Noah was the Rodney Dangerfield of his day. He still doesn’t get much respect. Even so, the tale of an ark, a flood, and a heroic man are no joke. In this epic story we find a reflection of our times, and truths for life.
Earlier this year, the Ark Encounter opened in Williamstown, Kentucky. Billed as “a life-sized Noah’s Ark,” the 510 ft long boat is a museum dedicated to the plausibility of the Genesis account. Even with Harvard-educated biologist Dr. Nathaniel Jeanson as advisor, Ken Ham’s project to demonstrate the plausibility of the creation story has (not surprisingly) earned little respect from those who believe in evolution. But allow me to step away from this modern controversy to focus on the lessons from the life and times of Noah.
Things seemed to be going well when “the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful, and they took wives.” But the romance didn’t last. In time, “the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth” (Gen. 6). If wickedness is man calling good what God says is evil, and man calling evil what God says is good, then surely we, too, live in perverted and wicked times.
But we don’t have to fall into self-destructive beliefs and behaviors according to Jesus’ confidant Peter. He observed that if God knew how to preserve Noah even while not sparing the ancient world from the flood, then surely “the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation” (2 Pet. 2). Do you trust him to do that for you? If you fear of losing it, of giving in, remember Noah. God called him to act contrary to the culture of unbelief, and preserved him through it.
Noah was spared because of his righteousness, which we know comes by faith (Heb. 11:7). The prophet Ezekiel quoted God saying that even a righteous man like Noah couldn’t help “if a country sins against Me by committing unfaithfulness.” The good news is that God knows the believers in a nation even if He decides to “stretch out My hand against it” (Ez. 14:13-14).
Jesus spoke of Noah as real, not a myth. “Just as it was in the days of Noah” describes people oblivious about God, morality, and the promised end times. “It will be just the same on the day that the Son of Man is revealed” (Lk. 17:30). But just as the ark brought Noah to safety, the resurrected Jesus Christ at the right hand of God can “bring us to God” (1 Pet. 3:18ff).
Visit the Ark Encounter if you’re interested in the debate about Creation vs. Evolution, truth vs. myth, and how many animals can fit in a ship. Until then, you have your own encounter when you embrace the lessons of God’s ark and his servant Noah.