do you do when God tells you to do something that you've never seen before?
5. Proximity Can Kill You, Too.
In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, on the seventeenth day of the second month—on that day all the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened. And rain fell on the earth forty days and forty nights. Genesis 7:11-12
Imagine hearing rain fall for the first time. Imagine hearing the screams of individuals drowning. Imagine knowing that the rain outside your door can kill you, too. Though Noah was physically safe, his life was still in danger because he was once again surrounded by danger. Yay! God was killing what could kill him. Yay! God was keeping His promise to Noah, but now he is in the hands of God and unsure of the future. For forty days and forty nights, Noah rocked back and forth through uncertainty. For forty days and forty nights, Noah probably prayed for his life. I know we like to sanitize these Biblical stories, but they aren't always pretty.
How do you deal with the threat of death when you follow God?
6. Locked into God's Cycle.
The animals going in were male and female of every living thing, as God had commanded Noah. Then the Lord shut him in. Genesis 7:16
The Bible tells us that the Lord shut Noah in, which means that Noah couldn't get out even if he wanted to. Though it was for his safety, Noah's agency was taken away and even if he desired, he couldn't move. We have those moments and seasons too. When God decides that we need a season of circumcision, there is nothing we can do to get out of it. When God says that it's our season of crushing, there's nothing we can do. We are shut in. We are miserable. We suffer.
How do you feel when God shuts you into a season and strips you of agency?
7. No Stability.
For forty days the flood kept coming on the earth, and as the waters increased they lifted the ark high above the earth. The waters rose and increased greatly on the earth, and the ark floated on the surface of the water. Genesis 7:17-18
When you follow God, you follow Him out of stability. Yes, Noah had the physical ark around him, like we have the ground beneath us, but do you really feel safe when God says it's time? Are you really excited to be walking by faith and not by sight? If so, please tell me your secret. Yet, we see that though Noah may be uncomfortable, God is also drowning what threatened to kill him. Perhaps that's the silver lining: following God's instructions allowed God to take care of the giants terrorizing Noah.
In this season, could God be killing the enemies of your soul?
8. Navigating the Middle.
The waters flooded the earth for a hundred and fifty days. Genesis 7:24
The middle is where we lose heart. Though the rain only fell for 40 days and nights, the stagnation lasted much longer. Noah rocked back and forth in uncertainty for 150 days, which is 5 months. 5 months of stillness. 5 months of grief. 5 months of longing to know but not knowing. 5 months of being in the middle with animals and family.
How do you feel about the middle?
9. Slow Progress.
The water receded steadily from the earth. At the end of the hundred and fifty days the water had gone down, and on the seventeenth day of the seventh month the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat. The waters continued to recede until the tenth month, and on the first day of the tenth month the tops of the mountains became visible. Genesis 8:3-5
After surviving a terrorizing season, we would think that God would speed things up for Noah, right? No, things happened steadily, which means that they didn't happen fast. I can imagine Noah's thoughts: How will we survive now? We must start over in an unknown world. Who am I on the other side of this? Noah knew that the world he once knew was gone, but I don't think he was able to imagine the next step.
What do you do when God cuts the lights out in your life once you step out on faith?
10. One Man's Sacrifice is Everyone's Blessing.
I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be destroyed by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth. Genesis 9:11
And God said, “This is the sign of the covenantI am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come. Genesis 9:12
I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. Genesis 9:15
So God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant I have established between me and all life on the earth.” Genesis 9:17
One man's sacrifice of his life turned into our blessing. Because of what Noah endured, we reap the promise that God will never destroy the earth with water again. While that's nice for us, imagine Noah walking through the sacrifice. Imagine Noah putting his life on the line for a bigger purpose. Yes, Noah put the skin in the game for us but imagine him paying that price. I know it was hard.
Who will benefit from your sacrifice?
10. Noah Has a Drink.
Noah, a man of the soil, proceeded to plant a vineyard. When he drank some of its wine, he became drunk and lay uncovered inside his tent. Genesis 9:20-21
After surviving the trauma of his last season, Noah has a few drinks. When we look at his story from this perspective, we see how obedience and enduring the longevity of God's process lead to Noah's desire for reprieve. Noah desired normalcy after a season of pain. Noah wanted a break after God took him through a journey he never imagined. Noah wanted peace. Could you blame him?
Where do you go for peace when you've endured a hard season with God?
I hope this biblical study of Noah has encouraged you.
Did you miss this week's podcast? Check it out here.